I'm creating two apps, master and slave, which communicate over d-bus. My apps work as expected when being run on the same host.
Now I want to move slave app to docker container and I'm having problem sharing d-bus session between host and container. Here's my Dockerfile:

FROM i386/ubuntu:16.04

VOLUME /run/user/1000/
ENV DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS=unix:path=/run/user/1000/bus

RUN apt-get update
RUN apt-get upgrade -y
RUN apt-get install -y dbus

#RUN apt-get install -y libnotify-bin
#RUN apt-get install -y dbus-x11

RUN adduser -u 1000 myuser

#COPY dbus.conf /etc/dbus-1/session.d/

USER 1000:1000
ENTRYPOINT ["dbus-daemon", "--session", "--print-address"]

/run/user/1000/bus is the value of my DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS variable.

And i create container with

 docker create --mount type=bind,source=/run/user/1000/bus,target=/run/user/1000/bus mycontainer

/run/user/1000/bus is visible from within the container but when the container is started it prints the address

and my apps cannot communicate.

If i add my dbus.conf to /etc/dbus-1/session.d/ in container and override

I get the message 'Failed to start message bus: Failed to bind socket "/run/user/1000/bus": Address already in use'

I'm not sure whether I'm even supposed to be starting dbus-daemon inside docker.
How can I make this work?

3 Answers 3


I've found a solution. Here's my Dockerfile:

FROM i386/ubuntu:16.04

RUN apt-get update
RUN apt-get upgrade -y
RUN apt-get install -y dbus

COPY dbus.conf /etc/dbus-1/session.d/

ENTRYPOINT ["dbus-run-session", "slaveApp"]

And my dbus.conf:

<!DOCTYPE busconfig PUBLIC "-//freedesktop//DTD D-Bus Bus Configuration 1.0//EN"


And set the address variable on host:

export DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS=tcp:host=${containerIp},port=6667,family=ipv4

In my master app I initiate a connection (I used Qt):

 QDBusConnection::connectToBus("tcp:host=${containerIp},port=6667", "qt_default_session_bus"); 

The master app can now send messages to slave app. I haven't tried to send messages from slave to master, though.

The answer is taken from this post: https://stackoverflow.com/a/45487266/6509266


I was able to get a containerised installation of Spotify to grab the host DBus with the following (on Ubuntu)

pkexec systemd-nspawn \
  --setenv=DISPLAY=unix$DISPLAY \
  --setenv=PULSE_SERVER=unix:/run/user/1000/pulse/native \
  --setenv=DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS=unix:path=/run/user/1000/bus \
  --bind-ro /tmp/.X11-unix \
  --bind /run/user/1000 \
  --bind-ro /run/user/1000/bus \
  --bind /dev/snd \
  -u spotify \
  -M spotify \

So it seems that the key here is to make sure you have bind-mounted the host DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS into the container and exported the same variable with the same value there. I have DBus installed on the container as well, but given that I am not booting the image but just running Spotify, I presume it is not required.


For me, I needed to merge the following into to the docker-compose.yml service that I wanted to give access to:

      - DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS=unix:path=/run/user/1000/bus
      - DISPLAY=:0

      - apparmor:unconfined

      - /run/user/1000/bus:/run/user/1000/bus
      - /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix

(I don't know whether the X11 bits were needed - the dbus session bus address and security_opt was the important bit)

I was doing this for libnotify - so I needed to make sure the libnotify-bin package was installed (or whatever gives you the notify-send command on your system)

Then do a docker-compose up and check whether notify-send hello works!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.