Docker quickstart for people who like Linux

If anyone out there likes Linux but hasn’t tried Docker yet, it’s a lot of fun.

A few quick examples:

Type this to run Alpine Linux (< 6 MB):

$ docker container run -it --rm alpine sh

You can install packages in Alpine like this: apk add vim.

You can also use Docker to run software that isn’t on your computer, like trying Python 3.8 without installing it (112 MB image):

$ docker container run -it --rm python:3.8-alpine sh

Docker Hub contains information about each of the Docker images.

Look for the tags section that looks like this:

Then append the tag to the image name (in this case python). So to run a release candidate for Python 3.9 on Debian 10 (Buster), use this command:

$ docker container run -it --rm python:3.9-rc-buster bash

(Alpine Linux doesn’t come with bash, so the command to run there is sh. Debian comes with bash, so you can run bash.)

It’s worth going through their tutorials, but here’s a quick breakdown of a command to run a disposable container:

$ docker container run -it --rm python:3.9-rc-buster bash
Segment Meaning
docker the program
container this is for container-related functionality
run run a container
-it use this for interactive mode
--rm remove the container when it stops
python the name of the image to use
:3.9-rc-buster the tag (version) of the image to use
bash the command to run when the container starts

If you want to mount your current directory inside of the Docker container, use the -v (for “volume”) flag. This mounts your local code at /app inside of a Python 3.9, Debian 10 container:

$ docker container run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/app python:3.9-rc-buster bash

For more learning resources, check out the official getting started guide, and this page (logging in to the forum might be required).


I would like to learn more about Linux - (working on a Mac) which route would you recommend?

1 Like

Docker is an easy way to run Linux and experiment with it. VirtualBox is another way to run it, if you want a GUI desktop.

1 Like