Using Virtual Machine Images for Community Development in an Open Source Project

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The first step in building a viable open source community around your codebase is to attract users who may later become contributors. In this video I look at what users want from trial environments and what is needed to help a user become a contributor to the project. I demonstrate using Vagrant to provide those environments as part of the normal release process of a typical project.

You'll see how to create a trial image on Microsoft Azure for evaluation purposes. We'll use VM Depot, the community managed repository of virtual machines, to provide Virtual Machine images that evaluators can use to fire up their own Azure hosted virtual machine for more personal evaluation (or even deployment). Finally, we'll look at using Vagrant to ensure that all users can quickly create a development environment which is consistent with all other developers so that we can ease their potential migration to being a committer on the project.

All this work can be used to automate the creation of VMs during the release process using configuration files that are managed right alongside the source code by the development community.

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