Checkbox Configs

Configuration file path

By default, Checkbox searches for configuration files in the following directories:

  • /etc/xdg/

  • ~/.config/

  • $SNAP_DATA if run as a snap

Invoking checkbox-cli (without launcher)

By default, Checkbox will look for a config file named checkbox.conf in the directories mentioned above.

Invoking launcher

If using a launcher, the file name to look for is specified using the config_filename variable from the [config] section (see External configuration files for more information). If it’s not present, checkbox.conf is used.

Configuration values resolution order

If the same configuration variable is defined in more than one place, the order of value resolution is as follows (from the highest to lowest priority):

  1. launcher being invoked

  2. config file from ~/.config

  3. config file from /etc/xdg

  4. config file from $SNAP_DATA

If a configuration is specified in a launcher, values specified in other files for the same configuration are overridden.

For example, if the following config file is created at a custom location /tmp/my_config_name.conf:

[test plan]
unit = com.canonical.certification::smoke
forced = yes

[test selection]
forced = yes

And another config file at the one of the default lookup locations ~/.config/checkbox.conf contains a duplicated value:

[test plan]
unit = wrong_name

Then invoke Checkbox with the following launcher:

config_filename = /tmp/my_config_name.conf

Checkbox will load the correct test plan specified in the launcher. The unit value in the default location is ignored.

Configuration inheritance

To maintain a clean setup for different use cases, it is useful to define a global configuration for Checkbox and a few smaller configurations that are specific to each situation. You can use the config_filename option to bring values from other configuration files into a config or a launcher.

For example, the following config file contains some global configurations at ~/.config/checkbox_global.conf:

output = hide-automated

session_title = My machine name
stock_reports = [text]

unit = com.canonical.plainbox::text

type = file
path = /tmp/.last_checkbox_out.txt

exporter = text
transport = out_to_file

com.canonical.certification::my_manifest_key = True

If you invoke Checkbox with a launcher file that refers to this global config, both configuration sources are taken into account:

config_filename = ~/.config/checkbox_global.conf

[test plan]
unit = com.canonical.certification::smoke
force = True

If the same configuration option is defined in different sources, the value defined in the importing file overrides the one from the imported config.

For example, the following launcher configures the test report and submission, where the stock_reports value overrides the imported value:

config_filename = ~/.config/checkbox_global.conf

[test plan]
unit = com.canonical.certification::smoke
forced = True

stock_reports = [text, certification, submission_files]
local_submission = True

The configuration value inheritance (when a config or a launcher imports another config/launcher) allows every value to be inherited and overridden. It is helpful to use the ‘check-config’ command to track the origin of config values before running tests.


Circular import is not allowed. We advise you to use this feature in moderation since whilst it can simplify the maintenance of multiple configurations by avoiding copy-pasting values around, it can also make debugging a configuration complicated.

Configuration checker

The values resolution order and the fact that configurations can be stored in so many different places may bring confusion when running Checkbox.

Fortunately, the check-config command will list:

  • all the configuration files being used

  • for each section, the configured parameters being used

  • the origin of each of these customized parameters

  • an overall status report

For example:

$ checkbox-cli check-config

Configuration files:
 - /var/snap/checkbox/2799/checkbox.conf
 - /home/user/.config/checkbox.conf
     config_filename=checkbox.conf      (Default)
   [test plan]
     filter=*wireless*                  From config file: /home/user/.config/checkbox.conf
     forced=False                       (Default)
     unit=                              (Default)
   [test selection]
     exclude=                           (Default)
     forced=False                       (Default)
     STRESS_BOOT_ITERATIONS=100         From config file: /var/snap/checkbox/2799/checkbox.conf
No problems with config(s) found!

A configuration file may have errors. Consider the following checkbox.conf placed in /home/user/.config/:

[test plan]
filter = *wireless*

[test selection]
wrong_var = example

When running the check-config command, the following will be reported:

-  Unexpected section [test plan]. Origin: /home/user/.config/checkbox.conf
-  Unexpected variable 'wrong_var' in section [test selection] Origin: /home/user/.config/checkbox.conf

Indeed, there is a typo in the name of the [test plan] section, and a unknown variable is set in the [test selection] section. For more information on the available sections and variables, please check the Checkbox launchers reference.

Configs with Checkbox Remote

When the Checkbox Agent starts, it looks for config files in the same places that local Checkbox session would look (on the Agent side). If the Checkbox Controller uses a Launcher, then the values from that Launcher take precedence over the values from configs on the Agent side.


# checkbox.conf on the Agent

FOO = 12
BAR = 6
# Launcher used by the Controller

# (...)
FOO = 42

A Checkbox job that runs echo $FOO $BAR would print 42 6

Note that BAR is still available even though the Controller used a Launcher that did not define it.