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Running Docker without Docker Desktop


  1. brew install colima (colima replaces the docker/dockerd binary)
  2. Install the right docker-compose binary for your chipset from the releases page
    • sudo curl -L -o /usr/local/bin/docker-compose for M1 Macs
    • chmod +x /usr/local/bin/docker-compose to let it execute

You should now be able to run docker-compose up as per normal but without needing Docker Desktop.


Although I am known for loving Docker (the containerization technology), I am also known for being a critic of Docker Desktop (the desktop UI client for Docker) for its poor performance:

Docker Desktop is Docker (the company)'s first wedge into getting you to run proprietary software, so Docker strongly guides you to download it as the only way to get started:

In fact, new users can go pretty far without even realizing that you don't need Docker Desktop to run the Docker daemon. I've asked multiple people how to do it and nobody had a good answer, or at least, nobody had an answer that worked on M1 Macs, until now.

For my 2022 New Mac Setup guide I resolved to figure it out once and for all, and what you see here is what I ended up with!

Top comments (6)

codercatdev profile image
Alex Patterson

Oh wow @swyx thanks! My machine will stop melting while playing around with appwrite now 😎

swyx profile image

haha my pleasure... do also try supabase! (im a little biased..)

jsn1nj4 profile image
Elliot Derhay • Edited

If you're on Linux, going to the site is pretty much the same experience now that Docker Desktop is out for Linux. Felt like I had to dig the other day to find instructions for installing via CLI.

Now that I'm seeing this post, it's making me want to figure out something similar for Windows since I still have to use it at work.

adamgordonbell profile image
Adam Gordon Bell

I've used lima, but not colima. What's the difference?

swyx profile image
swyx • Edited

no idea, i've never used lima

readme says "Colima means Containers in Lima."

raphaelnazirullah profile image
Raphael Nazirullah

I can't figure out what to do from the GitHub releases page. Can anyone guide plz on this step:

Install the right docker-compose binary for your chipset from the releases page