Build a Sex-On-Legs WebDev Machine screenshot

Install the ultimate web development toolbox: tweaked Linux Ubuntu with Windows via VirtualBox, Nginx, PHP, MySQL, best Firefox addons, Woopra & much more.

Here's the deal ..

My 2 month old HP Pavillion DV3500 decided to pack up the other day.

Looks like the motherboard, ‘cos I tried another power cable and it's not that. Could be some power resource thing, I guess, but it's not the switch ‘cos the damn thing was on when it died.

Basically. Bugger.

Setup Unmanaged VPS (4 Noobs!) ... with vpsBible
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Olly 'the_guv' Connelly's site and 'WordPress 3 Ultimate Security' book.

So, via a quick data salvage from the paptop, which is now in transit to Warrantyland, I've reverted to my big ol' box, a hefty HP Workstation with a case that looks like it could withstand the Russian army.

Only thing is, inside it's less Russian. I mean, any self-respecting web developer is gonna be using one of the finest shining examples of post-perestroika, the Nginx web server. And this old thing is still XAMP-heavy, albeit duly LAMP'ed on the Linux slice. I mean, I like *AMP, but I prefer Nginx to Apache – infinitesimally – and, seeing as my VPS is Nginx, so should this be.

So I figured I'd give this workstation a thrice-over, and recant the detail. Lucky you!

The Perfect Web Developer PC – The Preview

So, thus and therefore .. coming soon, starting Thursday, will be my definitive guide to the perfect webdev PC build, from blank box to cute-as shriekin' ‘chine.

Here's a taster of what to expect ..

The Perfect Web Developer PC – The Shell

  • Linux Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope 9.04 Desktop Edition
    For the base install, together with its swap partition
  • Virtualbox
    Sitting inside Ubuntu, so that I can virtualise Windows XP as just another programme within Jaunty. That's a better option that dual booting, which is a pain, or Wine, which is invariably buggy, and allows for doing those things better suited to Windows than to Linux. (Yes, that is possible! .. ie, mobile ROM cooking, beta testing websites with Internet Explorer, generally swearing about proprietary software)

The Perfect Web Developer PC – The Miscellany

  • Nginx
    The local web server and way better than Apache, Lighttpd and co. Plus PHP, MySQL, whatnot
  • Quanta
    For coding, which IMHO is better than Dreamweaver, as well as free
  • Photoshop
    Via VirtualBox, cos GIMP just doesn't cut the mustard
  • Camtasia
    Via VirtualBox, ‘cos there is no alternative if you're into screencasting
  • Firefox
    With the best web development addons
  • Thunderbird + Lightning
    For IMAP email and calendar
  • Tomboy
    For notes. OK, you get it anyway, but it's so handy it's worth a mention
  • Skype
    To nag clients and be nagged by my woman
  • Woopra
    For web stats
  • Other schtuff
    Numerous things I've forgotten off-hand. Suggestions?

The Perfect Web Developer PC – The Detail

  • SSH
    openSSH authorization keys to access remote web servers
  • bashrc
    Make the command line interface seriously powerful with simple shortcuts for common tasks
  • More schtuff
    More numerous things I've forgotten off-hand, again. Suggestions?

So watch out for that. OK. True to style, this guide will probably turn into a multi-parter, maybe 3 tutorial posts. Like I say, it will be definitive, and as well as outlining all the steps, I'll explain why I'm doing them, and why they are better than the common alternatives, for the most powerful web development PC known to, er, well, me.

Then you can tell me where and why I'm wrong, and I hope you do, and between us we'll conjure up a recipe so darned hot the PC will melt. Metaphorically, one hopes.

For now though, with this intro posted, the pc's drive backed up and the 9.04 disc in the tray .. sudo shutdown.


About the Author:

Olly Connelly (yeah, that's me) blogs at, polices WordPress security at and helps noobs build web servers at, so if you've got sleeping problems you know where to come.


  1. the_guv  September 11, 2009

    “so where is it?” .. you may be asking.

    apologies, have been rather waylaid these last couple of weeks.

    this is written up but needs to be wrapped in code, so expect the short series to start next week, as well as the beginning of the end of the VPS Admin series.

    cheers folks .. guv.

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