docker on dragonfly

Predrag Punosevac punosevac72 at
Wed Nov 4 16:20:52 PST 2020

On Wed, Nov 04, 2020 at 04:40:20PM +0200, Tiran Efrat wrote:
> thanks for the replies.
> Still, it's not clear to me whether there's a container solution
> i assume you'd mention if there was.). What about VM solution?
> thanks,
> Tiran.

Let's firstly clarify what we are talking about and then let's look at
the problem you are trying to solve by installing Docker.

A "container" is just a term people use to describe a combination of
Linux namespaces and cgroups. First off, "Docker" is really a misnomer.
Nowadays Linux world has a whole bunch of container tools: moby (former
Docker), podman, kata containers, cri-o etc. Not all of them are equal,
some of them are complete user ecosystems, and some are just "bare"
runtimes. There was a tool named "Docker" once with that name and the
name really stuck, so people call things "Docker" left and right.

Second, there is no such thing as "Linux containers" per se. There are 2
kernel mechanisms: namespaces (allow isolating a process from a the rest
of the system, like network namespace, user namespace, pid namespace
etc) and cgroups (allow limit resource usage, like cpu, ram, bandwitdh).
Combing various combinations of namespaces and cgroups you get
"containers". On a low level tools like Docker et al do is manipulate
namespaces and cgroups.

The design of namespaces is really the opposite to the well known
implementations of operating system-level virtualization technologies
like FreeBSD/DragonFly Jails and Solaris Zones. For example with jails
you start with a completely isolated environment and then you can add
different capabilities if necessary. With namespaces you start with
non-isolated process (process that shares namespaces with rest of the
system) and you unshare namespaces one by one.

It does not mean that namespaces are less secure than Jails, it is a
different design, more involved, probably harder to get right, but also
more flexible.

Before Docker it was very hard to use namespaces and cgroups for a
regular Linux user. There was no one "Jail" command. There were only
some system calls and scattered docs.(Well there was LXC, but not the
point) What Docker did(and was first to do it) is provided a very
convenient and pretty complete ecosystem to manage namespaces and
cgroups, including features like:

- scripting container creation (aka Dockerfile) and sharing it as code
- sharing compiled images
- Dockerhub is a centralized location for sharing images( it is just
glorified file server that hosts a lot of tar.gz plus some indexing )
- sharing/re-using images ( FROM clause in Dockerfile )
- nice CLI tool to manage containers and images

And it hid deeply notion of namespaces and cgroups, so regular Joes were
able to use it without learning what kernel mechanisms make it possible.
Writing a dockerfile is not very different from writing a shell script
really. It helped widespread adoption of the tool, but with this also
created a lot of misconceptions too.

One can argue that "Docker" is too bloated and is not really secure.
Yes, it is partially true:

- it makes some choices about how namespaces and cgroups are used, maybe
not the way YOU want.

- It is also a pretty big codebase in Go, that YOU did not audit and
which is not really necessary if you want to manage things manually and
customize to you needs.

- Yes, re-using images from the Internet also introduces lots of risks.

- And yes, big army of regular Joes who don't know how the tool works
allows misuse, miscofiguration etc.

Now let's see what problem were you trying to solve by using the Docker?
Ah, you were trying to install complicated suite without really
understanding how all pipes fit together. Bad idea! Or are you trying to
run software requiring specific Ubuntu libraries on DragonFly BSD or
even on on Red Hat? Guess what? Your Docker image had to be build of the
Red Hat image or even better starting with Alpine Linux image which uses
musl instead of glibc. No, those Ubuntu libraries will never run on Red
Hat let alone on DragonFly BSD.


More information about the Users mailing list