Version 22 (modified by Pat Tressel, 13 years ago) ( diff )


Installation Guidelines: Virtual Machine

The most convenient way to get up and running is to use a pre-configured development kit -- a complete operating system that's been set up to include all the required code and tools, and saved as an image of the system's disk -- and run this "virtual system" (sometimes called an "appliance") in a "virtual machine" (VM). The virtual machine runs as an application on your machine -- the "host" machine -- and emulates a separate computer -- the "guest" machine. You won't have to install anything but the virtual machine directly on your system. (We're including the official virtual machine jargon in case you need to read virtual machine documentation.)

Get the Sahana Eden development kit image

  • The downloaded file is compressed -- uncompress it as follows. (You should end up with a directory with a name like "Eden Dev Env".)
    • On Windows, a good tool for (un)compressing is 7-Zip.
    • On Linux / Unix, do:
      tar xzf filename.tar.gz
      using the actual downloaded filename in place of filename.tar.gz.

Install VirtualBox

  • Download the appropriate VirtualBox binary for your system. (You won't need the SDK, and would only need the "extension pack" if you want to use a USB device from your virtual system. You can add it later if so.)
  • Run the installer (by whatever means is appropriate for your system).
    • Let it install all features.
    • The installation will temporarily disconnect your machine from the network -- take appropriate action before letting the installer proceed if you are running something that can't tolerate being disconnected.

Import the image into the virtual machine

  • Start VirtualBox (or let the installer start it).
  • Give VirtualBox the image to run:
    • Select File -> Import Appliance.
    • Click the Choose button. Navigate into the Eden Dev Env directory and select the .ovf file).
    • Click Next (or Open, for a Mac).
    • On the appliance options form, un-check "USB".
    • Click Import.

Start the virtual machine

On the left side of the VirtualBox GUI, you should see your new "Eden Dev Env" virtual machine.

  • Click the virtual machine entry to select it.
  • Click Start (on the VirtualBox menu bar).
  • You may get several popups telling you that the VM is going to "capture" your mouse and keyboard, and the "host key" to press to free them up. Remember which one it is. (This is only needed temporarily -- mouse sharing issues get fixed later.) Click Ok to the popups.
  • You'll see a box asking you to enter a new "root" password. Click the mouse on the virtual machine window to give it focus. That will get you another popup telling you to let the VM "capture" your mouse. Click Ok. Your mouse pointer will disappear.
  • Type a new root password. Type Enter.
  • Retype your password. Type Enter.
  • On the TKLBAM box, just type Enter.
  • Next you'll get a box that asks you to install security updates. Updates can cause problems, so we don't want to do this now. Type Tab to highlight "Skip", then type Enter. [Note there is apparently a bug in the virtual machine at this point -- it does not skip the updates. It takes rather a long while to complete the unwanted updates.]

Connect to the network

Next tell the VM about your machine's network interface, so the guest can get to the network. There are two options for having the host and guest share the physical interface, NAT or bridged. NAT is less obtrusive and simpler to set up, but bridged provides more capability to the guest. A discussion of the differences is here. This shows NAT setup:

  • Scroll down on the right side until you see Network -- click that.
  • Select the appropriate network interface (NIC), e.g. switch to wireless if that's what you're using. (Keep this setting in mind -- you may need to change it if you sometimes use a wired network, and sometimes wireless.)
  • Select NAT mode.

Install the "guest additions"

Configure the guest system

Security and accounts

The root password is set through a dialog box on first boot.

The development environment is owned by the dev account. When first boot is complete, change its password too: Start a terminal window (from the accessories menu), and enter the command:

passwd dev

Then reboot:


and use the GUI to log in as user dev.

Updating Web2py, Eden, and the operating system

/usr/local/bin contains three helpful scripts. To run them, start a terminal window and enter the commands below. They are in the path, so may be executed from any working directory.

Update web2py

On occasion, the latest revision of Web2py is not stable. Check the topic in the #sahana-eden IRC channel on freenode for the latest known-safe revision. To update Web2py to the latest revision:


To update to a specific revision, do the following with nnnn replaced by the revision you want.

update_web2py nnnn

Update Eden

You will almost certainly want the latest revision of Eden.

update_eden # updates Eden to current revision

If, for some reason, you need a specific revision, do the following with nnnn replaced by the revision you want:

update_eden nnnn # updates Eden to revision nnnn

Optionally update the operating system

Although it's usually good advice to update the operating system and applications to pick up security fixes, updating may lead to incompatibilities with other software, and has been known to render the system unusable. So do the following only if you know there is a security issue, and not when you're in the middle of something critical.
Log in as dev and execute the following:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Web2Py shell

One can get a Python command line with the Web2py and Eden environments loaded with this script (apologies for the odd name):


This executes the python ... command shown previously.


Some parts of the Eclipse and PyDev configuration need to be done after startup:

What's in the image, and where did we hide the files?

Which Linux is this?

The virtual machine image is based on a blueprint and is configured to use about 512MB of RAM. The virtual disk is configured to expand to 20GB. The virtual machine is built on TurnKey Linux's Core, which in turn is based on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid -- the most recent long-term support release). The machine runs Shellinabox, Webmin, and SSH/sftp as services from startup.

The development environment is configured to launch LXDE, a lightweight desktop environment after the first boot.


Several useful tools installed:

  • Bazaar (bzr) -- revision control system used on Launchpad, where Sahana eden sources are hosted.
  • Firefox with Firebug for examining what is sent to the browser, and viewing HTTP messages sent to and from the browser.
  • Eclipse with PyDev for editing and debugging Python code.
  • Scripts for updating the Eden code and other tools.
  • iPython -- a fancier Python command line than the standard.
  • irssi

Notes on using Linux (mainly for non-Linux users)

File locations

Web2py is located in /home/web2py. Eden is located in /home/web2py/applications/eden. Eclipse and PyDev are preconfigured with this information.

The root account

The root account is the privileged user on Linux, but you don't need to log in as root to perform privileged tasks like installing software. You can act as root without knowing the root password with the sudo command -- the dev account has the privilege to use sudo. In a terminal window, to execute a command with root privileges:

sudo command-to-execute-as-root

This will prompt for a password if sudo hasn't been run recently -- it is asking for the current user's password -- here, that's the dev password.

To change passwords after first boot, log in as dev, start a terminal window, and enter the following commands:

sudo passwd root #change root password
passwd #change dev password

Procedure for making a new virtual machine image


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