06 September 2019

What is Docker?

The easiest way of thinking about Docker is to think about it as a lightweight virtual machine (in case of running Docker on Windows or MacOS, it is actually the correct way of thinking). Docker gives you a separated running environment you can mess around with without ruining your OS.

How to install Docker?

Linux (Ubuntu based)

You can read the full guide [here] (https://docs.docker.com/install/linux/docker-ce/ubuntu/)

I highly recommend you to follow the Install using the repository instruction.

After installation, remember to do this


Follow this


Follow this

Please make sure that you read the System requirements carefully.

How to use Docker?

For this part, I assume that on my local machine, my work directory is ` /home/levn/workspace/ece650/ `

and I want to map it to ` /home/ece650 ` in my container.

Get the image for the course

docker pull levn/ece650base

Create a container (think about it as a virtual machine) using the downloaded image

docker run -dit -v /home/levn/workspace/ece650/:/home/ece650/ --name ECE650 levn/ece650base


  • docker run is the command to create a container
  • -dit is to detach the screen
  • -v is to map a folder on your machine with a folder inside the container (virtual machine). This is crucial because we want to edit files in our machine using our fancy IDE, and run the exact same files inside the container.
  • -name is to name the container so that we can access it later easily

Verify that the container (virtual machine) is created

docker ps

You should see somethings like

CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED             STATUS              PORTS               NAMES
1d76bdabed24        levn/ece650base     "/bin/bash"         8 minutes ago       Up 7 minutes                            ECE650

Use the container


docker exec -it ECE650 /bin/bash

You will see your prompt turn into something like


, indicating that you are now inside the container as root. Now you can go to the work directory

cd /home/ece650

and you can try to create an empty file.

touch hello.txt

Exit the container



Now in your local machine, you should see the prompt returns to normal, indicating that you are now out of the container.

You should also be able to find the file hello.txt in /home/levn/workspace/ece650 as well.