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Dreamhack is a service that provides users with working environments, currently hosted by volunteers, with everything you need to get started already set up for you.

This service is currently run by [info]Mark.

To apply for a Dreamhack account, fill out the application form. [info]Mark processes these applications by hand, so it may be a day or two before you hear back from him.

If you're interested in helping out with Dreamwidth development but have not a clue what you're doing, you can join the #dreamwidth-dev channel on IRC.

Information on getting set up once you have a Dreamhack can be found at Beginning dev checklist, and at Dreamhack Getting Started.

Dreamhack Configuration

When you first receive your Dreamhack, it's set up for you automatically with the correct database settings. However, if your configuration gets wiped out or otherwise overwritten, you might need to redo your database settings as follows:

  • Your database username (known as user in the %DBINFO hash) is the name in the URL you use for your Dreamhack, prefixed by "dh_" - so, for example, "dh_mark" for http://www.mark.hack.dreamwidth.net/ . (notice that this uses an underscore rather than a hyphen as the SSH username does)
  • Your database password (known as pass in the %DBINFO hash) is the password you received in your initial email. Note that this is not your SSH password; although the passwords are set to the same thing initially, changing your SSH password will not change your database password.
  • Your database name (known as dbname in the %DBINFO hash) is like your username, but instead of "dh_", you use "dreamhack_". So, for the example above, the database name is "dreamhack_mark".

Dreamhack trouble-shooting

Things go wrong, and they don't always go wrong in ways that mean a total reinstall would be useful or appropriate. In those circumstances, take a look at Dreamhack Troubleshooting, and then ask IRC!

Dreamhack re-install

If you want to wipe out your dreamhack and start over on purpose, type this,

echo reinstall > /dreamhack/var/maintain.d/$$

It will take a few minutes for the install and setup to finish, and you should get a new notification email.

Dreamhack customisation

Once you've set up your shiny new dreamhack, you will probably want to personalise things a little.

If you want to show people looking at the list of dreamhacks what you intend to work on, you can create a "plan" file in your home directory, the one where your README is. Type:

nano .plan

(or replace "nano" with the name of your preferred editor). Then type whatever you like into the file and save it. Please note the . at the start of the file name; this means that it is a hidden file which will not show up when you use "ls" (although "ls -a" will show it).

If you want to update any of your other information on the Dreamhacks page, you can type this command:


This command will launch your editor with a file containing your information that you can edit. You should then save this file and exit, and the update will take place. (The editor used can be configured using the EDITOR environment variable; it is nano by default.)

If your Dreamhack is old enough, the above command may not work. In that case, you'll need to specify the full path:


Some other useful tweaks can be found in the Edit the config files section of the Dreamhack Getting Started page.

For more details on ways you might wish to customise your dev environment, see Customising Your Dev Environment.