Colima, Dojo and the end of Docker Desktop

We wrote this post because of the recent update to the Docker Desktop licensing. Dojo, a CLI tool that we wrote, uses Docker and Docker-Compose. As many organisations are moving away from Docker Desktop, we’d like to help you continue using Dojo while staying compliant with the licenses. The proposed solution focuses on Colima.

Are licence updates applicable to you?

First, if you use Docker on Linux, this situation does not concern you (see: source). Although, it might be useful to know that there are plans to build Docker Desktop for Linux. More details available at https://www.docker.com/blog. However, if you use Mac or Windows, it’s possible that you’re using Docker Desktop.

Second, the official Docker Desktop website informs that

It remains free for small businesses (fewer than 250 employees AND less than $10 million in annual revenue), personal use, education, and non-commercial open source projects

So, if your type of usage falls into the above range, it’s possible that you can continue to use Docker Desktop.

What is Docker Desktop?

This paragraph from Docker Docs summarises it best what Docker Desktop is:

Docker Desktop is an easy-to-install application for your Mac or Windows environment that enables you to build and share containerized applications and microservices. Docker Desktop includes Docker Engine, Docker CLI client, Docker Compose, Docker Content Trust, Kubernetes, and Credential Helper.

Under the hood, Docker Desktop runs a virtual machine with linux which has docker engine running in it. Then your local network and storage stack are shared with the guest machine to give a “local” docker engine feel.

How to handle this situation?

There are several options to handle this situation:

  • you or your company may have invested in a paid subscription or have a license agreement to continue using Docker Desktop
  • you may consider using Docker Desktop alternatives

We are not recommending one option over another. However, to make Dojo usable by more people and to cover more use cases, we’re describing here how you can use Dojo with Docker Desktop alternatives.

Docker Desktop alternatives

You may want to investigate Considerations for Evaluating Docker Desktop Alternatives. One of them would be to decide which Docker Desktop features you really need. For Dojo use cases we care about are:

  • Docker Engine
  • Docker Client
  • Docker-Compose

There are several alternatives for Docker Desktop, such as:

  • Podman
  • minikube
  • containerd
  • Lima
  • Colima (Colima uses Lima)

Dojo + Colima

Colima is an opensource project available on GitHub, described as:

Container runtimes on macOS (and Linux) with minimal setup.

If all you’re doing is running Docker CLI on your desktop and occasionally mount a volume, then Colima is sufficient for your needs. It is also enough to work with Dojo.

Please use Dojo 0.10.5, as it fixes a small bug that occurs when using Colima and docker-compose.

Set up for Mac OS

  1. Uninstall Docker Desktop. You can follow the official instructions or just delete it via Finder in Applications
  2. Install Docker Client

    • You can just run:
    brew install docker

    Beware, running brew install --cask docker would install Docker Desktop (source)

    • Verify that Docker is installed
    $ docker version
    Client: Docker Engine - Community
     Version:           20.10.12
     API version:       1.41
     Go version:        go1.17.5
     Git commit:        e91ed5707e
     Built:             Sun Dec 12 06:28:24 2021
     OS/Arch:           darwin/amd64
     Context:           default
     Experimental:      true
    Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at unix:///var/run/docker.sock. Is the docker daemon running?
  3. Install Docker-Compose

    • You can just run:
    brew install docker-compose
    $ docker-compose version
    Docker Compose version 2.2.3
  4. Install Colima

    • Please install version which is at least 0.3.2. You can do it with brew or using other methods. The following will also install the Colima dependencies such as lima.
    brew install colima
    • Verify that Colima is installed
    $ colima version
    colima version v0.3.2
  5. Start Colima

    • if you had a previous Colima version installed, please run
    colima delete
    colima start
    • otherwise, just run
    colima start
  6. Verify that you can use Docker containers, e.g. by

    docker run -ti alpine:3.15 sh

This setup should be enough to use Dojo with Colima. You may want to visit Colima readme if you need more power allocated to the VM created by Colima.

Troubleshooting

I’m using Colima (instead of Docker Desktop) and Docker can’t find ~/.colima/docker.sock

This might have happened due to upgrading Colima. Running the following commands might help you out:

colima delete
colima start

I’m using Colima and I get this error: ‘“docker-credential-desktop”: executable file not found in $PATH’

There might be some debris from the previous installation of Docker Desktop. One trick that can help is opening up the `~/.docker/config.json and getting rid of the line that says:

"credsStore": ...
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