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Virtual machine templates for CentOS
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Latest commit e0f8467 Feb 18, 2019

Packer templates for CentOS


This repository contains Packer templates for creating CentOS Vagrant boxes.

Current Boxes

We no longer provide pre-built binaries for these templates.

Building the Vagrant boxes with Packer

To build all the boxes, you will need VirtualBox, VMware Fusion/VMware Workstation and Parallels installed.

Parallels requires that the Parallels Virtualization SDK for Mac be installed as an additional prerequisite.

We make use of JSON files containing user variables to build specific versions of CentOS. You tell packer to use a specific user variable file via the -var-file= command line option. This will override the default options on the core centos.json packer template, which builds CentOS 7 by default.

For example, to build CentOS 7, use the following:

$ packer build -var-file=centos7.json centos.json

If you want to make boxes for a specific desktop virtualization platform, use the -only parameter. For example, to build CentOS 7 for VirtualBox:

$ packer build -only=virtualbox-iso -var-file=centos7.json centos.json

The boxcutter templates currently support the following desktop virtualization strings:

Building the Vagrant boxes with the box script

We've also provided a wrapper script bin/box for ease of use, so alternatively, you can use the following to build CentOS 7 for all providers:

$ bin/box build centos7

Or if you just want to build CentOS 7 for VirtualBox:

$ bin/box build centos7 virtualbox

Building the Vagrant boxes with the Makefile

A GNU Make Makefile drives a complete basebox creation pipeline with the following stages:

  • build - Create basebox *.box files
  • assure - Verify that the basebox *.box files produced function correctly
  • deliver - Upload *.box files to Artifactory, Atlas or an S3 bucket

The pipeline is driven via the following targets, making it easy for you to include them in your favourite CI tool:

make build   # Build all available box types
make assure  # Run tests against all the boxes
make deliver # Upload box artifacts to a repository
make clean   # Clean up build detritus

Proxy Settings

The templates respect the following network proxy environment variables and forward them on to the virtual machine environment during the box creation process, should you be using a proxy:

  • http_proxy
  • https_proxy
  • ftp_proxy
  • rsync_proxy
  • no_proxy


The tests are written in Serverspec and require the vagrant-serverspec plugin to be installed with:

vagrant plugin install vagrant-serverspec

The Makefile has individual targets for each box type with the prefix test-* should you wish to run tests individually for each box. For example:

make test-virtualbox/

Similarly there are targets with the prefix ssh-* for registering a newly-built box with vagrant and for logging in using just one command to do exploratory testing. For example, to do exploratory testing on the VirtualBox training environmnet, run the following command:

make ssh-virtualbox/

Upon logout make ssh-* will automatically de-register the box as well.


  1. Fork and clone the repo.
  2. Create a new branch, please don't work in your master branch directly.
  3. Add new Serverspec or Bats tests in the test/ subtree for the change you want to make. Run make test on a relevant template to see the tests fail (like make test-virtualbox/centos65).
  4. Fix stuff. Use make ssh to interactively test your box (like make ssh-virtualbox/centos65).
  5. Run make test on a relevant template (like make test-virtualbox/centos65) to see if the tests pass. Repeat steps 3-5 until done.
  6. Update and AUTHORS to reflect any changes.
  7. If you have a large change in mind, it is still preferred that you split them into small commits. Good commit messages are important. The git documentation project has some nice guidelines on writing descriptive commit messages.
  8. Push to your fork and submit a pull request.
  9. Once submitted, a full make test run will be performed against your change in the build farm. You will be notified if the test suite fails.

Would you like to help out more?



Parallels provided a Business Edition license of their software to run on the basebox build farm.

SmartyStreets provided basebox hosting for the boxcutter project since 2015 - thank you for your support!

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