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How to ship Windows machine with Docker

I’ve got an application where I want to ship a computer as part of a product and have Docker preinstalled on it. If I were using Linux, I think the Apache licenses would allow this. With Windows, I’m using Docker Desktop that specifically restricts “distribute, license, sublicense, lease, rent, loan, or otherwise transfer the Licensed Software to any third party”. I take that to mean that I can’t preinstall Docker Desktop on the Windows machine for customer use, as I would like to do. Have any of you found a workable solution to something like this?

Some ideas I had:

  • _ Try to figure out how to run Docker on Windows without Docker Desktop. While this seems possible, I have never done this on Windows.
  • _ Find a license that allows this. Docker Desktop EE might, but I can’t find any clear info about distribution in EE. Is Docker Desktop EE even a thing, after Mirantis bought EE?
    *_ Have the customer install Docker Desktop. This isn’t great, but technically appears possible.

I found this similar topic, but it had no answers:`

You already knew what to do technically but legality.
However, the only one who has any say in this is the company itself; they don’t monitor the forum though.

Your first option is to try to contact the company (and optionally keep us update here).
If that doesn’t work, only lawyers can advise you because they are the ones who can defend you if an issue arises. And AFAIA, lawyers are not monitoring this forum too.

Aside, but maybe important: note that for free accounts Docker Desktop no longer allows one to skip updates. So, installing Desktop before shipping the Windows machine is not going to give the user a maintenance free experience.

As for Docker EE Windows, indeed no longer supported by Docker Inc and meanwhile rebranded to Mirantis Container Runtime: in December 2020 I’ve been told by Mirantis that this only runs Windows containers. If that is true and suffices, then maybe you can automate installation.

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Appreciate the response. I did contact Docker through their contact form on the website. Nearly two weeks in and no response. I will update here if I get a response.

Legal isn’t really a help to me. They perform more of a “Look at the licenses and tell you what the risk / problem is here”, rather than a “let me tell you have to solve the problem” role, as they don’t have any Docker experience (licensing or otherwise). I certainly have them in the loop in this investigation :slight_smile:

The only path forward I can find is to go to WSL2 / Linux and run Docker there. It’s bizarre that Docker won’t answer their own Sales email line for inquiries to license their product. The WSL2 route is quite a bummer, as it require getting a different group involved that is the keeper of the golden Windows image, as the current golden image is too old for WSL2.