How to use Docker without Docker Desktop on MacOS

· Thomas Taylor

How to use Docker without Docker Desktop on MacOS

Docker Desktop was my de facto choice on MacOS due to its ease of installation and container management. This changed after Docker updated their subscription service agreement.

Step-by-step guide to installing Docker without Docker Desktop

The following tutorial assumes that you use brew as your package manager.

Install docker

Firstly, install docker and docker-credential-helper.

1brew install docker-credential-helper docker

docker-credential-helper provides a way for Docker to use the MacOS Keychain as a credential store.

Install colima

The true power comes from colima: a container runtime for MacOS and Linux.

Install it using brew:

1brew install colima

Start colima

Colima boasts its CLI ease of use! To get started, simply start the service:

1colima start

Using colima

After colima is installed, docker should hopefully work out-of-the-box:

1docker ps

Some applications do not respect docker contexts and will yield the following error:

1Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at unix:///var/run/docker.sock. Is the docker daemon running?

To remediate the issue, set the DOCKER_HOST variable.

1export DOCKER_HOST=unix://${HOME}/.colima/default/docker.sock


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