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podman-machine-init(1) General Commands Manual podman-machine-init(1)


podman-machine-init - Initialize a new virtual machine


podman machine init [options] [name]


Initialize a new virtual machine for Podman.

Rootless only.

Podman on MacOS and Windows requires a virtual machine. This is because containers are Linux - containers do not run on any other OS because containers' core functionality are tied to the Linux kernel. Podman machine must be used to manage MacOS and Windows machines, but can be optionally used on Linux.

podman machine init initializes a new Linux virtual machine where containers are run. SSH keys are automatically generated to access the VM, and system connections to the root account and a user account inside the VM are added.

By default, the VM distribution is Fedora CoreOS. Fedora CoreOS upgrades come out every 14 days and are detected and installed automatically. The VM will be rebooted during the upgrade. For more information on updates and advanced configuration, please see the FCOS update docs here and here.



Number of CPUs.


Size of the disk for the guest VM in GB.


Print usage statement.


Fully qualified path of the ignition file.

If an ignition file is provided, the file will be copied into the user's CONF_DIR and renamed. Additionally, no SSH keys will be generated nor will a system connection be made. It is assumed that the user will do these things manually or handle otherwise.


Fully qualified path or URL to the VM image. Can also be set to testing, next, or stable to pull down default image. Defaults to testing.

--memory, -m=number

Memory (in MB).


Start the virtual machine immediately after it has been initialized.


Whether this machine should prefer rootful (true) or rootless (false) container execution. This option will also determine the remote connection default if there is no existing remote connection configurations.

API forwarding, if available, will follow this setting.


Set the timezone for the machine and containers. Valid values are local or a timezone such as America/Chicago. A value of local, which is the default, means to use the timezone of the machine host.


Username to use for executing commands in remote VM. Default value is core for FCOS and user for Fedora (default on Windows hosts). Should match the one used inside the resulting VM image.

--volume, -v=source:target[:options]

Mounts a volume from source to target.

Create a mount. If /host-dir:/machine-dir is specified as the *source:target*, Podman mounts host-dir in the host to machine-dir in the Podman machine.

Additional options may be specified as a comma-separated string. Recognized options are: * ro: mount volume read-only * rw: mount volume read/write (default) * security_model=[model]: specify 9p security model (see below)

The 9p security model [determines] if and how the 9p filesystem translates some filesystem operations before actual storage on the host. The default value of mapped-xattr specifies that 9p store symlinks and some file attributes as extended attributes on the host. This is suitable when the host and the guest do not need to interoperate on the shared filesystem, but has caveats for actual shared access; notably, symlinks on the host are not usable on the guest and vice versa. If interoperability is required, then choose none instead, but keep in mind that the guest will not be able to do things that the user running the virtual machine cannot do, e.g. create files owned by another user. Using none is almost certainly the best choice for read-only volumes.

Example: -v "$HOME/git:$HOME/git:ro,security_model=none"

Default volume mounts are defined in containers.conf. Unless changed, the default values is $HOME:$HOME.


Driver to use for mounting volumes from the host, such as virtfs.


$ podman machine init
$ podman machine init myvm
$ podman machine init --rootful
$ podman machine init --disk-size 50
$ podman machine init --memory=1024 myvm
$ podman machine init -v /Users:/mnt/Users


podman(1), podman-machine(1)


March 2021, Originally compiled by Ashley Cui ⟨⟩