HOWTO: Creating a WriteFreely development VM

TL;DR: I wrote a guide on how to do it and tooted about it.

Over the weekend, I wanted to hack on WriteFreely (which I did), but didn’t want to install all of its dependencies onto my desktop. I used multipass to create a development VM, and I’ve documented the process on my blog in a way that should hopefully be easy to follow. (If you’re on the fediverse and want to share it, please consider boosting/sharing my toot about it.)

Please let me know if you run into any problems, and I’ll see if I can help out (and/or update the guide!).


Neat! Nicely comprehensive, and easy to follow blog post. I am curious, what made you pick multipass, and not simply docker, or vagrant?


In a large part, due to familiarity. I work for Canonical (who employ the multipass development team), so we dogfood multipass for our dev VM needs. It involved the least amount of context-switching for me.

One nice aspect over Vagrant: it uses KVM instead of Virtualbox, so I don’t have to have a second virtualisation stack (and one which requires DKMS at that) installed. This also means that multipass is available for ARM platforms (arm64 and armhf in Debian/Ubuntu terms).

As for Docker, I’m just not a huge fan of it, so it isn’t what I would choose to use for a personal project.

Hey folks, just a note that I updated this blog post a couple of days ago to improve the way it uses multipass, so you may want to take another look if you’ve followed it.