Can Docker containers run on any operating system?

Updated - 1 min read
There is three layers of sea waves. Bottom layer has Linux, Windows, Mac text. Middle layer has Linux Kernel text. Top layer has Docker moby logo.

No, Docker containers can't run on all operating systems directly, and there are reasons behind that. Let me explain in detail why Docker containers won't run on all operating systems.

Docker container engine was powered by the core Linux container library (LXC) during the initial releases. After some time, Docker replaced LXC and started to use Containerd, which is another container library which opened simple API to create and manage containers. Now, with Containerd in place, Docker doesn't need to do the heavy lifting with container features of Linux kernel.

The factor which powers the container technology is the Linux kernel. Here, the Docker container engine is entirely dependant on the container features of the Linux kernel, and that's the reason why Docker containers cannot run on Windows and Mac operating systems. The Unix kernel powers the Mac operating system, similarly the Windows kernel powers the Windows operating system.

In Mac and Windows operating systems, Docker has managed to provision containers on a micro Linux virtual machine. Many people don't know this fact, and so they believe Docker can run on all operating systems.

At SloopStash, we rely on Docker containers for running Dev environment of SloopEngine. On the Dev environment, we have successfully implemented the Multi-Pod architecture of SloopEngine with the power of Docker containers and Docker networks.

Hope it helps. Thank you.


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