Docker (source: Google)

Run GUI Programs on Docker Container

Run a Docker Container that can run GUI (Graphical User Interface) Programs

  1. Launch a container on docker in GUI mode.
  2. Run any GUI software on the container


  1. Docker Installed on your system.
  2. Docker Host should be GUI based.

Note: I’m Using RedHat Enterprise Linux V8 in this practical.

What is Docker?

Docker is an open platform for developing, shipping, and running applications. Docker enables you to separate your applications from your infrastructure so you can deliver software quickly. With Docker, you can manage your infrastructure in the same ways you manage your applications. By taking advantage of Docker’s methodologies for shipping, testing, and deploying code quickly, you can significantly reduce the delay between writing code and running it in production. (source:

Docker provides the ability to package and run an application in a loosely isolated environment called a container. The isolation and security allow you to run many containers simultaneously on a given host. Containers are lightweight and contain everything needed to run the application, so you do not need to rely on what is currently installed on the host. You can easily share containers while you work, and be sure that everyone you share with gets the same container that works in the same way.

Developing with Docker

Developing apps today requires so much more than writing code. Multiple languages, frameworks, architectures, and discontinuous interfaces between tools for each lifecycle stage creates enormous complexity. Docker simplifies and accelerates your workflow, while giving developers the freedom to innovate with their choice of tools, application stacks, and deployment environments for each project.


Sometimes we need to run GUI programs in containers to debug or test the things but most of the people stuck there that how to run GUI programs in docker container.

So, Lets get Started

It is very easy to run GUI programs in docker container.

So, first we have to Launch a Container from some base image, here I’m using official ‘centos’ linux docker image. and while launching container give ‘environment’ variable ‘$DISPLAY’ to container and in ‘Volume’ of container mount the path of ‘x11’ server/display. Give a ‘name’ to your container and launch it.

docker run -it -e DISPLAY=$DISPLAY -v /tmp/.X11-unix/:/tmp/.X11-unix/ --name GUIcontainer centos

That’s all we need to do, Now we can Run any GUI program in this container.

Launch Docker Container form Centos Linux image

So, in this practical I’m gonna Run —

  1. Firefox (Web browser)
  2. Jupyter notebook (python IDE)
  3. Gedit (Text editor)

Run Firefox Web Browser

Firefox is a Graphical user interface program. For this program we need a graphical display to Run.

So, first we have to install Firefox’ browser in our launched container.

yum install firefox -y
Install Firefox browser

Now, Run firefox’ command to launch browser.

Run Firefox browser in container.

Run Jupyter Notebook

For launching ‘Jupyter notebook’ we need ‘python3’ interpreter/package to be installed in container. so, first install python package by running below command.

yum install python3 -y
Install python package.

Now, through ‘pip3’ command install ‘jupyterlab’ for jupyter notebook.

pip3 install jupyterlab
Install ‘jupyterlab’

Now after installing ‘jupyterlab’ Run ‘jupyter notebook’.

Here see carefully, we have to run ‘jupyter notebook’ with root privilege, by adding ‘--allow-root’ option in ‘jupyter notebook’ command.

jupyter notebook --allow-root
Run jupyter notebook

Here, we can see jupyter notebook is launched successfully. we can write our python code here and Run it very easily.

Jupyter notebook is a web app, this is why it launched in ‘Firefox’ browser, that’s why we need to install Firefox browser before running jupyter notebook.

Jupyter notebook launched successfully.

Launch Gedit (Text Editor)

Now install ‘gedit’ package in container. It is a GUI based Text editor.

yum install gedit -y
Install ‘gedit’ package in container.

After Installing gedit, run it, and write anything whatever you want to write.

Using gedit text editor is very easy.

####  gedit <text_file_name>  ####gedit docker
Run gedit

Write anything you want to write in this file and save it.

Here I have written a very simple python code.

Write something in file and save it.

If you have written some code then you can execute/run it.

Or if you have written something else then you can see that by using ‘cat’ command or by again opening gedit.

My python code is executed successfully.

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