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Docker goes native with Windows, Mac beta

Want a laptop full of containers? Here you go

Docker has decided the time is right for native desktop versions of its eponymous wares.

The idea is to simplify what Docker's developer relations director Mano Marks says (video below) is a “dependency hell” created by the multi-layer installation currently required – installing Docker Toolbox, then installing Docker Machine, and then configuring a suitable VM (like VirtualBox on OS X).

Announced just before Easter, the Windows and Mac OS beta offerings are designed to let devs get a taste for Docker on the desktop or laptop, without having to run up a server implementation.

For OS X users, the Docker engine runs in an Alpine Linux disto, using the xhyve Virtual Machine. Windows users can run it up on Hyper-V and use Docker to manage the virtual machine.

“All you need is Docker, git, and a text editor or whatever version control system and IDE you want to use,” Marks says in the video.

The native applications have a native user interface, auto-update, and a bunch of bundled tools: Docker command line, Docker Compose, and Docker Notary command line.

Other features of the release include:

  • Volume mounting, with inotify supported on Mac, for in-container development;
  • DNS servers and networking integration for OS X and Windows, to make it easier to access containers over the LAN;
  • In Mac environments, the native release is designed to work with the OS X sandbox security model: “we are working closely with Apple to achieve this”, the announcement notes.

Marks also notes that “you can develop apps on your machine without having the runtime or framework installed on your machine”.

For Mac, the minimum requirement is OS X 10.10.3 (Yosemite) or above running on a 2010 or later machine with Intel support for memory management unit (MMU) like extended page tables. Windows users need a recent Windows 10 Pro and Hyper-V.

The beta currently requires registration here. ®

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