Using Docker for quick actions
Docker can be very helpful for quick activities where you just want to accomplish some task and then not leave any “leftovers” when it completes.
A simple example of this might be where you want to use something available on Linux rather than install it on your host machine.
One challenge to note that is there is no direct Docker command to copy a file from the host to the container without building a new image.
This can be easily overcome using the Docker
Let’s say that you receive a file in
7zip archive format and need to extract the contents.
If you do not want to install a suitable unarchiver on your machine you could perform the following steps.
Note that each line starts with
container to indicate where the action is performed.
This assumes that you already have a working Docker environment.
You will need two shell terminals, one for the Docker container interaction and one for your host commands.
Start a stock image Ubuntu container and go directly into the shell
host: docker run -i -t ubuntu
Bring Ubuntu up to date (which should make it aware of the
p7zip package) and then install the package
container: # apt-get update container: # apt-get install p7zip
ps get the container id
host: docker ps
The container id will be a string that looks something like
There are a few methods to copy files from a host to a container that involve additional steps such as mounting disk volumes which can be more complicated if you are using a Mac and
A simpler way is to use the Docker
exec command as follows
host: cat archivefile.7z | docker exec -i CONTAINERID sh -c 'cat > /tmp/archivefile.7z'
Now from your container shell do the archive extract and next create a compatible archive format that you can read (such as a
tarball). Note that
p7zip will delete the archive file when it completes the unarchive.
container: # cd /tmp container: # p7zip -d archivefile.7z container: # tar cvf archivefile.tar *
Now copy the newly created archive file back to your host machine (which can use the Docker
host: docker cp CONTAINERID:/tmp/archivefile.tar .
The container can be exited
container: # exit
The new resulting
archivefile.tar can be found in your current directory.