Getting Started#


You will need to have the following installed:

  • make

  • Python 3.8

  • Docker, including docker compose

This project requires Docker 19.03+ CE. We recommend Docker Stable, but Docker Edge should work as well. Ensure that your Docker installation includes docker compose; on some operating systems (e.g. Ubuntu Linux) this may require a separate package.

NOTE: Switching between Docker Stable and Docker Edge will remove all images and settings. Don’t forget to restore your memory setting and be prepared to provision.

For macOS users, please use Docker for Mac, which comes with docker compose. Previous Mac-based tools (e.g. boot2docker) are not supported. Please be aware that the licensing terms for Docker for Mac (aka Docker Desktop) may mean that it is no longer free for your organization’s use.

Since a Docker-based devstack runs many containers, you should configure Docker with a sufficient amount of resources. We find that configuring Docker for Mac with a minimum of 2 CPUs, 8GB of memory, and a disk image size of 96GB does work.

Docker for Windows may work but has not been tested and is not supported.

If you are using Linux, developers on Ubuntu (and Debian) should ensure they’ve uninstalled and docker-compose from the main Ubuntu repositories and instead install docker-ce and docker-compose-plugin from the official Docker package repository: Also they should use the overlay2 storage driver, kernel version 4.0+ and not overlay. To check which storage driver your docker-daemon uses, run the following command.

docker info | grep -i 'storage driver'

Please note#

You should run all make commands described below on your local machinge, not from within a Virtual Machine, as these commands are meant to stand up a VM-like environment using Docker containers.

Directions to setup devstack#

The default devstack services can be run by following the steps below.

Note: This will set up a large number of services, more than you are likely to need to work with, but that’s only necessary for first-time provisioning. See Service List and the most common development workflow for how to run and update devstack with just the services you need, rather than the large-and-slow default set.

  1. The Docker Compose file mounts a host volume for each service’s executing code. The host directory defaults to be a sibling of this directory. For example, if this repo is cloned to ~/workspace/devstack, host volumes will be expected in ~/workspace/course-discovery, ~/workspace/ecommerce, etc. These repos can be cloned with the command below.

    make dev.clone  # or, `make dev.clone.https` if you don't have SSH keys set up.

    You may customize where the local repositories are found by setting the DEVSTACK_WORKSPACE environment variable.

    (macOS only) Share the cloned service directories in Docker, using Docker -> Preferences -> File Sharing in the Docker menu.

  2. Pull any changes made to the various images on which the devstack depends.

    make dev.pull.large-and-slow

    Note - If you are setting up devstack to develop on Open edx named releases, see this document on developing on named releases before following this step 3.

  3. Run the provision command, if you haven’t already, to configure the various services with superusers (for development without the auth service) and tenants (for multi-tenancy).

    NOTE: When running the provision command, databases for ecommerce and edxapp will be dropped and recreated.

    The username for the superuser is and the password is edx. You can access the services directly via Django admin at the /admin/ path, or login via single sign-on at /login/.


    make dev.provision

    This is expected to take a while, produce a lot of output from a bunch of steps, and finally end with Provisioning complete!

  4. Start the desired services. This command will mount the repositories under the DEVSTACK_WORKSPACE directory.

    NOTE: it may take up to 60 seconds for the LMS to start, even after the dev.up.* command outputs done.


    make dev.up.large-and-slow

To stop a service, use make dev.stop.<service>, and to both stop it and remove the container (along with any changes you have made to the filesystem in the container) use make dev.remove-containers.<service>.

After the services have started, if you need shell access to one of the services, run make<service>. For example to access the Catalog/Course Discovery Service, you can run:


To see logs from containers running in detached mode, you can either use “Kitematic” (available from the “Docker for Mac” menu), or by running the following:

make dev.logs

To view the logs of a specific service container run make dev.logs.<service>. For example, to access the logs for Ecommerce, you can run:

make dev.logs.ecommerce

For information on the supported make commands, you can run:

make help

Devstack collects some basic usage metrics to help gain a better understanding of how devstack is used and to surface any potential issues on local devstack environments. To learn more, read 0003-usage-metrics.rst ADR.

This data collection is behind a consent flag, so please help devstack’s maintainers by enabling metrics collection by running the following:

make metrics-opt-in

Now that you’re up and running, read about the most common development workflow.