So you want containers without docker? Well here's a systemd project for you! Create a fileystem tree on your machine, and run systemd-nspawn against it, instant container.

getting fs tree

So where do you get a fileystem tree from? Your distro of choice usually has a tool to create one, eg debootstrap for debian or pacstap for arch linux.

The manual also says it accepts OCI bundles, but as far as I can tell, nothing except oci-image-tool will create one of the correct format. You can of course, docker export a running container, untar it, then runc spec to create the config.json, but that's so much hassle, and nspawn only accepts a spec version of exactly 1.0.0.


If you use go with containers, you may be familiar with scratch containers, well it's sort of possible to do the same, except creating the usr/bin dir is mandatory (some sort of sanity check), and nspawn doesn't setup networking for you, so you'll have to interract with netlink to: set the link host0 up and assign it an IP address. Hope you know how to speak DHCPv4 to get the correct address (or cheat and type in a routable address in STDIN).