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Docker is a utility to pack, ship and run any application as a lightweight container.


  • Docker does not support i686 [1].
  • Docker needs the loop module on first usage. The following steps may be required before starting docker:
# tee /etc/modules-load.d/loop.conf <<< "loop"
# modprobe loop 

You may need to reboot before the module is available.

Install the docker package or, for the development version, the docker-gitAUR package. Next start and enable docker.service and verify operation:

# docker info

If you want to be able to run docker as a regular user, add yourself to the docker group.

Warning: Anyone added to the docker group is root equivalent. More information here and here.

Then re-login or to make your current user session aware of this new group, you can use:

$ newgrp docker


Storage driver

The docker storage driver (or graph driver) has huge impact on performance. Its job is to store layers of container images efficiently, that is when several images share a layer, only one layer uses disk space. The compatible option, `devicemapper` offers suboptimal performance, which is outright terrible on rotating disks. Additionally, `devicemappper` is not recommended in production.

As Arch linux ships new kernels, there is no point using the compatibility option. A good, modern choice is overlay2.

To see current storage driver, run # docker info | head, modern docker installation should already use overlay2 by default.

To set your own choice of storage driver, create a Drop-in snippet and use -s option to dockerd:

ExecStart=/usr/bin/dockerd -H fd:// -s overlay2

Recall that ExecStart= line is needed to drop inherited ExecStart.

Further information on options is available on the user guide.

Remote API

To open the Remote API to port 4243 manually, run:

# docker daemon -H tcp:// -H unix:///var/run/docker.sock

-H tcp:// part is for opening the Remote API.

-H unix:///var/run/docker.sock part for host machine access via terminal.

Remote API with systemd

To start the remote API with the docker daemon, create a Drop-in snippet with the following content:

ExecStart=/usr/bin/dockerd -H tcp:// -H unix:///var/run/docker.sock

Daemon socket configuration

The docker daemon listens to a Unix socket by default. To listen on a specified port instead, create a Drop-in snippet with the following content:



Proxy configuration is broken down into two. First is the host configuration of the Docker daemon, second is the configuration required for your container to see your proxy.

Proxy configuration

Create a Drop-in snippet with the following content:

Note: This assumes is your proxy server, do not use

Verify that the configuration has been loaded:

# systemctl show docker --property Environment

Container configuration

The settings in the docker.service file will not translate into containers. To achieve this you must set ENV variables in your Dockerfile thus:

 FROM base/archlinux
 ENV http_proxy=""
 ENV https_proxy=""

Docker provide detailed information on configuration via ENV within a Dockerfile.

Configuring DNS

By default, docker will make resolv.conf in the container match /etc/resolv.conf on the host machine, filtering out local addresses (e.g. If this yields an empty file, then Google DNS servers are used. If you are using a service like dnsmasq to provide name resolution, you may need to add an entry to the /etc/resolv.conf for docker's network interface so that it is not filtered out.

Running Docker with a manually-defined network

If you manually configure your network using systemd-network version 220 or higher, containers you start with Docker may be unable to access your network. Beginning with version 220, the forwarding setting for a given network (net.ipv4.conf.<interface>.forwarding) defaults to off. This setting prevents IP forwarding. It also conflicts with Docker which enables the net.ipv4.conf.all.forwarding setting within a container.

To work around this, edit the <interface>.network file in /etc/systemd/network/ on your Docker host add the following block:


This configuration allows IP forwarding from the container as expected.

Images location

By default, docker images are located at /var/lib/docker. They can be moved to other partitions. First, stop the docker.service.

If you have run the docker images, you need to make sure the images are unmounted totally. Once that is completed, you may move the images from /var/lib/docker to the target destination.

Then add a Drop-in snippet for the docker.service, adding the -g parameter to the ExecStart:

ExecStart=/usr/bin/dockerd -g /path/to/new/location/docker -H fd://

Docker 0.9.0 -- 1.2.x and LXC

Since version 0.9.0 Docker provides a new way to start containers without relying on a LXC library called libcontainer.

The lxc exec driver and the -lxc-conf option may also be removed in the near future [2], hence, you will not be able to use lxc-attach with containers managed by Docker 0.9.0+ by default. It is required to make docker daemon run with -e lxc as an argument.

Create Drop-in snippet for the docker.service with the following content:

ExecStart=/usr/bin/docker -d -e lxc


Arch Linux


The following command pulls the base/archlinux x86_64 image.

# docker pull base/archlinux


The default Arch Linux image in Docker Registry is for x86_64 only. i686 image must be built manually.

Build Image

Instead, check docker base/archlinux registry and click the link to download and mkimage-arch-pacman.conf to the same directory as raw files. Next, make the script executable and run it:

$ chmod +x
$ cp /etc/pacman.conf ./mkimage-arch-pacman.conf # or get a pacman.conf from somewhere else
$ ./
# docker run -t -i --rm archlinux /bin/bash  # try it

For slow network connections or CPU, the build timeout can be extended:

$ sed -i 's/timeout 60/timeout 120/'


Build Debian image with debootstrap:

# mkdir jessie-chroot
# debootstrap jessie ./jessie-chroot
# cd jessie-chroot
# tar cpf - . | docker import - debian
# docker run -t -i --rm debian /bin/bash

Arch Linux image with snapshot repository

Arch Linux on Docker can become problematic when multiple images are created and updated each having different package versions. To keep Docker containers with consistent package versions, a Docker image with a snapshot repository is available. This allows installing new packages from the official repository as it was on the day that the snapshot was created.

$ docker pull pritunl/archlinux:latest
$ docker run --rm -t -i pritunl/archlinux:latest /bin/bash

Alternatively, you could use Arch Linux Archive by freezing /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist


Clean Remove Docker + Images

In case you want to remove Docker entirely you can do this by following the steps below:

Note: Do not just copy paste those commands without making sure you know what you are doing.

Check for running containers:

# docker ps

List all containers running on the host for deletion:

# docker ps -a

Stop a running container:

# docker stop <CONTAINER ID>

Killing still running containers:

# docker kill <CONTAINER ID>

Delete all containers listed by ID:

# docker rm <CONTAINER ID>

List all Docker images:

# docker images

Delete all images by ID:

# docker rmi <IMAGE ID>

Delete all Docker data (purge directory):

# rm -R /var/lib/docker

Useful tips

To grab the IP address of a running container:

$ docker inspect --format '{{ .NetworkSettings.IPAddress }}' <container-name OR id>


Cannot start a container with systemd 232

Append systemd.legacy_systemd_cgroup_controller=yes as kernel parameter, see bug report for details.

Deleting Docker Images in a BTRFS Filesystem

Deleting docker images in a btrfs filesystem leaves the images in /var/lib/docker/btrfs/subvolumes/ with a size of 0. When you try to delete this you get a permission error.

 # docker rm bab4ff309870
 # rm -Rf /var/lib/docker/btrfs/subvolumes/*
 rm: cannot remove '/var/lib/docker/btrfs/subvolumes/85122f1472a76b7519ed0095637d8501f1d456787be1a87f2e9e02792c4200ab': Operation not permitted

This is caused by btrfs which created subvolumes for the docker images. So the correct command to delete them is:

 # btrfs subvolume delete /var/lib/docker/btrfs/subvolumes/85122f1472a76b7519ed0095637d8501f1d456787be1a87f2e9e02792c4200ab

docker0 Bridge gets no IP / no internet access in containers

Docker enables IP forwarding by itself, but by default systemd overrides the respective sysctl setting. The following disables this override (for all interfaces):

# cat > /etc/systemd/network/ <<EOF

# cat > /etc/sysctl.d/99-docker.conf <<EOF
net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1

# sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=1

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: Add a reference/bug-report link to the following note. (Discuss in Talk:Docker#)
Note: It has been observed that with systemd version 220 creating this file causes bridges used by Docker to lose their IP addresses. Running Docker with a manually-defined network, as described above, is known to work.

Finally restart the systemd-networkd and docker services.

Default number of allowed processes/threads too low

If you run into error messages like

# e.g. Java
java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: unable to create new native thread
# e.g. C, bash, ...
fork failed: Resource temporarily unavailable

then you might need to adjust the number of processes allowed by systemd. Default (see system.conf) is 500, which is pretty small for running several docker containers. You need to create a drop-in service file for this:

# mkdir /etc/systemd/system/docker.service.d
# cat > /etc/systemd/system/docker.service.d/tasks.conf <<EOF
# systemctl daemon-reload
# systemctl restart docker.service

Error initializing graphdriver: devmapper

If systemctl fails to start docker and provides an error:

 Error starting daemon: error initializing graphdriver: devmapper: Device docker-8:2-915035-pool is not a thin pool

Then, try the following steps to resolve the error. Stop the service, back up /var/lib/docker/ (if desired), remove the contents of /var/lib/docker/, and try to start the service. See the open GitHub issue for details.

See also