ocitools-generate man page

ocitools-generate — Generate a config.json for an OCI container


ocitools generate [--arch[=[]] [--apparmor[=[]]] [--args[=[]]] [--bind[=[]]] [--cap-add[=[]]] [--cap-drop[=[]]] [--cwd[=[]]] [--env[=[]]] [--gid[=GID]] [--gidmappings[=[]]]] [--groups[=[]]] [--hostname[=[]]] [--help] [--ipc] [--network] [--no-new-privileges] [--mount] [--mount-cgroups] [--os[=[]]] [--pid] [--poststart[=[]]] [--poststop[=[]]] [--prestart[=[]]] [--privileged] [--read-only] [--root-propagation[=[]]] [--rootfs[=[]]] [--seccomp-default[=[]]] [--seccomp-arch[=[]]] [--seccomp-syscalls[=[]]] [--selinux-label[=[]]] [--sysctl[=[]]] [--tmpfs[=[]]] [--uid[=[]]] [--uidmappings[=[]]] [--uts]


ocitools generate is used to generate a config.json (OCI spec file) to be used to instantiate an OCI container.  This config.json file can be placed into a directory and used by an OCI compatable runtime like runc to run a container.



Specifies the the apparmor profile for the container


Architecture used within the container.


Arguments to run within the container.  Can be specified multiple times.
  If you were going to run a command with multiple options, you would need to specify the command and each argument in order.

--args "/usr/bin/httpd" --args "-D" --args "FOREGROUND"

--bind=[=[[HOST-DIR:CONTAINER-DIR][:OPTIONS]]] Bind mount

directories src:dest:(rw,ro) If you specify, --bind
  /HOST-DIR:/CONTAINER-DIR, runc bind mounts /HOST-DIR in the host
  to /CONTAINER-DIR in the OCI container. The OPTIONS are a comma
  delimited list and can be: [rw|ro] The HOST_DIR and
  CONTAINER-DIR must be absolute paths such as /src/docs.  You
  can add :ro or :rw suffix to a volume to mount it read-only or
  read-write mode, respectively. By default, the volumes are mounted


Add Linux capabilities


Drop Linux capabilities


Current working directory for the process


Set environment variables

This option allows you to specify arbitrary environment variables that are available for the process that will be launched inside of the container.


Container host name

Sets the container host name that is available inside the container.


Print usage statement


Gid for the process inside of container


Supplementary groups for the processes inside of container


Add GIDMappings e.g HostID:ContainerID:Size for use with User Namespace


Use ipc namespace


Use network namespace


Set no new privileges bit for the container process.  Setting this flag
 will block the container processes from gaining any additional privileges
 using tools like setuid apps.  It is a good idea to run unprivileged
 containers with this flag.


Use a mount namespace


Mount cgroups (rw,ro,no)


Operating system used within the container


Use a pid namespace


Path to command to run in poststart hooks. This command will be run before
 the container process gets launched but after the container environment and
 main process has been created.


Path to command to run in poststop hooks. This command will be run after the
 container completes but before the container process is destroyed


Path to command to run in prestart hooks. This command will be run before
 the container process gets launched but after the container environment.


Give extended privileges to this container. The default is false.

By default, OCI containers are “unprivileged” (=false) and cannot do some of the things a normal root process can do.

When the operator executes ocitools generate --privileged, OCI will enable access to all devices on the host as well as disable some of the confinement mechanisms like AppArmor, SELinux, and seccomp from blocking access to privileged processes.  This gives the container processes nearly all the same access to the host as processes generating outside of a container on the host.


Mount the container's root filesystem as read only.

By default a container will have its root filesystem writable allowing processes to write files anywhere.  By specifying the --read-only flag the container will have its root filesystem mounted as read only prohibiting any writes.


Mount propagation for root filesystem.


Path to the rootfs


Add sysctl settings e.g net.ipv4.forward=1, only allowed if the syctl is


Specifies the the defaultaction of Seccomp syscall restrictions


Specifies Additional architectures permitted to be used for system calls.
 By default if you turn on seccomp, only the host architecture will be allowed.


Specifies Additional syscalls permitted to be used for system calls,
 e.g Name:Action:Arg1_index/Arg1_value/Arg1_valuetwo/Arg1_op, Arg2_index/Arg2_value/Arg2_valuetwo/Arg2_op


SELinux Label
 Depending on your SELinux policy, you would specify a label that looks like

Note you would want your ROOTFS directory to be labeled with a context that
this process type can use.

  "system_u:object_r:usr_t:s0" might be a good label for a readonly container,
  "system_u:system_r:svirt_sandbox_file_t:s0:c1,c2" for a read/write container.
--tmpfs=[] Create a tmpfs mount

Mount a temporary filesystem (tmpfs) mount into a container, for example:

$ ocitools generate -d --tmpfs /tmp:rw,size=787448k,mode=1777 my_image

This command mounts a `tmpfs` at `/tmp` within the container.  The supported mount options are the same as the Linux default `mount` flags. If you do not specify any options, the systems uses the following options:

Sets the UID used within the container.


Add UIDMappings e.g HostUID:ContainerID:Size for use with User Namespace


Use the uts namespace


Generating container in read-only mode

During container image development, containers often need to write to the image content.  Installing packages into /usr, for example.  In production, applications seldom need to write to the image.  Container applications write to volumes if they need to write to file systems at all.  Applications can be made more secure by generating them in read-only mode using the --read-only switch. This protects the containers image from modification. Read only containers may still need to write temporary data.  The best way to handle this is to mount tmpfs directories on /generate and /tmp.

# ocitools generate --read-only --tmpfs /generate --tmpfs /tmp --tmpfs /run  --rootfs /var/lib/containers/fedora /bin/bash

Exposing log messages from the container to the host's log

If you want messages that are logged in your container to show up in the host's syslog/journal then you should bind mount the /dev/log directory as follows.

# ocitools generate --bind /dev/log:/dev/log  --rootfs /var/lib/containers/fedora /bin/bash

From inside the container you can test this by sending a message to the log.

(bash)# logger "Hello from my container"

Then exit and check the journal.

# exit

# journalctl -b | grep Hello

This should list the message sent to logger.

Bind Mounting External Volumes

To mount a host directory as a container volume, specify the absolute path to the directory and the absolute path for the container directory separated by a colon:

# ocitools generate --bind /var/db:/data1  --rootfs /var/lib/containers/fedora --args bash

Using SELinux

You can use SELinux to add security to the container.  You must specify the process label to run the init process inside of the container using the --selinux-label.

# ocitools generate --bind /var/db:/data1  --selinux-label system_u:system_r:svirt_lxc_net_t:s0:c1,c2 --rootfs /var/lib/containers/fedora --args bash

Not in the above example we used a type of svirt_lxc_net_t and an MCS Label of s0:c1,c2.  If you want to guarantee separation between containers, you need to make sure that each container gets launched with a different MCS Label pair.

Also the underlying rootfs must be labeled with a matching label.  For the example above, you would execute a command like:

# chcon -R system_u:object_r:svirt_sandbox_file_t:s0:c1,c2  /var/lib/containers/fedora

This will set up the labeling of the rootfs so that the process launched would be able to write to the container.  If you wanted to only allow it to read/execute the content in rootfs, you could execute:

# chcon -R system_u:object_r:usr_t:s0  /var/lib/containers/fedora

When using SELinux, be aware that the host has no knowledge of container SELinux policy. Therefore, in the above example, if SELinux policy is enforced, the /var/db directory is not writable to the container. A "Permission Denied" message will occur and an avc: message in the host's syslog.

To work around this, the following command needs to be generate in order for the proper SELinux policy type label to be attached to the host directory:

# chcon -Rt svirt_sandbox_file_t -l s0:c1,c2 /var/db

Now, writing to the /data1 volume in the container will be allowed and the changes will also be reflected on the host in /var/db.

See Also

runc(1), ocitools(1)


April 2016, Originally compiled by Dan Walsh (dwalsh at redhat dot com)

Referenced By


OCI User Manuals OCI Community APRIL 2016