The instructions below will setup an instance of Submitty on your own hardware that will have several courses, many sample assignments, and a hundred students with assignment submissions so you can explore the features of Submitty as it would appear “mid-semester”. Your host computer can run any modern operating system (Windows, Mac, or Unix/Linux). The installation process will create a new Virtual Machine (VM) on your computer and the VM will use the Ubuntu GNU/Linux operating system.

  1. To develop with a Virtual Machine (VM), your computer should have at least 8GB of RAM and a 64-bit host OS. AMD-V or Intel VT-x are also required (most computers have these). Submitty is RAM and I/O intensive, so more RAM and a fast disk are better.

  2. Enable Virtualization

    Mac Instructions
    Virtualization is generally enabled by default

    Windows 10 Instructions
    Open Settings, navigate to Advanced Startup and select Restart Now. Relevant Screenshot

    Navigate to Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options -> UEFI Firmware Settings and restart as suggested.

    Navigate to BIOS Settings from your PC’s startup menu, locate Virtualization Technology and enable it.

    Ubuntu Instructions
    Enter BIOS (generally by pressing Del or F12 while booting) and navigate the BIOS Settings, locate Virtualization, and enable it.

    Be sure to choose Hardware Virtualization in the System -> Acceleration settings of the virtual machine you are using.

  3. Download and install VirtualBox, Vagrant, and vagrant-vbguest.

    The latest Vagrant + VirtualBox combo that has been tested is Vagrant 1.9.3 and VirtualBox 5.0.38 (on Mac 10.12.6)

    Below are quick steps to get everything installed and running.

    Windows Installation
    You can just go to the respective sites and download the necessary binaries.

    Mac Installation
    Install homebrew if you don’t have it and then run:

    brew cask install virtualbox
    brew cask install vagrant
    sudo vagrant plugin install vagrant-vbguest

    Ubuntu Installation

    NOTE: The Ubuntu repository does not contain the latest version of Vagrant or VirtualBox. To accomodate for this, we have changed the setup instructions until this is resolved. Please make sure to replace <mydist> with your distribution name (see here)

    # Add VirtualBox
    sudo add-apt-repository "deb <mydist> contrib"
    wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -
    wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -
    # Add Vagrant
    sudo add-apt-repository "deb any main"
    sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-key
    sudo apt-get update
    # Install Packages
    sudo apt-get install virtualbox-5.2 vagrant
    sudo vagrant plugin install vagrant-vbguest
  4. Clone the Submitty repository to a location on your computer (the “host”).

    git clone

    OPTIONAL: If you will be developing code in one of the companion Submitty repositories (e.g., AnalysisTools, Lichen, RainbowGrades, Tutorial), also clone those repositories to the same directory. For example:

      └── myusername
          └── Submitty
              └── GIT_CHECKOUT
                  ├── AnalysisTools  (optional)
                  ├── Lichen         (optional)
                  ├── RainbowGrades  (optional)
                  ├── Submitty
                  └── Tutorial       (optional)

    This host directory structure will be shared / synced between your host operating system and the Submitty virtual machine.

  5. Navigate into the Submitty repository on your computer in a shell/terminal and type:

    vagrant up

    Vagrant will build your VM. This will take maybe 30 minutes to a few hours depending on your Internet connection speed. When this command finishes, your VM is ready to use.

  6. To stop and restart the VM:

    • When you are finished working, you can suspend the virtual machine (save state, a little faster to restart):

      vagrant suspend

      or halt the virtual machine (complete VM shutdown, a little slower to restart):

      vagrant halt
    • To resume work on a VM that is suspended or halted:

      vagrant up
    • If you just want to restart the VM (same as halt/up), type:

      vagrant reload

      If you haven’t made any drastic changes to the build script, you should be able to just re-provision the VM. You can do this by using the --provision flag with either up or reload. This is will be faster than doing a full destroy/up, however depending on the changes you’ve done to the VM, could leave it potentially unstable. If the VM breaks, simply destroy/up as normal.

      NOTE: when resuming work, you may see this warning several times, default: Warning: Remote connection disconnect. Retrying.. . These warnings are not harmful and can be ignored.

  7. To completely delete the virtual machine (such as to start over from scratch with a fresh VM), type:

    vagrant destroy

    And if desired:

    vagrant up
  8. When the VM is “up”, you can go visit the homework submission website.

  9. When the VM is “up”, you can connect from your host computer to the virtual machine via ssh. Windows users will need to install SSH software (e.g., Cygwin or Putty).
    From a terminal in the repository directory type:

    vagrant ssh

    You will connect to the VM as user vagrant initially.

  10. The following users exist on the VM:

    user password
    vagrant vagrant
    root vagrant
    submitty_cgi submitty_cgi
    submitty_php submitty_php
    submitty_daemon submitty_daemon
    instructor instructor
    ta ta
    developer developer
    postgres postgres
    student student
  11. The VM has the following four courses by default and they are all part of the current semester:

    • tutorial
    • sample
    • development
    • blank

    Note: The current semester is calculated by either using an s if in the month is < 7 else use f and then take the last two digits of the current year. So April 2017 would be s17 while September 2017 would be f17.