part 1 - what is a container and how do I use it

What is docker

Docker is a tool which makes managing containers much easier.

What is a container?

Think of it as a “very lightweight virtual machine”. Note, that unlike virtual machines a countainer should only have 1 application running inside.

Why should I use containers?

As you might notice, that’s a lot of environment in one paragraph. In docker they are actually called images, hence that’s what I’ll be calling them from now on.

How do I run containers?

The command is docker run, but the interesting parts flags you can use:

If anyone tells you that using --privileged flag solved their problem - IGNORE THEM, THEY ARE DOING A HORRIBLE THING.

aditionally, you can specify command to run inside the container as an argument. This will override CMD field form docker image.

Example command:

$ docker run --rm -it ubuntu bash
[email protected]:/# id
uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)

It creates a simple temporary ubuntu container that auto-removes after.

Listing running containers

docker ps - lists running containers docker ps -a - lists all containers (even stopped ones)

Stopping container

docker stop b3d55964e6da

Interacting with running container

docker exec is a similar command to docker run, but it performs action on already running containers. Useful flags:


docker exec b3d55964e6da ps aux - lists processes inside container

docker exec -it b3d55964e6da bash - opens interactive shell inside container

Removing stopped container

docker rm b3d55964e6da

example usage of containers

$ ls -lha
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 39K Mar  6  2020 unknown-binary
$ docker run --rm -it -v $(pwd):/mnt ubuntu:latest bash
[email protected]:/# apt update && apt install -y gdb
[email protected]:/# cd /mnt
[email protected]:/mnt# gdb ./unknown-binary


There are plenty more commands, but they are quite easy and simple to figure out on your own. Have fun experimenting!