How to install Docker on Chrome OS

Jack Wallen shows you how to install Docker on your Chromebook so you can start building containers on the go.

Portland, OR, USA - February 4, 2021: Close up of the Google Chrome logo seen on a Samsung Chromebook 500c isolated on white.
Image: Tada Images/Adobe Stock

Chromebooks are great mobile devices because they’re easy to use, secure, and fast. For those reasons, Chromebooks could be great development devices. And if Docker is your development environment of choice, you’re in luck. Thanks to Linux, it’s possible to install Docker on ChromeOS so you can work your container development magic on the go with ease.

I’ll show you how to install Docker on ChromeOS, a task you should be able to complete in a few minutes.

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What you’ll need to install Docker

To install Docker, you’ll need a Chromebook with an up-to-date version of ChromeOS.

How to add Linux to your Chromebook

The first thing you need to do is enable Linux on your Chromebook. This is done by going to Settings | Advanced | Developers. There, you will find the Linux Development Environment listed.

Click Activate (Figure A) and follow the instructions on the screen. This process will take a few minutes to complete, but once it’s done, you’ll see a terminal window open, where you can start using Linux on your Chromebook.

Figure A

One-click Linux enablement on ChromeOS.

How to install Docker

From the now open Linux terminal window, update apt with the command:

sudo apt-get update

Once apt has been updated, install the required dependencies with the command:

sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https ca-certificates curl gnupg2 software-properties-common -y

With dependencies out of the way, download and install the official Docker GPG key with:

curl -fsSL | sudo apt-key add -

Add the required fingerprint:

sudo apt-key fingerprint 0EBFCD88

Add the official Docker repository with the command:

sudo add-apt-repository “deb [arch=amd64] $(lsb_release -cs) stable”

Update apt with the command:

sudo apt-get update

Finally, install Docker with:

sudo apt-get install docker-ce docker-ce-cli -y

Next, you need to add your user to the docker group with the command:

sudo usermod -aG docker $USER

Close the Linux terminal and sign out of your Chromebook. Log back in, open the Linux terminal app, and you should now be able to run the docker command without sudo, which would be a security risk.

How to test the container implementation

Test your new installation by running the Hello World container with the command:

docker run hello-world

You should be greeted by the text Hello World in the terminal window. Another example would be to deploy the NGINX container with the command:

docker run --name docker-nginx -p 8080:80 -d nginx

Test the implementation with the command:


You should see the text output of the NGINX welcome page, which includes the line “Thank you for using nginx”. You can also open the Chrome web browser on your Chromebook and point it to and see the splash screen in the browser (Figure B).

Figure B

Our NGINX container was successfully deployed on ChromeOS, thanks to Docker.

Congratulations, you can now develop with Docker on your Chromebook. At this point Docker should work as expected and you can build your containers and stacks as usual.

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