Docker execution instructions

:dizzy: New! For a simpler way to setup a Mac OSX machine, please check out the setupmymac script, which automates configuring and keeping updated a local whimsy instance with Docker.

This is experimental at this point.

Do NOT proceed unless you are comfortable with the notion of containers, images, Dockerfiles, Volumes, Port Forwarding, and likely Docker Compose.

If, however, this describes you, it is hoped that these steps will enable you to run a full Whimsy system inside a container on your development machine. You can edit files inside your favorite IDE on your host machine.


You will need Docker, git, and subversion. And approximately 30Gb of disk space (over 20Gb of which will be to have a copy of iclas, cclas, and grants for the secretary workbench; perhaps in the future these could be made optional).

Direct link to docker for macOS (this avoids the need to login to Docker Hub), or install via:

$ brew cask install docker
$ open /Applications/ # this starts Docker

A development class machine and a high speed internet connection would be in order. Some things appear to perform well, other things perform noticeably slower than a native (non-container) installation of whimsy.

You will also need to ensure the subversion file system format of the used by the host machine matches the format used by the container. Currently macOS Catalina/Xcode provides svn 1.10.4 and the Dockerfile downloads the latest 1.10 version (currently 1.10.6).

Finally, a note on password stores. Inside ~/.subversion/config, you will see a list of available stores, which currently is gnome-keyring, kwallet, gpg-agent, keychain, and windows-cryptoapi. The only ones that are available to an Ubuntu container are ones marked as for “Unix-like systems”. If you chose another (e.g., keychain) then you will either need to do all of your svn checkouts and updates from the host or you will be prompted for your password if you attempt to do these operations from within the container.

Installation instructions

  • Create an empty directory. Note: while you can use an existing clone of Whimsy (and in particular, you may be able to use the /srv directories defined by the macOS instructions), be aware of the following:
    • Files in the parent directory of the Whimsy clone may be created, overwritten, or deleted by this process.
    • The svn and git sub-directories cannot be links to another part of host file system outside of your home directory as those files will not be visible to the container.
  • cd into that directory
  • echo ":root: ." >.whimsy
  • git clone OR
  • git clone (whichever works best for you)
  • cd whimsy
  • Start Docker if necessary: $ open /Applications/
  • rake docker:update svn:update git:pull
  • rake docker:up
  • visit http://localhost:1999/ in your favorite browser

To get a shell on the container, open a terminal console in the work directory and run rake docker:exec.

Note: the rake docker:update svn:update git:pull step will take a long time as it will need to download and install all of the Ubuntu packages, Ruby gems, build and install Passenger, checkout numerous svn repositories and two git repositories. The good news is that this can be entirely unattended as there will be no prompts required during this process (except possibly for SVN updates).

If you wish to create the Ubuntu image separately, run rake docker:build (this is invoked as part of docker:update)

This should be enough to get the board agenda tool to launch. It is not known yet what functions work and what functions do not.

Installation layout

The docker/docker-compose.yml has the following mounts:

container path host path /srv directory chosen in step 1 /root/.subversion $HOME/.subversion /root/.gitconfig $HOME/.gitconfig /root/.ssh $HOME/.ssh

You can edit the files in these directories using your host tools. If any of the configuration files under .subversion etc contain absolute references to files (such as CA certificates), these will need to be fixed somehow (e.g. create links on the container)

Note on Repositories

If you don't want to check out all of the repositories, omit the rake docker:update svn:update git:pull, and only checkout/clone the repositories that you need. You can find the complete list in repository.yml.

If you haven't checked out a repository that you need to run a specific tool, you will generally see an exception like the following in your logs:

Unable to find svn checkout for (foundation_board) (Exception)

To correct this, do the following:

cd /srv/svn
svn co foundation_board

Known not to work (ToDos)

  • Board agenda web socket (used to communicate updates from the server to browsers)
  • Automatic restarting of passenger based tools when source code changes are made.

Uninstallation procedures

  • Exit out of any running containers
  • Remove the entire directory created as step 1 of the installation instructions.
  • docker image rm whimsy-web
  • docker image prune -f
  • docker container prune -f