Running GUI application On the Docker

3 min readMay 31, 2021


We can’t run a GUI application on top of docker container by default. Because container does not have xserver which is required to run a GUI application on linux.

So here we will see how we can launch a GUI container on top of docker.

What is Xserver ?

An X server is a program in the X Window System that runs on local machines (i.e., the computers used directly by users) and handles all access to the graphics cards, display screens and input devices (typically a keyboard and mouse) on those computers.

Steps to launch a gui container on docker

1) Start the docker service as:-

systemctl start docker

2) Now pull a Docker image from Docker hub as:-

docker pull centos:latest

3) Now launch a docker container as:-

docker run -it --env= “Display” --name gui_os --net=host — volume = “$HOME/.Xauthority:/root/.Xauthority:rw” centos:latest


  1. --env= “DISPLAY” will share the docker host’s DISPLAY environment variable to the docker container.

2. — volume = “$HOME/.Xauthority:/root/.Xauthority:rw” will share the docker host’s Xserver with the docker container by creating a volume.

3. --net=host will run the docker container with host network.

4) Now we will install the GUI application in the container. In our case we will install firefox as:-

yum install firefox -y

Now launch the firefox as :-


It will launch the GUI application (firefox) for us.

Now, we will launch another GUI application jupyter--notebook.

For this we have to first install the python and jupyter inside our container as :-

yum install python3 -y

pip3 install jupyter

Now we will launch jupyter as: —

jupyter notebook --allow-root

It will launch jupyter notebook for us.

Now our task is done. Thankyou