2.1 LilyDev

Note: The following sections are based on LilyDev v2 and are not necessarily correct for different releases.

“LilyDev” is a custom GNU/Linux operating system which includes all the necessary software and tools to compile LilyPond, the documentation and the website (also see Website work).

While compiling LilyPond on macOS and Windows is possible, both environments are complex to set up. LilyDev can be easily run inside a ‘virtual machine’ on either of these operating systems relatively easily using readily available virtualization software. We recommend using VirtualBox as it is available for all major operating systems and is very easy to install & configure.

LilyDev comes in two ‘flavours’: containers and a standard disk image. Windows or macOS users should choose the Debian disk image (to be run in a virtual machine), that is the file named LilyDev-VERSION-debian-vm.zip. GNU/Linux users are recommended to choose one of the containers (currently Debian or Fedora), which are smaller in size, lightweight and easier to manage. The Fedora disk image has currently not been released, you can create it from the sources located in the /mkosi subdirectory of the LilyDev repository, however.

Download the appropriate file from here:

Note: Apart from installing and configuring LilyDev in VirtualBox, the rest of the chapter assumes that you are comfortable using the command line and is intended for users who may have never created a patch or compiled software before. More experienced developers (who prefer to use their own development environment) may still find it instructive to skim over the following information.

If you are not familiar with GNU/Linux, it may be beneficial to read a few “introduction to Linux” type web pages.


LilyPond Contributor’s Guide v2.25.17 (development-branch).