toolbox-init-container - Man Page

Initialize a running container


toolbox init-container --gid GID
                      --home HOME
                      --shell SHELL
                      --uid UID
                      --user USER


Initializes a newly created container that's running. It is primarily meant to be used as the entry point for all toolbox containers, and must be run inside the container that's to be initialized. It is not expected to be directly invoked by humans, and cannot be used on the host.

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 filesystem 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.


The following options are understood:


Pass GID as the user's numerical group ID from the host to the toolbox container.


Create a user inside the toolbox container whose login directory is HOME. This option is required.

Make /home a symbolic link to /var/home.
Make /media a symbolic link to /run/media.
Make /mnt a symbolic link to /var/mnt.
Ensures that certain configuration files inside the toolbox container are kept synchronized with their counterparts on the host, and bind mounts some paths from the host's file system into the container.

The synchronized files are:

The bind mounted paths are:


Create a user inside the toolbox container whose login shell is SHELL. This option is required.


Create a user inside the toolbox container whose numerical user ID is UID. This option is required.


Create a user inside the toolbox container whose login name is LOGIN. This option is required.

See Also

toolbox(1), podman(1), podman-create(1), podman-start(1)

Referenced By

toolbox(1), toolbox-create(1).