Install on Linux

Docker Desktop terms

Commercial use of Docker Desktop in larger enterprises (more than 250 employees OR more than $10 million USD in annual revenue) requires a paid subscription.

Important

Docker Desktop on Linux runs a Virtual Machine (VM) so creates and uses a custom docker context desktop-linux on startup.

This means images and containers deployed on the Linux Docker Engine (before installation) are not available in Docker Desktop for Linux.

For more information see What is the difference between Docker Desktop for Linux and Docker Engine.

This page contains information about general system requirements, supported platforms, and instructions on how to install Docker Desktop for Linux.

System requirements

To install Docker Desktop successfully, your Linux host must meet the following general requirements:

  • 64-bit kernel and CPU support for virtualization.
  • KVM virtualization support. Follow the KVM virtualization support instructions to check if the KVM kernel modules are enabled and how to provide access to the kvm device.
  • QEMU must be version 5.2 or newer. We recommend upgrading to the latest version.
  • systemd init system.
  • Gnome, KDE, or MATE Desktop environment.
    • For many Linux distros, the Gnome environment does not support tray icons. To add support for tray icons, you need to install a Gnome extension. For example, AppIndicator.
  • At least 4 GB of RAM.
  • Enable configuring ID mapping in user namespaces, see File sharing.

Docker Desktop for Linux runs a Virtual Machine (VM). For more information on why, see Why Docker Desktop for Linux runs a VM.

Note:

Docker does not provide support for running Docker Desktop in nested virtualization scenarios. We recommend that you run Docker Desktop for Linux natively on supported distributions.

Supported platforms

Docker provides .deb and .rpm packages from the following Linux distributions and architectures:

Platform x86_64 / amd64
Ubuntu yes
Debian yes
Fedora yes

Note:

An experimental package is available for Arch-based distributions. Docker has not tested or verified the installation.

Docker supports Docker Desktop on the current LTS release of the aforementioned distributions and the most recent version. As new versions are made available, Docker stops supporting the oldest version and supports the newest version.

KVM virtualization support

Docker Desktop runs a VM that requires KVM support.

The kvm module should load automatically if the host has virtualization support. To load the module manually, run:

$ modprobe kvm

Depending on the processor of the host machine, the corresponding module must be loaded:

$ modprobe kvm_intel  # Intel processors

$ modprobe kvm_amd    # AMD processors

If the above commands fail, you can view the diagnostics by running:

$ kvm-ok

To check if the KVM modules are enabled, run:

$ lsmod | grep kvm
kvm_amd               167936  0
ccp                   126976  1 kvm_amd
kvm                  1089536  1 kvm_amd
irqbypass              16384  1 kvm

Set up KVM device user permissions

To check ownership of /dev/kvm, run :

$ ls -al /dev/kvm

Add your user to the kvm group in order to access the kvm device:

$ sudo usermod -aG kvm $USER

Log out and log back in so that your group membership is re-evaluated.

Generic installation steps

Important

Make sure you meet the system requirements outlined earlier and follow the distro-specific prerequisites.

  1. Download the correct package for your Linux distribution and install it with the corresponding package manager.
  2. Open your Applications menu in Gnome/KDE Desktop and search for Docker Desktop.

    Docker app in Applications

  3. Select Docker Desktop to start Docker.
    The Docker menu (whale menu) displays the Docker Subscription Service Agreement window.

  4. Select Accept to continue. Docker Desktop starts after you accept the terms.

    Important

    If you do not agree to the terms, the Docker Desktop application will close and you can no longer run Docker Desktop on your machine. You can choose to accept the terms at a later date by opening Docker Desktop.

    For more information, see Docker Desktop Subscription Service Agreement. We recommend that you also read the FAQs.

Where to go next

  • Troubleshooting describes common problems, workarounds, how to run and submit diagnostics, and submit issues.
  • FAQs provide answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Release notes lists component updates, new features, and improvements associated with Docker Desktop releases.
  • Get started with Docker provides a general Docker tutorial.
  • Back up and restore data provides instructions on backing up and restoring data related to Docker.