» Plugin Development: Hosts

This page documents how to add new host OS detection to Vagrant, allowing Vagrant to properly execute host-specific operations on new operating systems. Prior to reading this, you should be familiar with the plugin development basics.

Warning: Advanced Topic! Developing plugins is an advanced topic that only experienced Vagrant users who are reasonably comfortable with Ruby should approach.

Vagrant has some features that require host OS-specific actions, such as exporting NFS folders. These tasks vary from operating system to operating system. Vagrant uses host detection as well as host capabilities to perform these host OS-specific operations.

» Definition Component

Within the context of a plugin definition, new hosts can be defined like so:

host "ubuntu" do
  require_relative "host"
  Host
end

Hosts are defined with the host method. The first argument is the name of the host. This name is not actually used anywhere, but may in the future, so choose something helpful. Then, the block argument returns a class that implements the Vagrant.plugin(2, :host) interface.

» Implementation

Implementations of hosts subclass Vagrant.plugin("2", "host"). Within this implementation, only the detect? method needs to be implemented.

The detect? method is called by Vagrant very early on in its initialization process to determine if the OS that Vagrant is running on is this host. If you detect that it is your operating system, return true from detect?. Otherwise, return false.

class MyHost < Vagrant.plugin("2", "host")
  def detect?(environment)
    File.file?("/etc/arch-release")
  end
end

After detecting an OS, that OS is used for various host capabilities that may be required.

» Host Inheritance

Vagrant also supports a form of inheritance for hosts, since sometimes operating systems stem from a common root. A good example of this is Linux is the root of Debian, which further is the root of Ubuntu in many cases. Inheritance allows hosts to share a lot of common behavior while allowing distro-specific overrides.

Inheritance is not done via standard Ruby class inheritance because Vagrant uses a custom capability-based system. Vagrant handles inheritance dispatch for you.

To subclass another host, specify that host's name as a second parameter in the host definition:

host "ubuntu", "debian" do
  require_relative "host"
  Host
end

With the above component, the "ubuntu" host inherits from "debian." When a capability is looked up for "ubuntu", all capabilities from "debian" are also available, and any capabilities in "ubuntu" override parent capabilities.

When detecting operating systems with detect?, Vagrant always does a depth-first search by searching the children operating systems before checking their parents. Therefore, it is guaranteed in the above example that the detect? method on "ubuntu" will be called before "debian."