Install docker without a package manager

07 Aug 2022

A few months back I went back to slackware and one of the things that I missed was docker. slackbuilds at that time was still on 14.2. Luckily, docker provides statically compiled binaries.

Getting docker

Head on over to docker's release page and choose the version that we want. At the time of writing docker-20.10.9.tgz was the latest.

$ cd ~/Downloads
$ wget


I have a ~/Programs folder, where I put things that I don't install with a package manager. So in there it went.

$ tar xvf docker-20.10.9.tgz
$ mv docker ~/Programs

The docker folder has the binaries we need.

$ cd ~/Programs/docker
$ ls
./   containerd*       containerd-shim-runc-v2*  docker*   docker-init*   runc*
../  containerd-shim*  ctr*                      dockerd*  docker-proxy*

Now we need to add these binaries to our shell's path. I'm using zsh, so my ~/.zshrc has something like

export PATH="${PATH}:$HOME/Programs/docker"

You can chuck that into your ~/.bashrc, if you're using bash.

Running docker

The docker daemon requires root privileges to run. So we need to invoke it with

$ sudo dockerd

But this will always ask for our password each time. A tiny edit to the sudoers file can sort that out

$ sudo visudo

That will open up the sudoers file in vi or nano based on root's $EDITOR variable. Go to the end of the file and add

john  ALL=NOPASSWD: /home/john/Programs/docker/dockerd

Substitute john with your username. Now running sudo dockerd from our terminal would launch the docker daemon. If we accidently close that terminal, dockerd would also die. Enter tmux.

Create a shell script called start-tmux in your ~/bin folder. I'm assuming ~/bin is in your $PATH. Put in this


tmux new-session -d -s docker 'sudo dockerd'

Make it executable with

$ chmod +x ~/bin/start-docker

Now we can run it with start-docker from our terminal. To attach to the docker session in tmux, run

$ tmux a -t docker

Here's a quick cheat-sheet on tmux if you're new to it. It is a brilliant tool to familiarize, if you're spending a lot of time on the terminal.

There's one more step left if our user wants to run the docker cli.

$ sudo groupadd docker
$ sudo usermod -aG docker $USER

This creates a group called docker and add then we add our user to it. Without this our user gets a permission denied error.

To test if everything went well, run

$ docker run hello-world

And we should see something like this.

Hello from Docker!
This message shows that your installation appears to be working correctly.

To generate this message, Docker took the following steps:
 1. The Docker client contacted the Docker daemon.
 2. The Docker daemon pulled the "hello-world" image from the Docker Hub.
 3. The Docker daemon created a new container from that image which runs the
    executable that produces the output you are currently reading.
 4. The Docker daemon streamed that output to the Docker client, which sent it
    to your terminal.

To try something more ambitious, you can run an Ubuntu container with:
 $ docker run -it ubuntu bash

Share images, automate workflows, and more with a free Docker ID:

For more examples and ideas, visit:


This is how I run docker and it may not be the best for most people. For example,

These could be remedied with shell scripts, but hey I'm running slackware :)

Happy Hacking & have a great day!