This recipe demonstrates how to run Singularity on your Mac via Vagrant and Ubuntu. The recipe requires access to brew which is a package installation subsystem for OS X. This recipe may take anywhere from 5-20 minutes to complete.


First, install brew if you do not have it already.

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Next, install Vagrant and the necessary bits.

brew cask install virtualbox
brew cask install vagrant
brew cask install vagrant-manager

Option 1: Singularityware Vagrant Box

We are maintaining a set of Vagrant Boxes via Vagrant Cloud, one of Hashicorp many tools that likely you’ve used and haven’t known it. The current stable version of Singularity is available here:

For other versions of Singularity see our Vagrant Cloud repository

mkdir singularity-vm
cd singularity-vm
vagrant init singularityware/singularity-2.3.1
vagrant up
vagrant ssh

You are then ready to go with Singularity 2.3.1!

vagrant@vagrant:~$ which singularity
vagrant@vagrant:~$ singularity --version
vagrant@vagrant:~$ singularity create test.img
Initializing Singularity image subsystem
Opening image file: test.img
Creating 768MiB image
Binding image to loop
Creating file system within image
Image is done: test.img

Note that when you do vagrant up you can also select the provider, if you use vagrant for multiple providers. For example:

vagrant up --provider virtualbox

although this isn’t entirely necessary if you only have it configured for virtualbox.

Option 2: Vagrant Box from Scratch

If you want to use a different version of Singularity, or want to get more familiar with how Vagrant and VirtualBox work, you can build your own Vagrant Box from scratch. In this case, we will use the Vagrantfile for bento/ubuntu-16.04, however you could also try any of the other bento boxes that are equally delicious. As before, you should first make a separate directory for your Vagrantfile, and then init a base image.

mkdir singularity-vm
cd singularity-vm
vagrant init bento/ubuntu-16.04

Next, build and start the vagrant hosted VM, and you will install Singularity by sending the entire install script as a command (with the -c argument). You could just as easily shell into the box first with vagrant ssh, and then run these commands on your own. To each bento, his own.

vagrant up --provider virtualbox

# Run the necessary commands within the VM to install Singularity
vagrant ssh -c /bin/sh <<EOF
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get -y install build-essential curl git sudo man vim autoconf libtool
    git clone
    cd singularity
    ./configure --prefix=/usr/local
    sudo make install

At this point, Singularity is installed in your Vagrant Ubuntu VM! Now you can use Singularity as you would normally by logging into the VM directly

vagrant ssh

Remember that the VM is running in the background because we started it via the command vagrant up. You can shut the VM down using the command vagrant halt when you no longer need it.