Toolbox — Unprivileged development environment

Toolbox is a tool that offers a familiar RPM based environment for developing and debugging software that runs fully unprivileged using Podman.

The toolbox container is a fully mutable container; when you see yum install ansible for example, that's something you can do inside your toolbox container, without affecting the base operating system.

This is particularly useful on OSTree based Fedora systems like Silverblue. The intention of these systems is to discourage installation of software on the host, and instead install software as (or in) containers.

However, this tool doesn't require using an OSTree based system — it works equally well if you're running e.g. existing Fedora Workstation or Server, and that's a useful way to incrementally adopt containerization.

The toolbox environment is based on an OCI image. On Fedora this is the fedora-toolbox image. This image is then customized for the current user to create a toolbox container that seamlessly integrates with the rest of the operating system.


Create your toolbox container:

[user@hostname ~]$ toolbox create
[user@hostname ~]$

This will create a container, and an image, called fedora-toolbox-<your-username>:<version-id> that's specifically customised for your host user.

Enter the toolbox:

[user@hostname ~]$ toolbox enter
🔹[user@toolbox ~]$