From Fedora Project Wiki

Feature Name BoxGrinder


BoxGrinder creates appliances (virtual machines) from simple plain text appliance definition files for various virtual platforms.


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Current status


  • As of 2011-03-11 with this update - plugin packages are now removed and only rubygem-boxgrinder-core and rubygem-boxgrinder-build packages are required. All plugins are now included in rubygem-boxgrinder-build package. --Goldmann 17:32, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
  • All packages available in stable repo! --Goldmann 17:29, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
  • All packages available in stable or testing repos --Goldmann 08:05, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
  • One plugin (SFTP) left in review queue --Goldmann 16:36, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Three plugins (S3, EBS, SFTP) left in review queue, other plugins in stable --Goldmann 19:49, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Most plugins are in stable. BGBUILD-55 was fixed! I submitted last plugins now. --Goldmann 10:24, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Almost all packages are in stable or testing repos now. --Goldmann 13:09, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Most of packages were approved. Doing last cleanups in spec files. --Goldmann 11:06, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
  • All spec files recreated and all review requests updated with new files. Everything builds fine in my mock environment now. --Goldmann 11:09, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Detailed Description

BoxGrinder is a set of tools used for building appliances (virtual machines) for various platforms (KVM, Xen, VMware, EC2).

BoxGrinder creates appliances (images/virtual machines) from simple plain text Appliance Definition Files. There are only two simple steps to create an appliance:

  1. Create Appliance Definition File
  2. Run BoxGrinder. BoxGrinder will download all necessary artifact, build the instance, convert it to selected platform and upload it to selected destination. All in one process!

See Quick start page for more info.

Appliance definition file

Example appliance definition file:

name: f14-jeos
summary: Just Enough Operating System based on Fedora 14 with PostgreSQL
  name: fedora
  version: 14
      size: 2
  - @core
  - postgresql-server

BoxGrinder Build architecture


How it works

BoxGrinder Build has a plugin architecture. We can distinguish three types:

  1. Operating System plugins – generating base appliance for selected OS,
  2. Platform plugins – creating converted base appliance for selected platform (VMware, EC2),
  3. Delivery plugins – designed to deliver your new appliance to a specified location. For example as a tar file to a remote server or just register as AMI on EC2.

Benefit to Fedora

Creating and delivering Fedora-based appliances to various virtual platforms like KVM, VMware, EC2.


Watch review request, fix all specs to meets Fedora Guidelines.

How To Test

  1. Save sample appliance definition file as f14-jeos.appl.
  2. Create BoxGrinder configuration file $HOME/.boxgrinder/config.
  3. Install and run BoxGrinder.

Sample BoxGrinder configuration file

log_level: debug
    path: /home/goldmann/builds
    overwrite: false               # default: false
    package: true                  # default: true
    type: personal
    thin_disk: true                # default: false

Commands to execute

yum install rubygem-boxgrinder-build
boxgrinder-build jeos-f14.appl -p vmware -d local

It should produce a virtual machine, convert it to VMware format and store in /home/goldmann/builds dir as tarred file.

User Experience

BoxGrinder will allow for easy and fast appliance creation and delivery.


  • ruby
  • appliance-tools
  • libguestfs
  • yum-utils
  • various rubygems

Contingency Plan

BoxGrinder is already released and packaged. It only needs to be reviewed and included, but if this fails we're still able to install BoxGrinder using RubyGems and gem install command.


Release Notes

BoxGrinder Build is an easy to use command line tool to create appliances (virtual images) from simple plaintext appliance definition files. BoxGrinder can produce appliances for a variety of virtual and cloud platforms using plugins supporting technologies such as VMware or EC2.

Comments and Discussion


If you need help – please contact us. We're available on IRC (#boxgrinder/ and on forums.