I use a MacBook Pro for my day-to-day operations here at CB1, INC. I’m a huge believer that a development environment should mimic the production environment, so I find myself running a couple virtual machines in VMware Fusion.

The following guide is a reference for myself as well as possibly a helpful resource for setting up your own Linux development environment. Here’s an checklist of the tasks to perform and software to install:

Operating System

Start by installing Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop (or server). I’m not going to cover installing Ubuntu since there are already several other resources out there. Once Ubuntu is installed, open a Terminal:

user@ubuntu:~# sudo passwd root
[sudo] password for user: <type your password>
Enter new UNIX password: <type new root password>
Retype new UNIX password: <type new root password again>
passwd: password updated successfully

user@ubuntu:~# sudo apt-get update
user@ubuntu:~# sudo apt-get upgrade

user@ubuntu:~# mkdir ~/src

New File Permissions

user@ubuntu:~# sudo pico /etc/profile

Change 022 to 002. This setting controls the default permissions when a new file or directory is created. This is mostly useful when managing files over Samba.

Network IP Addresses

Optionally, you may want to assign a static IP address. I set up one IP address for Apache and another for nginx.

user@ubuntu:~# sudo pico /etc/network/interfaces

The following is a reference for adding two static IPs. Change the IPs to meet your needs.

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

auto eth0:1
iface eth0:1 inet static
user@ubuntu:~# sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart


Here’s a bunch of packages that will set up compilers, version control, Java, MySQL, Apache, PHP, Memcache, Gearman, Samba, and more.

user@ubuntu:~# sudo apt-get install build-essential autotools-dev autoconf \
 autoconf2.13 openssh-server ethtool traceroute openjdk-6-jdk \
 mysql-server-5.1 bzr subversion subversion-tools ntp ntpdate \
 libpcre3-dev libevent-dev automake bison libtool scons  g++ \
 ncurses-dev libreadline-dev libz-dev libssl-dev  libcurl4-openssl-dev \
 ruby rubygems libzip-ruby1.8 libzip-ruby1.9.1 python-dev ruby-dev \
 libdbus-glib-1-dev uuid-dev libpam0g libpam0g-dev gperf samba valgrind \
 libxml2-dev libfreetype6-dev curl libcurl4-openssl-dev \
 libjpeg62-dev libpng12-dev sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev git-core \
 postgresql postgis gearman libgearman-dev php5 \
 libapache2-mod-php5 php5-dev memcached php5-memcached \
 php5-curl php5-gd php5-mysql php5-pgsql php-apc \
 php5-xdebug php5-fpm libapache2-mod-fastcgi


During the package install above, MySQL will prompt you for the root password.

After the packages are installed, we need to allow remote MySQL connections.

user@ubuntu:~# sudo pico /etc/mysql/my.cnf

Comment out the bind-address line.

# bind-address          =


Next, you may optionally increase the connection keep alive interval for remote ssh connections. Timeouts aren’t really an issue for SSH’ing into a local VM, but really helps for remote installs.

user@ubuntu:~# sudo echo "ClientAliveInterval 60" >> /etc/ssh/sshd_config


Samba allows me to drag and drop files between my Mac and Linux VM. I personally do not enable/install Samba on production servers.

user@ubuntu:~# sudo cp /etc/samba/smb.conf /etc/samba/smb.conf.orig
user@ubuntu:~# sudo pico /etc/samba/smb.conf

You can add a share such as the following:

        force user = <your username>
        writeable = yes
        create mode = 644
        path = /home/<your username>
        directory mode = 755
        force group = <your username>

Then create yourself a Samba user:

user@ubuntu:~# sudo smbpasswd -a <your username>

Apache 2

Apache is mostly configured out of the box, but I like to enable rewrite and SSL so I can test production features.

user@ubuntu:~# sudo a2enmod rewrite
user@ubuntu:~# sudo a2enmod ssl

Since I’m going to run Apache and nginx, I’m going bind Apache to eth0.

user@ubuntu:~# sudo pico /etc/apache2/ports.conf

<IfModule mod_ssl.c>

Now we need to add eth0‘s IP to the default host:

user@ubuntu:~# sudo pico /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default
        ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost

        DocumentRoot /var/www
        <Directory />
                Options FollowSymLinks
                AllowOverride None
        <Directory /var/www/>
                Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
                AllowOverride None
                Order allow,deny
                allow from all

        ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
        LogLevel warn
        CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

Restart Apache for the changes to take effect.

user@ubuntu:~# sudo apache2ctl restart


By default, Gearman uses memory to store pending jobs in the queue, but I prefer to use MySQL for persistent storage. To do this, first create the queue database and table:

user@ubuntu:~# mysqladmin -uroot -p123123 create gearman
user@ubuntu:~# mysql -uroot -p123123 -e "CREATE TABLE gearman.gearman_queue (
  unique_key VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,
  function_name VARCHAR(255) NULL,
  priority INT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (unique_key)
) ENGINE = InnoDB;"

Next update the init script to tell Gearman to use the database:

user@ubuntu:~# sudo mv /etc/default/gearman-job-server /etc/default/gearman-job-server.bak
user@ubuntu:~# sudo echo "PARAMS=\"-q libdrizzle --libdrizzle-host=" \
   "--libdrizzle-user=root --libdrizzle-password=123123 --libdrizzle-db=gearman" \
   "--libdrizzle-table=gearman_queue --libdrizzle-mysql\"" > /etc/default/gearman-job-server
user@ubuntu:~# sudo /etc/init.d/gearman-job-server restart

Gearman PHP Extension

We need to download and install the Gearman PHP extension if we want to write PHP workers or post jobs to the queue.

user@ubuntu:~# cd ~/src
user@ubuntu:~/src# wget http://pecl.php.net/get/gearman-0.7.0.tgz
user@ubuntu:~/src# tar xzf gearman-0.7.0.tgz
user@ubuntu:~/src# rm gearman-0.7.0.tgz package.xml
user@ubuntu:~/src# cd gearman-0.7.0
user@ubuntu:~/src# phpize
user@ubuntu:~/src# ./configure
user@ubuntu:~/src# make
user@ubuntu:~/src# sudo make install

Next, add the config file to load the Gearman PHP extension:

user@ubuntu:~# sudo echo "extension=gearman.so" >> /etc/php5/conf.d/gearman.ini

memcached PHP Extension

Since we have memcached and the memcached PHP extension install, let’s use it for storing session data:

user@ubuntu:~/src# sudo echo "session.save_handler = memcached
session.save_path = \"\"" >> /etc/php5/conf.d/memcached.ini


nginx is web server that is really fast. I use nginx as my primary development web server unless I’m running a web app that only works with Apache. You can choose to install nginx from package, but I like to live life on the bleeding edge, so I’ll be building nginx from source. To install nginx, we need to download the source, compile it, install it, and configure it.

user@ubuntu:~# cd ~/src
user@ubuntu:~/src# wget http://nginx.org/download/nginx-0.8.52.tar.gz
user@ubuntu:~/src# tar xzf nginx-0.8.52.tar.gz
user@ubuntu:~/src# rm nginx-0.8.52.tar.gz
user@ubuntu:~/src# cd nginx-0.8.52
user@ubuntu:~/src# mkdir /var/lib/nginx
user@ubuntu:~/src# ./configure \
    --sbin-path=/usr/sbin \
    --conf-path=/etc/nginx/nginx.conf \
    --error-log-path=/var/log/nginx/error.log \
    --pid-path=/var/run/nginx.pid \
    --lock-path=/var/lock/nginx.lock \
    --http-log-path=/var/log/nginx/access.log \
    --http-client-body-temp-path=/var/lib/nginx/body \
    --http-proxy-temp-path=/var/lib/nginx/proxy \
    --http-fastcgi-temp-path=/var/lib/nginx/fastcgi \
    --http-uwsgi-temp-path=/var/lib/nginx/uwsgi \
    --http-scgi-temp-path=/var/lib/nginx/scgi \
user@ubuntu:~/src# make
user@ubuntu:~/src# sudo make install

user@ubuntu:~# sudo pico /etc/init.d/nginx

Here’s the init script that will start nginx for us:

#! /bin/sh
test -x $DAEMON || exit 0
case "$1" in
        echo -n "Starting $DESC: "
        start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --pidfile /var/run/$NAME.pid --exec $DAEMON -- $DAEMON_OPTS
        echo "$NAME."
        echo -n "Stopping $DESC: "
        start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile /var/run/$NAME.pid --exec $DAEMON
        echo "$NAME."
        echo -n "Restarting $DESC: "
        start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile /var/run/$NAME.pid --exec $DAEMON
        sleep 1
        start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --pidfile /var/run/$NAME.pid --exec $DAEMON -- $DAEMON_OPTS
        echo "$NAME."
        echo -n "Reloading $DESC configuration: "
        start-stop-daemon --stop --signal HUP --quiet --pidfile /var/run/$NAME.pid --exec $DAEMON
        echo "$NAME."
        echo "Usage: /etc/init.d/$NAME {start|stop|restart|reload|force-reload}" >&2
        exit 1
exit 0

Now we need to make the init script executable and enable it:

user@ubuntu:~# sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/nginx
user@ubuntu:~# sudo update-rc.d nginx defaults

user@ubuntu:~# sudo pico /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

Here’s a starter nginx.conf with some basic settings:

user  www-data www-data;
worker_processes  2;

events {
    worker_connections  1024;

http {
    include       mime.types;
    default_type  application/octet-stream;

    sendfile                on;
    tcp_nodelay             on;
    tcp_nopush              on;
    keepalive_timeout       65;
    server_name_in_redirect off;
    server_tokens           off;

    add_header Strict-Transport-Security max-age=1800;
    add_header X-Frame-Options deny;

    gzip            on;
    gzip_buffers    16 8k;
    gzip_comp_level 9;
    gzip_types      text/plain text/xml application/x-javascript text/css;

    include /etc/nginx/sites/*;
user@ubuntu:~# sudo mkdir /etc/nginx/sites
user@ubuntu:~# sudo pico /etc/nginx/sites/default

Now we need to set up a default host that supports PHP (via PHP-FPM, PHP’s FastCGI Process Manager) and we want the default host to use the eth0:1 IP address:

server {
    listen default;
    server_name  _;
    root   /var/www;
    index  index.php;
    location / {
        if (!-e $request_filename) {
            rewrite ^/(.*)$ /index.php?q=$1 last;
    location ~ \.php$ {
        fastcgi_index  index.php;
        fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME  /var/www$fastcgi_script_name;
        include        fastcgi_params;
    location ~* (\.(htaccess|engine|inc|info|install|module|profile|po|sh|.*sql|theme|tpl(\.php)?|xtmpl)|code-style\.pl|Entries.*|Repository|Root|Tag|Template)$ {
        deny all;

After the config files are good to go, start nginx:

user@ubuntu:~# sudo /etc/init.d/nginx start

Service Names

I also like to add service names so I can see what ports are in use when I run netstat. I added drizzle and Cassandra for fun despite this post not including them.

user@ubuntu:~# sudo cp /etc/services /etc/services.bak
user@ubuntu:~# su
root@ubuntu:~# echo "drizzle     4427/tcp
drizzle     4427/udp
memcached   11211/tcp
memcached   11211/udp
gearmand    4730/tcp
gearmand    4730/udp
fastcgi     9000/tcp
cassandra   9160/tcp" >> /etc/services
root@ubuntu:~# exit

Android SDK

The Android SDK is unfortunately not in package, so you’ll need to download it from the Android Developer site: http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html.

user@ubuntu:~# wget http://dl.google.com/android/android-sdk_r07-linux_x86.tgz
user@ubuntu:~# tar xzf android-sdk_r07-linux_x86.tgz
user@ubuntu:~# rm android-sdk_r07-linux_x86.tgz
user@ubuntu:~# sudo mv android-sdk-linux_x86 /usr/local
user@ubuntu:~# sudo find /usr/local/android-sdk-linux_x86 -type d -exec chmod 777 {} \;

You’ll need to add the Android SDK path near the top of your ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bashrc:

export PATH=${PATH}:/usr/local/android-sdk-linux_x86/tools

To manage your Android SDK packages and virtual devices, you’ll need to run the android app:

user@ubuntu:~# android

First go to Available Packages and download version 1.6 and 2.2 Android SDK packages. You can also choose to download the documentation, samples, and Google APIs.

Downloading the package may take several minutes. You don’t have to create a virtual device right now if you are planning on installing Appcelerator’s Titanium platform. You can exit the Android app when you’re done.

Desktop Apps

If you’re running Ubuntu Desktop, there are a couple handy apps I install. The first is Google Chrome and can be directly downloaded from the Google Chrome download page.

I find KCachegrind and GHex to be useful:

user@ubuntu:~# sudo apt-get install kcachegrind ghex

Appcelerator Titanium

Titanium is an awesome platform for developing desktop applications for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows as well as mobile apps for iPhone and Android. We use Titanium Developer to create Titanium projects. Begin by downloading the 64-bit version of Titanium:

user@ubuntu:~# wget -O titanium.tgz http://www.appcelerator.com/download-linux64

There’s also a 32-bit version available at http://www.appcelerator.com/download-linux32.

Next we unpack Titanium Developer and move it to a safe place:

user@ubuntu:~# tar xzf titanium.tgz
user@ubuntu:~# rm titanium.tgz

Next you need to run the installer by double-clicking the Titanium Developer executable. Run the executable and then click the Install button. You can try installing to /opt/titanium, but you might need root privileges.

Next, there are a few issues with outdated libraries, so we simply delete them:

user@ubuntu:~# rm ~/.titanium/runtime/linux/1.0.0/libgobject-2.0.*
user@ubuntu:~# rm ~/.titanium/runtime/linux/1.0.0/libglib-2.0.*
user@ubuntu:~# rm ~/.titanium/runtime/linux/1.0.0/libgio-2.0.*
user@ubuntu:~# rm ~/.titanium/runtime/linux/1.0.0/libgthread-2.0.*

Titanium Developer also complains if /bin/java doesn’t exist, so create a quick link:

user@ubuntu:~# sudo ln -s /usr/bin/java /bin/java

Relaunch Titanium Developer and enter your login credentials. If you don’t have a login, you can get a free account.

After signing in, you may notice there are some updates available in the upper right corner of the window. Click in the box and the updates will be downloaded and installed.

Optionally you can create a launcher icon for your GNOME panel. Don’t forget to escape spaces in the command with a backslash!

Finishing Touches

Lastly, I like to re-arrange my desktop to maximize my coding real estate.


That should get you up and running with a neato dev environment. If you need to run SSL, I wrote a post on Creating Self-Signed Certs on Apache 2.2 and Virtual Hosts and Wildcard SSL Certificates with Apache 2.2.

If you find any typos or additions, please feel free to sound off in the comments!