Your desktop containerd


Here is a rather short overview of the tools I worked with to run containers on my desctop M1 mac. My usage pattern is rather simple: I never run some long workloads, thus containers are used to run some POC or testing configuration (e.g.: Need to check something using Postgres or Redis, run some specific Linux version etc). So my requrierments can have lot differences with other's requiremnets. The most important for me is easiness to configure and run something ad-hoc, preferably able to use compose. So I excluded any kind of k8s deployments from this note.

Docker desktop

Since the Docker updated their subscriptions policy I looked into the docker desktop alternatives. The aim was to get the laziest possible way to get containers running on my desktop, preferably using containerd.


I tried Rancher – overall it is a great tool to manage your containers with feature rich GUI and possibility to use both docker and nerdctl CLIs. It has also k8s onboard, that is greate feature to have. The main concern for me – I found it a bit heavy with rather long starting time (minutes). So I started looking to something more lightweight and CLI-based, as I hate GUIs in general :)


The next thing in my list was using the Lima. And it was almost 100% match – the tool utilizing KISS approach, that is my favourite. However, I can tell that it Lima has some configuration and finally you should spend some amount of time to let that work. But I have used it quite a long time, as it closed most gaps for me – being configured once.


So how did I came to Colima, if Lima was nearly perfect for my needs? Well, it's quite easy: I changed my laptop to a new one, and didn't install any container managemet software – simply I didn't need it that time. During transfer I didn't pay attention on Lima configuration, so happened what happened: I found my self in a hurry to check something, requiring containers. I was very limited in time, so Lima configuration was not in picture anymore. I almost installed Rancher, but then I found Colima. And magic just happened:

brew install colima
colima nerdctl install
colima start

Wow! Pretty easy. For sure then I wanted to configure my environment, but it could wait on that step. In case if you want to set some default things, here you go:

colima template

Some rather simple options and you are done. For me Colima is just perfect for now.