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An Ubuntu-based developer VM for hacking with Chef, Vagrant, Docker & Co
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Linus' Kitchen

Circle CI

An Ubuntu Desktop 18.04 based development box for Infrastructure-as-Code development with Vagrant, Chef, Ansible & Co.

Linus' Kitchen Screenshot

Yes, it is being set up with Vagrant and Chef, so it's a bit meta...

It is based on the Zuehlke/linux-developer-vm template, and also the Linux based equivalent of Bill's Kitchen (which explains the name).

What's included?

Main tools

These are the main tools included in Linus' Kitchen (see CHANGELOG for the specific versions):

Chef-based development toolchain

In addition to Chef itself, the following tools (which are all Ruby-based) come included with ChefDK:

  • berkshelf - a dependency manager for Chef cookbooks
  • foodcritic - a lint tool for Chef cookbooks
  • chefspec - unit testing for Chef cookbooks
  • serverspec - rspec based framework for testing servers
  • test-kitchen - a test driver for orchestrating and testing infrastructure

Ansible-based development toolchain

In addition to Ansible itself, the following tools (which are all Python-based) are included:

  • ansible-galaxy - a dependency manager for Ansible roles
  • ansible-lint - a lint tool for Ansible roles
  • testinfra - a pytest based framework for testing servers
  • molecule - a test driver for orchestrating and testing infrastructure

Tweaks and Plugins

Other tweaks worth mentioning:

  • Scripts in ~/.bashrc.d/*.sh are sourced from ~/.bashrc, pre-configured with the following:
    • sets up be as an alias for bundle exec
    • runs chef shell-init bash for initializing the ChefDK
    • configures "virtualbox" as the $VAGRANT_DEFAULT_PROVIDER
  • Bundler is configured for parallel downloading and retrying (see ~/.bundle/config)
  • Customized ~/.vagrant.d/Vagrantfile and ~/.kitchen/config.yml for caching as much as possible
  • Pre-installed Vagrant plugins:
  • Pre-installed Visual Studio Code plugins:
  • Placed a file on the Desktop to guide first time users after they logged in to the VM
  • Symlinked to /usr/local/bin/update-vm so it's in the $PATH and can be used for updating the VM from the inside (see below)


Obtaining and Starting the VM Image

The latest version of the Linus Kitchen can be downloaded as a VM image from here:

After downloading the .ova file you can import it into VMWare Fusion / Workstation Player via File -> Import.... Once imported, you can simply start the VM and log in:

  • username: "user"
  • password: "user"

From then on just open a terminal and you will have all of the tools available (see "What's included?").

Updating the VM

You can run these commands from anywhere inside the VM:

  • update-vm - update the VM by applying the Chef recipes from the locally checked out repo at ~/vm-setup
  • update-vm --pull - same as above, but update repo before by pulling the latest changes
  • update-vm --verify-only - don't update the VM, only run the Serverspec tests
  • update-vm --provision-only - don't run the Serverspec tests, only update the vm

Keyboard Layout and Locale Settings

The VM ships with a full US keyboard layout and en_US.UTF-8 locale by default.

To change the keyboard layout to your preferred language use System Settings... -> Text Entry in the VM.

If you have a totally different keymap (e.g. on a MacBook) you can always reconfigure it:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

If want to reconfigure the locale:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales



You need VMware Workstation Pro / VMware Fusion Pro and Vagrant with the vagrant-vmware-plugin installed.

If you don't mind about running 64-bit VirtualBox VMs inside Linus Kitchen, you only even need VirtualBox and Vagrant installed (note that VirtualBox only supports nested 32-bit guests).

All other requirements, including ChefDK will be installed inside the Vagrant VM during provisioning, i.e. you don't need them installed on your host machine.

Basic Development Workflow

Bring up the developer VM:

$ vagrant up

This will take a while, as it will do quite a few things inside the VM:

  1. Setup a new user account ('user') under which the VM will be provisioned
  2. Download and install ChefDK
  3. Copy the current directory into the VM (will be placed in ~/vm-setup)
  4. Install cookbook dependencies via Berkshelf to ~/vm-setup/cookbooks/vm/cookbooks
  5. Trigger a Chef-Zero run to apply the ~/vm-setup/cookbooks/vm/recipes to the VM (see "What's included?")
  6. Verify the installation using a battery of Serverspec tests

Watch the vagrant output on the console for seeing progress. At the end you should see all tests passing:

==> default:
==> default:
==> default:   installs chefdk 1.3.40
==> default:   symlinks the update-vm script to /usr/local/bin/
==> default:
==> default: Finished in 26.85 seconds (files took 1.08 seconds to load)
==> default: 59 examples, 0 failures

If these are passing as expected, you can continue developing on the Chef recipes within this repo. Please don't forget to add a test for each new feature you add (see "Contributing")

Running the Acceptance Tests

In addition to the Serverspec tests (which verify that the installed tools are properly configured and working as expected) you can also execute a minimal acceptance test which covers the common usage scenarios when developing with Vagrant and Chef, including:

The acceptance test is not run by default, but you can run it manually from anywhere inside the VM:

$ git clone
$ cd vagrant-workflow-tests
$ rspec

If all goes well you should see an output like this.


Whenever you feel like distributing a fat VM image rather than a Vagrantfile, you can package / export it as a VirtualBox / VMware image. This might be useful for distributing the initial version of the developer VM to your dev team, or simply for preserving checkpoint releases as a binary images.

Let's start from a clean state:

$ vagrant destroy -f

Make sure vagrant-cachier is disabled when you bring up the VM for packaging:

$ vagrant up

This will provision the VM as usual. Once the provisioning succeeded, we will do a few cleanup steps before packaging the VM.

First, unmount the /vagrant shared folder:

$ vagrant ssh -c "sudo umount /vagrant -f"

Then remove the vagrant user account:

$ vagrant ssh -c "sudo pkill -KILL -u vagrant"
$ vagrant ssh -c "sudo userdel -f -r vagrant"

Finally, shutdown the VM, remove the sharedfolder, and export the VM as an .ova file:

For VirtualBox:

$ vagrant halt
$ VBoxManage sharedfolder remove "Linus Kitchen" --name "vagrant"
$ VBoxManage modifyvm "Linus Kitchen" --name "Linus Kitchen v0.1.0"
$ VBoxManage export "Linus Kitchen v0.1.0" --output "linus-kitchen-v0.1.0_virtualbox.ova" --options manifest,nomacs

For VMware:

$ vagrant halt
$ VMX_FILE=`cat .vagrant/machines/default/vmware_fusion/id`
$ ovftool --name="Linus Kitchen v0.1.0" "$VMX_FILE" linus-kitchen-v0.1.0_vmware.ova

Don't forget to throw away the VM when you are done:

$ vagrant destroy -f


  1. Fork the repository on Github
  2. Create a named feature branch (like feature/add-xyz)
  3. Implement your changes, add tests
  4. Commit and push
  5. Submit a Pull Request via Github
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