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We use Virtual Machines (aka VMs) to more quickly get people coding at Hackfests.


When new contributors join us at a Hackfest, it can take a bit of time to set up a development environment, to complete a build, and run LibreOffice. By creating standardized VMs that we can run in the cloud and connect to via SSH, we can get potential developers up and running easily and quickly, with little setup required on individual local machines.

The cloud-based VMs also are FAST (~ 10min builds, when ccache is primed)


We spin up VM images on a cloud service (e.g. Amazon EC2)

Setup speed

How much of a heads-up do we need to spin up the VMs?

A: They're up quite fast - so only heads-up is due to timezone
differences/whether we get notice of the ping or not :-)

An article from 2011 mentions 5-10min average spin-up times. That's not too bad, especially if we can identify who needs a VM early-on, and then get the VM started while the individual is reading the docs on getting X-Windows support ready on their workstation.

Let's talk specs

  • Lower-spec machines have 8 cores
    • Can use for 4 build areas
  • The r3 ones have plenty of memory (to fit all of the 4 builds in RAM)


/srv/lo/source/libo-core /srv/lo/source/libo-core2 ,.... # for the sourcecode
/srv/lo/build /srv/lo/build2,... #for the build-area
# A sample (minimal) autogen.input that can/should be used:

Using a VM

See Hackfests/VMs/Using a VM.