Setting up the development environment


In addition to the standard Prerequisites for Fabric, the following prerequisites are also required:

For Linux platforms, including WSL2 on Windows, also required are various build tools such as gnu-make and C compiler. On ubuntu and it’s derivatives you can install the required toolset by using the command sudo apt install build-essential. Other distributions may already have the appropriate tools installed or provide a convenient way to install the various build tools.


Installing SoftHSM

Ensure you install 2.5 of softhsm, if you are using a distribution package manager such as apt on ubuntu or Homebrew on Mac OS, make sure that it offers this version otherwise you will need to install from source. Version 2.6 of SoftHSM is known to have problems. Older versions than 2.5 may work however.

When installing SoftHSM, you should note the path where the shared library is installed you may need to have to provide this later in an environment variable to get the PKCS11 tests to pass.

Install the Prerequisites using Homebrew on MacOS

For macOS, Homebrew can be used to manage the development prereqs (assuming that you would like to install the latest versions). The Xcode command line tools will be installed as part of the Homebrew installation.

Once Homebrew is ready, installing the necessary prerequisites is very easy, for example:

brew install git jq
brew install --cask docker

Go and SoftHSM are also available from Homebrew, but make sure you install the appropriate versions

Docker Desktop must be launched to complete the installation, so be sure to open the application after installing it:

open /Applications/

Developing on Windows

It is recommended that all development be done within your WSL2 Linux distribution.

Clone the Hyperledger Fabric source

First navigate to and fork the fabric repository using the fork button in the top-right corner. After forking, clone the repository.

mkdir -p<your_github_userid>
git clone<your_github_userid>/fabric

Configure SoftHSM

A PKCS #11 cryptographic token implementation is required to run the unit tests. The PKCS #11 API is used by the bccsp component of Fabric to interact with hardware security modules (HSMs) that store cryptographic information and perform cryptographic computations. For test environments, SoftHSM can be used to satisfy this requirement.

SoftHSM generally requires additional configuration before it can be used. For example, the default configuration will attempt to store token data in a system directory that unprivileged users are unable to write to.

SoftHSM configuration typically involves copying /etc/softhsm/softhsm2.conf (or /usr/local/etc/softhsm/softhsm2.conf for macOS) to $HOME/.config/softhsm2/softhsm2.conf and changing directories.tokendir to an appropriate location. Please see the man page for softhsm2.conf for details.

After SoftHSM has been configured, the following command can be used to initialize the token required by the unit tests:

softhsm2-util --init-token --slot 0 --label ForFabric --so-pin 1234 --pin 98765432

If tests are unable to locate the library in your environment, specify the library path, the PIN, and the label of your token in the appropriate environment variables. For example, on macOS, depending on where the library has been installed:

export PKCS11_LIB="/usr/local/Cellar/softhsm/2.6.1/lib/softhsm/"
export PKCS11_PIN=98765432
export PKCS11_LABEL="ForFabric"

If you installed SoftHSM on ubuntu from source then the environment variables may look like

export PKCS11_LIB="/usr/local/lib/softhsm/"
export PKCS11_PIN=98765432
export PKCS11_LABEL="ForFabric"

The tests don’t always clean up after themselves and, over time, this causes the PKCS #11 tests to take a long time to run. The easiest way to recover from this is to delete and recreate the token.

softhsm2-util --delete-token --token ForFabric
softhsm2-util --init-token --slot 0 --label ForFabric --so-pin 1234 --pin 98765432

Debugging with pkcs11-spy

The OpenSC Project provides a shared library called pkcs11-spy that logs all interactions between an application and a PKCS #11 module. This library can be very useful when troubleshooting interactions with a cryptographic token device or service.

Once the library has been installed, configure Fabric to use pkcs11-spy as the PKCS #11 library and set the PKCS11SPY environment variable to the real library. For example:

export PKCS11SPY="/usr/lib/softhsm/"
export PKCS11_LIB="/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/pkcs11/"

Install the development tools

Once the repository is cloned, you can use make to install some of the tools used in the development environment. By default, these tools will be installed into $HOME/go/bin. Please be sure your PATH includes that directory.

make gotools

After installing the tools, the build environment can be verified by running a few commands.

make basic-checks integration-test-prereqs
ginkgo -r ./integration/nwo

If those commands completely successfully, you’re ready to Go!

If you plan to use the Hyperledger Fabric application SDKs then be sure to check out their prerequisites in the Node.js SDK README, Java SDK README, and Go SDK README.