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toolbox-create - Man Page

Create a new toolbox container

Examples (TL;DR)


toolbox create [--authfile FILE]
              [--distro DISTRO | -d DISTRO]
              [--image NAME | -i NAME]
              [--release RELEASE | -r RELEASE]


Creates a new toolbox container. You can then use the toolbox enter command to interact with the container at any point.

A toolbox container is an OCI container created from an OCI image. On Fedora, the default image is known as fedora-toolbox:N, where N is the release of the host. If the image is not present locally, then it is pulled from a well-known registry like registry.fedoraproject.org. Other images may be used on other host operating systems. If the host is not recognized, then the Fedora image will be used.

The container is created with podman create, and its entry point is set to toolbox init-container.

By default, a toolbox container is named after its corresponding image. If the image had a tag, then the tag is included in the name of the container, but it's separated by a hyphen, not a colon. A different name can be assigned by using the CONTAINER argument.

Container Configuration

A toolbox container seamlessly integrates with the rest of the operating system by providing access to the user's home directory, the Wayland and X11 sockets, networking (including Avahi), removable devices (like USB sticks), systemd journal, SSH agent, D-Bus, ulimits, /dev and the udev database, etc..

The user ID and account details from the host is propagated into the toolbox container, SELinux label separation is disabled, and the host file system can be accessed by the container at /run/host. The container has access to the host's Kerberos credentials cache if it's configured to use KCM caches.

A toolbox container can be identified by the com.github.containers.toolbox label or the /run/.toolboxenv file.

The entry point of a toolbox container is the toolbox init-container command which plays a role in setting up the container, along with the options passed to podman create.

Entry Point

A key feature of toolbox containers is their entry point, the toolbox init-container command.

OCI containers are inherently immutable. Configuration options passed through podman create are baked into the definition of the OCI container, and can't be changed later. This means that changes and improvements made in newer versions of Toolbox can't be applied to pre-existing toolbox containers created by older versions of Toolbox. This is avoided by using the entry point to configure the container at runtime.

The entry point of a toolbox container customizes the container to fit the current user by ensuring that it has a user that matches the one on the host, and grants it sudo and root access.

Crucial configuration files, such as /etc/host.conf, /etc/hosts, /etc/localtime, /etc/resolv.conf and /etc/timezone, inside the container are kept synchronized with the host. The entry point also bind mounts various subsets of the host's file system hierarchy to their corresponding locations inside the container to provide seamless integration with the host. This includes /run/libvirt, /run/systemd/journal, /run/udev/data, /var/lib/libvirt, /var/lib/systemd/coredump, /var/log/journal and others.

On some host operating systems, important paths like /home, /media or /mnt are symbolic links to other locations. The entry point ensures that paths inside the container match those on the host, to avoid needless confusion.



Path to a FILE with credentials for authenticating to the registry for private images. The FILE is usually set using podman login, and will be used by podman pull to get the image.

The default location for FILE is $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/containers/auth.json and its format is specified in containers-auth.json(5).


Create a toolbox container for a different operating system DISTRO than the host. Cannot be used with --image. Has to be coupled with --release unless the selected DISTRO matches the host.


Change the NAME of the image used to create the toolbox container. This is useful for creating containers from custom-built images. Cannot be used with --distro and --release.

If NAME does not contain a registry, the local image storage will be consulted, and if it's not present there then it will be pulled from a suitable remote registry.


Create a toolbox container for a different operating system RELEASE than the host. Cannot be used with --image.


Create the default toolbox container matching the host OS

$ toolbox create

Create the default toolbox container for Fedora 36

$ toolbox create --distro fedora --release f36

Create a custom toolbox container from a custom image

$ toolbox create --image bar foo

Create a custom toolbox container from a custom image that's private

$ toolbox create --authfile ~/auth.json --image registry.example.com/bar

See Also

toolbox(1), toolbox-init-container(1), podman(1), podman-create(1), podman-login(1), podman-pull(1), containers-auth.json(5)

Referenced By

toolbox(1), toolbox.conf(5).