Toolbox allows you to sort and manage your development environments in containers without requiring root privileges or manually attaching volumes. It creates a container where you can install your own CLI tools, without installing them on the base system itself. You can also utilize it when you do not have root access or cannot install programs directly. This article gives you an introduction to toolbox and what it does.
Silverblue includes Toolbox by default. For the Workstation and Server editions, you can grab it from the default repositories using dnf install toolbox.
Open your terminal and run toolbox enter. The utility will automatically request permission to download the latest image, create your first container, and place your shell inside this container.
$ toolbox enter No toolbox containers found. Create now? [y/N] y Image required to create toolbox container. Download registry.fedoraproject.org/f30/fedora-toolbox:30 (500MB)? [y/N]: y
Currently there is no difference between the toolbox and your base system. Your filesystems and packages appear unchanged. Here is an example using a repository that contains documentation source for a resume under a ~/src/resume folder. The resume is built using the pandoc tool.
$ pwd /home/rwaltr $ cd src/resume/ $ head -n 5 Makefile all: pdf html rtf text docx pdf: init pandoc -s -o BUILDS/resume.pdf markdown/* $ make pdf bash: make: command not found $ pandoc -v bash: pandoc: command not found
This toolbox does not have the programs required to build the resume. You can remedy this by installing the tools with dnf. You will not be prompted for the root password, because you are running in a container.
$ sudo dnf groupinstall "Authoring and Publishing" -y && sudo dnf install pandoc make -y ... $ make all #Successful builds mkdir -p BUILDS pandoc -s -o BUILDS/resume.pdf markdown/* pandoc -s -o BUILDS/resume.html markdown/* pandoc -s -o BUILDS/resume.rtf markdown/* pandoc -s -o BUILDS/resume.txt markdown/* pandoc -s -o BUILDS/resume.docx markdown/* $ ls BUILDS/ resume.docx resume.html resume.pdf resume.rtf resume.txt
Run exit at any time to exit the toolbox.
$ cd BUILDS/ $ pandoc --version || ls pandoc 2.2.1 Compiled with pandoc-types 22.214.171.124, texmath 0.11.1.2, skylighting 0.7.5 ... for a particular purpose. resume.docx resume.html resume.pdf resume.rtf resume.txt $ exit logout $ pandoc --version || ls bash: pandoc: command not found... resume.docx resume.html resume.pdf resume.rtf resume.txt
You retain the files created by your toolbox in your home directory. None of the programs installed in your toolbox will be available outside of it.
Tips and tricks
This introduction to toolbox only scratches the surface. Here are some additional tips, but you can also check out the official documentation.
- Toolbox –help will show you the man page for Toolbox
- You can have multiple toolboxes at once. Use toolbox create -c Toolboxname and toolbox enter -c Toolboxname
- Toolbox uses Podman to do the heavy lifting. Use toolbox list to find the IDs of the containers Toolbox creates. Podman can use these IDs to perform actions such as rm and stop. (You can also read more about Podman in this Magazine article.)