10 Best Docker Desktop Alternatives in 2023

A Docker Desktop Alternative is vital in software containerization and container management.

Containerizations involve the processes of packing software applications into a single image. The containers allow an application to work in a predefined way despite its environment.

The Docker Desktop was once a free platform that most developers preferred. However, as of 31st January 2022, the platform requires commercial users to get licenses.

The lack of free use and misconceptions of the platform’s technology ensures that many seek an alternative.

Some alternatives include Minikube, Podman, Rancher Desktop, Buildah, Kaniko, Drive, Colima, microk8s, OpenVZ, and VirtualBox.

What Is Docker Desktop?

Docker Desktop is software that enables users to share and create containerized applications. It is an excellent virtual machine that utilizes OS Kernel for each application.

The OS Kernel ensures increased efficiency in running several applications.

What To Look For In A Docker Desktop Alternative?

There are several reasons one may look for an alternative to Docker Desktop. For instance, free software may come in handy if you want to avoid paying enterprises’ licensing costs.

Below you will find a list of factors to look into when searching for an alternative for the application:

  • The total cost of ownership
  • Ease of use and onboarding
  • Maintenance and setup processes
  • Security

Best Docker Desktop Alternative: 10 Top Recommendations

1. Minikube

Minikube is an excellent drop-in alternative if you run Docker and Kubernetes. It runs on Linux, Windows, and macOS.

The application has a simple, open-source architecture but does not have GUI.

It is an excellent solution for teams that build a one-click solution tailored to the developer’s teams. 

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2. Podman

Podman is an alternative to Docket Desktop for mac. Like Minikube, the platform is open source. It allows you to deploy, manage, and create containers on Linux systems.

In addition, it does not require you to have root privileges to use any container.

3. Rancher Desktop

Like Minikube, Rancher Desktop is an open-source application for Linux, Windows, and Mac. One of its primary benefits is that it is free.

Rancher Desktop simplifies running, pulling, pushing, and building container images.

The platform is easy to use and has an in-built GUI.

4. Buildah

Buildah is an excellent alternative for image building. You can use it alongside Podman, where Podman acts as a subset of the platform’s functionality to execute the build subcommand.

Buildah runs effectively on Linux but cannot work on macOS or Windows.

5. Kaniko

Kaniko is responsible for developing container images in a Kubernetes cluster or container. Like Buildah, the platform does not need a daemon.

It does not depend on Docker; you can use Dockerfiles only to build images.

The primary difference between Kaniko and Docker is that Kaniko focuses on Kubernetes workflows.

6. Drive

Drive is another alternative for Docker Desktop for optimizing, analyzing, and inspecting container images.

The platform’s excellent CI integration offers to fail or pass results from the efficiency of images and wasted space amount. 

7. Colima

Colima is an excellent alternative for those who want to be on the cutting edge.

It runs on macOS and Linux that uses Lima to create a docker environment in your virtual machine. Colima has a UX that is the same as the one in Minikube.

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8. Microk8s

Like Docker Docket, Microk8s is open source. It is also similar to Minikube and runs effectively on Ubuntu.

In Windows and macOS, you will need a Multipass to use it. If you are on Ubuntu, the Microk8s is an excellent alternative. 

9. OpenVZ

OpenVZ provides similar features as Docker. It has containerization technology and allows you to develop an isolated environment for hosting virtual servers.

OpenVZ has a network file system that enables you to access network disks in virtual servers.

10. VirtualBox

One of the best merits of VirtualBox is that you can use it on any platform. It has the same functionalities and features as Docker.

The platform is also very secure as it does not need Operating System Kernel sharing.

Conclusion

Even though Docker Desktop is an excellent platform, it is always good to know of some of the best alternatives that exist in the market.

The above includes a recommendation of the top ten alternatives.

Each alternative above provides unique functions of container management and containerization.