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Alternative to Docker Desktop – solutions to consider in 2022

date: 25 January 2022
reading time: 3 min

From February 2022 Docker is introducing a new subscription plan.

If you are using Docker Desktop for your software development work, now it’s time to consider whether to stick to it or change it for an alternative. Keen to know what such a change could mean for you and whether there are any good alternatives you should think of? Do read on!


Docker as a tool

Docker is a popular open-source tool that uses OS-level isolation for managing the process of containerisation of an app. Since its release in 2013, it has been used by developers all over the world to develop, share, and run applications. As it separates the applications that are being developed from the infrastructure, it allows delivering software quickly and easily.

As announced last year, 2022 brings changes into Docker’s subscription plans.

As of February, Docker Desktop becomes a payable service. While it will still be free for personal and non-business use, larger businesses will need to pay to be able to continue using it.

This is why we encourage you to read about an alternative to Docker Desktop that can do the job well and remain cost-effective.


An alternative to Docker Desktop – Docker Engine and WSL2

A good alternative to Docker Desktop is Docker Engine on WSL2. Docker Engine is one of the parts of the Docker Desktop system (it is software that hosts the containers), other parts being Docker CLI client, Docker Compose, Docker Content Trust,  Kubernetes, and Credential Helper. As stated on Docker’s website, Docker Engine works as a client-server application with:

  • a server with a long-running daemon process dockerd.

  • APIs which specify interfaces that programmes can use to talk to and instruct the Docker daemon.

  • a command line interface (CLI) client docker.

Docker Engine can be installed on WSL2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux) and does not require the actual Docker Desktop, so it is a great alternative, sufficient in the every-day work of software developers. It’s not a new solution –  many developers have been using it for some time now, especially if they wanted to avoid using the robust and sometimes time-consuming Docker Desktop system.


Here you can find and download step-by-step instructions on how to install Docker Engine on WSL2. It has been created by our software engineers. Here’s a sneak peek:


What’s important, all the changes in Docker’s subscription plans apply to Docker Desktop, meaning Docker Engine is unaffected and can be used without any extra costs.

If you are keen to discuss the solution you are using at the moment or if you are worried whether the change will not have too much of an impact on your software, get in touch with our team! We will be happy to explain the situation in more detail and speak about alternatives.

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