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Virtual Desktop

The Virtual Desktop is an appliance. It includes a graphical environment (XFCE), web services (nix), and editor (VS Code).

The virtual desktop is primarily intended to facilitate education and training. It provides broad functionality and broad compatibility with minimal configuration work. However, it may not have the same speed or the same applications as your regular desktop.

Major features

These instructions will create a virtual-machine with the following features:

  • Interpreters: PHP-CLI, NodeJS
  • Servers: Apache HTTPD, MySQL, PHP-FPM, MailHog, Redis
  • Web Applications: phpMyAdmin
  • Desktop Applications: Firefox, Gedit, Visual Studio Code, XFCE4

Additionally, the virtual-machine includes a copy of buildkit in $HOME/buildkit.

  • Pro: Comprehensive functionality and compatibility. Little configuration. Solid isolation from main desktop. Perform one big download rather than many small downloads. Closely matches the official test-environment on
  • Con: Virtualization reduces performance and increases hardware requirements. Large download may take a long time. Hard to share applications or data with your regular desktop.


  • Multi-core CPU (Intel/AMD/Apple Silicon)

  • 8+ GB RAM

    By default, the virtual-machine is only configured to use 4 GB. However, the host machine should have extra RAM for its own purposes.

  • 5 - 15 GB storage space

    The base virtual-machine is only 3-5 GB. However, you may need extra working-space to facilitate installation.

  • Virtualization software

    The suggested software depends on your operating-system and CPU.

    Here are some configurations that should work with this virtual-machine:

    OS CPU Suggested Software
    Linux Intel/AMD (x86-64) Virtual Box or VMWare Workstation Player
    Windows Intel/AMD (x86-64) Virtual Box or VMWare Workstation Player
    MacOS Intel/AMD (x86-64) Virtual Box or VMWare Fusion
    MacOS Apple M1(*) (arm64) Mac UTM

    Microsoft HyperV, Linux KVM, and Parallels Desktop may work, but they have not been tested, and they require an extra conversion step.


Choose the download based on your CPU:

CPU Download
Intel/AMD (x86-64) CiviDev-2.0.alpha4-x86.ova
Apple M1(*) (arm64)

Import/Open VM

You will need to import or open the virtual-machine. Here are instructions for each application:

Software Instructions
VirtualBox Open the CiviDev-*.ova file using "File: Import Appliance"
VMWare Workstation Player Open the CiviDev-*.ova file using "File: Open a Virtual Machine"
VMWare Fusion Open the CiviDev-*.ova file using "File: Import"
Parallels Convert and open the CiviDev-*.ova file using Convert from OVF
Mac UTM In the MacOS "Finder", extract the CiviDev-*.zip file. This will create the CiviDev-*.utm folder. Double-click to run.

Fine tune the virtual hardware

When you import or open the virtual machine, several default values will be set. Consider updating these values for improved performance:

  • RAM: Expand to 6 GB
  • CPU: Expand to 6 cores
  • (VirtualBox) Video RAM: Expand to 128 MB
  • (VirtualBox) Video Driver: VMSVGA (details)

Startup and Login

  • Start the newly imported virtual-machine
  • Login as user "cividev" with password "cividev"

Next steps

After you login, there will be a on the desktop. It has suggestions for next steps.