Fedora Toolbox. Unprivileged development environment at maximum

Fedora Toolbox is a tool for developing and debugging software that basically is a frontend to the Podman container system. A simple way to test applications without getting billions of dependencies and cluttering up your operating system.

First, Podman (Pod Manager tool) is a daemon less container engine for developing, managing, and running OCI Containers on your Linux System. With Podman, you can manage pods, containers, and container images. You can consult (Podman.io) the official website to learn more about Podman and container tooling.

Fedora Toolbox gives you a quick frontend to Podman and it also creates an interactive container based on your current system. Toolbox (actually, Fedora Toolbox is now just Toolbox) use is particularly useful for the development and testing environment.

The Toolbox container is a fully mutable container, so when you do something inside your toolbox container, it happens without affecting the base operating system. The toolbox environment is based on an OCI image, so you can create toolboxes from any OCI base image, and you can also make multiple toolboxes.

Toolbox creates the container using an OCI image called <ID>-toolbox:<VERSION-ID>, where <ID> and <VERSION-ID> are taken from the host’s /usr/lib/os-release. For example, the default image on a Fedora 30 host would be fedora-toolbox:30.

This default can be overridden by the --image or --release options in toolbox create, so you can use a command this to download a specific OCI image and create a toolbox container from it:

$ toolbox create --release=f29

And the next to enter the toolbox and access common command-line tools:

$ toolbox enter --release=f29

The --image option changes the NAME of the base image used to create the toolbox container. This is useful for creating containers from custom-built base images. Instead, the --release option creates a toolbox container for a different operating system RELEASE than the host. More info on the Toolbox man page.

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