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virt-sandbox - Man Page

Run cmd under a virtual machine sandbox


virt-sandbox [Options...] COMMAND

virt-sandbox [Options...] -- COMMAND [CMDARG1 [CMDARG2 [...]]]


Run the cmd  application within a tightly confined virtual machine. The default sandbox domain only allows applications the ability to read and write stdin, stdout and any other file descriptors handed to it. It is not allowed to open any other files.


-c URI, --connect=URI

Set the libvirt connection URI, defaults to qemu:///session if omitted. Alternatively the LIBVIRT_DEFAULT_URI environment variable can be set, or the config file /etc/libvirt/libvirt.conf can have a default URI set.  Currently only the QEMU and LXC drivers are supported.

-n NAME, --name=NAME

Set the unique name for the sandbox. This defaults to sandbox but this will need to be changed if more than one sandbox is to be run concurrently. This is used as the name of the libvirt virtual machine or container.

-r DIR, --root DIR

Use DIR as the root directory of the sandbox, instead of inheriting the host's root filesystem.

NB. DIR must contain a matching install of the libvirt-sandbox package. This restriction may be lifted in a future version.

--env key=value

Sets up a custom environment variable on a running sandbox.


Sets up a disk inside the sandbox by using SOURCE with a symlink named as TAGNAME and type TYPE and format FORMAT. Example: file:cache=/var/lib/sandbox/demo/tmp.qcow2,format=qcow2 Format is an optional parameter.


Type parameter can be set to "file".


TAGNAME will be created under /dev/disk/by-tag/TAGNAME. It will be linked to the device under /dev


Source parameter needs to point a file which must be a one of the valid domain disk formats supported by qemu.


Format parameter must be set to the same disk format as the file passed on source parameter. This parameter is optional and the format can be guessed from the image extension


Sets up a mount inside the sandbox at DST backed by SRC. The meaning of SRC depends on the value of TYPE specified:


If TYPE is host-bind, then SRC is interpreted as the path to a directory on the host filesystem. If SRC is the empty string, then a temporary (empty) directory is created on the host before starting the sandbox and deleted afterwards. The --include option is useful for populating these temporary directories with copies of host files.


If TYPE is host-image, then SRC is interpreted as the path to a disk image file on the host filesystem. The image should be formatted with a filesystem that can be auto-detected by the sandbox, such as ext3, ext4, etc. The disk image itself should be a raw file, not qcow2 or any other special format


If TYPE is guest-bind, then SRC is interpreted as the path to another directory in the container filesystem.


If TYPE is ram, then SRC is interpreted as specifying the size of the RAM disk in bytes. The suffix K, KiB, M, MiB, G, GiB can used to alter the units from bytes to a coarser level.

Some examples

 -m host-bind:/tmp=/var/lib/sandbox/demo/tmp
 -m host-image:/=/var/lib/sandbox/demo.img
 -m guest-bind:/home=/tmp/home
 -m ram:/tmp=500M
-I HOST-PATH, --includefile=HOST-PATH

Copy all files listed in inputfile into the appropriate temporary sandbox directories.


Add a network interface to the sandbox. NETWORK-OPTIONS is a set of key=val pairs, separated by commas. The following options are valid


Configure the network interface using dhcp. This key takes no value. No other keys may be specified. eg

  -N dhcp,source=default
  --network dhcp,source=lan

where 'source' is the name of any libvirt virtual network.


Set the name of the network to connect the interface to. NETWORK is the name of any libvirt virtual network. See also virsh net-list


Set the MAC address of the network interface, where each NN is a pair of hex digits.


Configure the network interface with the static IPv4 or IPv6 address IP-ADDRESS. The PREFIX value is the length of the network prefix in IP-ADDRESS. The optional BROADCAST parameter specifies the broadcast address. Some examples


Configure the network interface with the static IPv4 or IPv6 route IP-NETWORK. The PREFIX value is the length of the network prefix in IP-NETWORK. The GATEWAY parameter specifies the address of the gateway for the route. Some examples


Use alternative security options. SECURITY-OPTIONS is a set of key=val pairs, separated by commas. The following options are valid for SELinux


Dynamically allocate an SELinux label, using the default base context. The default base context is system_u:system_r:svirt_lxc_net_t:s0 for LXC, system_u:system_r:svirt_t:s0 for KVM, system_u:system_r:svirt_tcg_t:s0 for QEMU.


Dynamically allocate an SELinux label, using the base context USER:ROLE:TYPE:LEVEL, instead of the default base context.


To set a completely static label. For example, static,label=system_u:system_r:svirt_t:s0:c412,c355


Inherit the context from the process that is executing virt-sandbox.


Specify the kernel version to run for machine based sandboxes. If omitted, defaults to match the current running host version.


Specify the path to the kernel binary. If omitted, defaults to /boot/vmlinuz-$KERNEL-VERSION.


Specify the path to the kernel module base directory. If omitted, defaults to /lib/modules. The suffix $KERNEL-VERSION/kernel will be appended to this path to locate the modules.

-p,  --privileged

Retain root privileges inside the sandbox, rather than dropping privileges to match the current user identity.

-S USER, --switchto=USER

Switch to the given user inside the sandbox and setup $HOME accordingly.

-l,  --shell

Launch an interactive shell on a secondary console device

-V,  --version

Display the version number and exit

-v,  --verbose

Display verbose progress information

-d,  --debug

Display debugging information

-h,  --help

Display help information


Run an interactive shell under LXC, replace $HOME with the contents of $HOME/scratch

  # mkdir $HOME/scratch
  # echo "hello" > $HOME/scratch/foo
  # echo "sandbox" > $HOME/scratch/bar
  # virt-sandbox -c lxc:/// -m host-bind:$HOME=$HOME/scratch -i $HOME/scratch/foo -i $HOME/scratch/bar /bin/sh

Convert an OGG file to WAV inside QEMU

  # virt-sandbox -c qemu:///session  -- /usr/bin/oggdec -Q -o - - < somefile.ogg > somefile.wav

See Also

sandbox(8), virsh(1)


Daniel P. Berrange <dan@berrange.com>


virt-sandbox is distributed under the terms of the GNU LGPL v2+. This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE


2024-03-30 libvirt-sandbox-0.8.0 Virtualization Support