We have a great list of everything one needs for a working VM that webmaker-suite can run in, see https://github.com/mozilla/webmaker-suite#preflight. I really want some kind of "free" Linux-based VM you can throw into VirtualBox, Vagrant, ... and just start running our stuff locally.
I've looked into using Vagrant for all of the preflight dependencies and it should be possible to make a Vagrantfile that can install and setup everything into a Linux environment and then just forward the required ports from localhost to the VM. Vagrant should be able to simplify the requirements considerably. It should also be possible to have nodejs contained within the VM so that the host OS is as clean as possible.
With much help from Pomax I have an almost working Vagrant VM. You can see it in this branch, https://github.com/capilkey/webmaker-suite/tree/create-vagrant-vm. I had intended to put the Vagrant files inside of the webmaker-suite repo, but unfortunately because of how npm handles subpackages the path length gets too large for Windows machines when using VirtualBox for your VM. To solve this I'm going to create a new repo called webmaker-suite-vm and put all of the Vagrant files in there. The user will then be required to clone the webmaker-suite repo inside of their VM after it is set up and we will expose the webmaker files to the host with samba. The user can then map a network drive from the host to the VM to access their files. This should maximize the available path space.
Samba now works for sharing from the VM to a Windows host. To get it work you need to map a network drive to "\\192.168.50.4\vagrant", no credentials are needed. The directory maps to the /home/vagrant directory on the VM. You can now clone the webmaker-suite repo from within the VM to any child directory of /home/vagrant and run the setup commands. The repo where I'm storing all of my changes can be found here, https://github.com/capilkey/webmaker-suite-vm. There are still some lingering issues with python, but hopefully they can be sorted out shortly.
Can you add the samba instructions to the README.md? I can try to see if I can get this working on my windows install too.
I've updated the README in my repo, https://github.com/capilkey/webmaker-suite-vm, to include instructions for where to clone the webmaker-suite repo and how to connect to Samba from Windows.
It looks like they've fixed the issue in a pre-release build that was linked in the VirtualBox bug here, https://www.virtualbox.org/ticket/12182#comment:8 I'm going to continue with the testing now.
I'd submit that the vagrant work we've done allows for this function. I won't close, pending feedback.
Closing this bug as part of the deprecation of the Webmaker product on Bugzilla.