Introducing OpenAustralia DevLive


OpenAustralia DevLive is a prebuilt development appliance that allows you to download a ready-to-run OpenAustralia development server. No server setup, no dependencies, no worries - just download and start hacking.

It is built using SUSE Studio and openSUSE 11.1.


The appliance is available in two formats, as a VMWare appliance (that can be run using the free VirtualBox software or the no cost VMWare Player) or a live CD. At this stage only a full desktop version is available, although it will be trivial to build a headless server-only appliance if demand warrants it.

You can use the link at the bottom of this post to download the latest version of the VMWare appliance.


This was all made possible by SUSE Studio and the fantastic development team behind it. Here's a high-level overview of how it was made and some hints on using SUSE Studio:

The appliance is based on the openSUSE 11.1 GNOME Desktop template, from there I added the following software:

  • lamp_server pattern
  • libmysqlclient-devel
  • MozillaFirefox-branding-openSUSE (pulls in Firefox)
  • perl-DBD-mysql
  • perl-Error
  • perl-HTML-Parser
  • perl-XML-RSS-LibXML
  • perl-XML-Twig

Most of these are dependencies listed in the OpenAustralia install instructions.

After the Software comes the Configuration tab of SUSE Studio:

SUSE Studio Configuration Tab
SUSE Studio Configuration tab

Beyond the basics that need configuration in this screen, I exported a copy of the OpenAustralia database schema and uploaded it using the Server tab. I also found that the Apache server was not configured to start automatically so I added a line to the post-build Scripts tab:
chkconfig -s apache2 235
to have the server start at runlevels 2, 3 and 5. I did this as chkconfig creates symlinks and the overlay files feature of SUSE Studio doesn't create these (more on that now).

The Overlay Files tab is where things start to get interesting, from here you can upload files that get overlaid on the filesystem of our appliance. This is how the OpenAustralia files get created in /srv/www/openaustralia, for example. For this appliance there are a bunch of custom files:

SUSE Studio Overlay Files tab
SUSE Studio Overlay Files tab

  • /etc/hosts - points to the local machine so you can use Firefox to look at the dev site
  • /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini - set short_open_tag = On
  • Add in the TWFY and libs source code into /srv/www/openaustralia
  • Add a custom config/general OpenAustralia configuration file
  • Add the OpenAustralia Apache configuration and enable the rewrite module

That's it, now all you need to do is visit the Build tab to build a VMWare image, Disk/USB image, Live CD or Xen virtual machine.


Some important settings you'll need:

  • User user auto logs in to a desktop. Just fire up Firefox to see the dev site
  • Unix users root and user - password oa
  • MySQL - database openaustralia, user openaustralia, password openaustralia


As already stated it will be trivial for us to build headless server appliances that will be a bit lighter to download. I'm also intending to create live CDs to take to the OpenAustralia Melbourne Hackfest in the next month or so.


  • Add data to the DB v0.0.2
  • Firefox default start page v0.0.3
  • Add Open VM tools v0.0.3
  • Test binary diffs to create delta images for testers
  • Have the appliance download the latest code via a script that the user can run
  • Better logo
  • Get the parser working
  • Get a dev copy of the Public Whip working

Change Log

A big thank you to Andrew from Community Builders for hosting the appliance download.

0.0.3 - Added git, added Open VM Tools (removed Perl-Error due to a conflict). Firefox bookmarks and start page changed

0.0.2 - Added data to DB

0.0.1 - First alpha release. Basic web app running

Built with SUSE Studio

This post has been edited


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