• MacOS Sierra 10.12.6
  • Docker version 17.09.0-ce, build afdb6d4
  • Ubuntu 16.04
  • XQuartz 2.7.9

I want to open Chromium browser from a docker container onto my Mac desktop.

docker run -i -t ubuntu:16.04 /bin/bash
apt-get update
apt-get install alsa-base chromium-browser xauth
adduser myuser


docker commit 2862a7bfcc2f  acme/mycontainer:0.1

Running chromium browser as myuser from container FAIL

docker run --user myuser -i -t acme/mycontainer:0.1 /usr/bin/chromium-browser
Failed to move to new namespace: PID namespaces supported, Network namespace supported, but failed: errno = Operation not permitted

I bet there is a bit more to it

Any pointers?

UDPATE - using --privileged

Removes the error See thread on serverfault but the UI doesn't show up

docker run \
       --privileged \
       --user mysuer \
       -i -t acme/mycontainer:0.1 /usr/bin/chromium-browser

and this one

docker run \
   --privileged \
   --net host \
   -v /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix \
   -e XAUTHORITY=/.Xauthority \
   -v ~/.Xauthority:/.Xauthority:ro \
   --name chromium \
   --user mysuser \
   -i -t acme/mycontainer:0.1 /usr/bin/chromium-browser

Chromium doesn't show up

UPDATE 20171011

docker run \
   --privileged \
   --net host \
   -v /tmp/.X11-unix \
   -e DISPLAY \
   --name chromium \
   --user myuser \
   -i -t acme/mycontainer:0.1 \

Starting Chromium Gtk: cannot open display: [...] org.macosforge.xquartz:0 error

$ chromium-browser --verbose
[37:37:1011/154632.348303:VERBOSE1:breakpad_linux.cc(1978)] Breakpad disabled
[1:1:1011/154632.378280:VERBOSE1:zygote_main_linux.cc(537)] ZygoteMain: initializing 0 fork delegates
[1:1:1011/154632.378653:INFO:cpu_info.cc(50)] Available number of cores: 4
[37:37:1011/154632.381303:WARNING:browser_main_loop.cc(275)] Gtk: cannot open display: \

On my Mac edited sshd_config

sudo vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config
X11Forwarding yes
X11DisplayOffset 10
XAuthLocation /opt/X11/bin/xauth


$ env | grep DISPLAY

On disk

ls -al /private/tmp/com.apple.launchd.gCYQToI4lb/*
srw-rw-rw-  1 joel  wheel     0B Oct 11 17:50 
  • 1
    Did you get anywhere with this, @zabumba? Jul 8, 2019 at 15:53

2 Answers 2


Your need reminds me subuser. It has been design to run end-user application in a docker container in order to protect privacy and increase safety.

  • remember to upvote the question. see if someone else may be able to help. I like your pointer to subuser. that's interesting
    – zabumba
    Oct 18, 2017 at 13:36
  • subuser might be the "Qubes OS lite" that I've been looking for! Thanks!
    – Dave
    May 1, 2018 at 0:00

I don't have a Mac to experiment with, but here's some general suggestions:

X11 is usually protected with a key file which can only be read by the user who owns the display, thus using the filesystem permissions to assert that only other programs which can read that file are able to connect. The clients read that file and then repeat its contents to the server through the socket. So, I think you were on the right track with

-e XAUTHORITY=/.Xauthority \
-v ~/.Xauthority:/.Xauthority:ro \

Next, you show SSH X11 forwarding settings but no indication that you ssh into the docker container. SSH forwarding is normally used by:

ssh $HOST -X program-which-launches-gui

In order to do this you'd need to run an SSH server inside the docker container, which is a bit of effort...

Next, you show a DISPLAY=/path/to/socket which I've not used before. If this is a MacOS invention, then the dockerized Ubuntu might not understand that format.

Finally, you can see what chrome is actually attempting to do using the 'strace' command from inside the docker container.

strace chromium-browser 2>&1 | egrep "open|stat|connect|bind"

That might help you narrow down which specific operations fail right before it gives up.

  • I'll give you the bounty because of the good pointers, but I haven't resolved the issue. I will create another bounty to see if someone else can help. Eventually provide with a Dockerfile. thx
    – zabumba
    Oct 19, 2017 at 13:22

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