Is there a way for users without root access to run a docker container?

To be clear, I am not asking if I can create a user in the container that runs as non-root. Rather, I need to know if and how a user, with absolutely no root or root-like privileges, can run a docker container in the first place.

I'm exploring some ways of distributing hard-to-build research/academic software, and docker has been suggested several times. A major concern for me, is that merely running docker containers requires root privileges, which could pose an issue for some users.

I have done at least an hours worth of google-fu-ing:

  • These sources (1, 2, 3) talk about creating containerized users who do not have root privilege, but I don't believe this allows a non-root user to run containers.

  • These sources (4, 5) talk about the docker group, but note that the docker group is root equivalent. This impresses me as being extraordinarily dangerous, not to mention pointless, and would never be allowed by our administrators for legal reasons.

  • This sources (6) talk about name-spacing, but I am not experienced enough in docker to know if this is what I am looking for.


The Red Hat peeps are working with cri-o to run Linux containers without using Docker.



Have you looked into bubblewrap?


The Red Hat peeps are working with cri-o to run Linux without Docker.

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