Silverblue also comes with the toolbox utility, which uses containers to provide an environment where development tools and libraries can be installed and used.
Toolbox makes it easy to use a containerized environment for everyday software development and debugging. On immutable operating systems, like Fedora Silverblue, it provides a familiar package-based environment in which tools and libraries can be installed and used. However, toolbox can also be used on package-based systems.
Using toolbox containers to install development tools offers a number of advantages:
It keeps the host OS clean and stable, and helps to avoid the clutter that can happen after installing lots of development tools and packages.
Containers are a safe space to experiment: if things go wrong, it’s easy to throw a toolbox away and start again.
Containers are a good way to isolate and organise the dependencies needed for different projects.
Toolbox takes the work out of using containers, by providing a small number of simple commands to create, enter, list and remove containers. It also integrates toolbox containers into your regular working environment, to make it easy for you to use them as an everyday development space.
Each toolbox container is an environment that you can enter from the command line. Inside each one, you will find:
Your existing username and permissions
Access to your home directory
Common command lines tools, including the DNF package manager
In other words, toolbox containers look, feel and behave like a standard Linux command line environment.
In most cases, when a command is run inside a container, the program from inside the container is used. However, there are a few special cases where the program on the host is used instead. One example of this is the toolbox command itself; this makes it possible to use toolbox from inside toolbox containers.
Toolbox is preinstalled on Fedora Silverblue 30 or newer. On older versions, it can be installed with the following command:
$ rpm-ostree install toolbox
This will install toolbox as a layered RPM.
Once toolbox is installed, two simple commands are required to get started:
$ toolbox create
This will download an OCI image and create a toolbox container from it. Once this is complete, run:
$ toolbox enter
Once inside the toolbox, you can access common command line tools, and install new ones using DNF.
|When the prompt is inside a toolbox, it is prepended with a diamond: this indicates that the prompt is inside a toolbox container.|
toolbox create [--container <name>]
Creates a toolbox container. This will download an OCI image if one isn’t available (this is required to create the container). By default a Fedora image matching the version of the host is used. Used without options,
toolbox createwill automatically name the container it creates. To create additional toolboxes, use the
toolbox enter [--container <name>]
Enters a toolbox for interactive use. Used without options,
toolbox enteropens the default toolbox. If there is more than one toolbox, use the
--container nameoption to specify the toolbox to enter.
Lists local toolbox images and containers. Note: it is typical to see two images listed, one with a
localhostprefix and one with a
registry.fedoraproject.orgprefix. These are a normal result of the toolbox creation process.
toolbox rm [--force] <name>
Removes one or more toolbox containers. The
--forceoption removes the container even if it is running.
toolbox rmi [--force] <name>
Removes one or more toolbox images.
Lists available commands.