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Using Docker

last updated: 2023-03-04

Quick links



Everybody is talking of Docker. As a new OpenHAB version (3) is out, and I have to update my home server. Docker should allow a painless migration because both systems (v2, v3) can run simultaneously. Here I try to document the important steps to get everything running.

A good starting point are the pages and for openHAB

Install Docker

Install Docker engine on Debian (bullseye)

After an update we download a script and execute it. The script will do all the hard work ;).

    sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
    curl -fsSL -o
    sudo sh    

Test if Docker is working:

    sudo docker run hello-world
Start and stop the Docker service

On Debian (raspios, Ubuntu), the Docker service starts on boot by default. With systemctl we can user the parameter status, stop and start (restart) to test and manipulate the service:

    sudo systemctl status docker
    sudo systemctl stop docker
    sudo systemctl start docker

If Docker does not start at boot we can use systemctl with the parameter enable.

    sudo systemctl enable docker
Upgrade Docker
    sudo apt upgrade
Uninstall Docker
    sudo apt purge docker-ce

To delete all the leftover images, containers, volumes, and other related data:

    sudo rm -rf /var/lib/docker

All the edited configuration files must be deleted manually.

Docker as a non-root user

If we want to run a container without sudo we get an error. This is because docker group is created but no users are added to it. So we need to use sudo or better we engage optional procedures for configuring Linux hosts to work better with Docker. These steps are explained here:

    sudo groupadd docker
    sudo usermod -aG docker $USER
    newgrp docker
    docker run hello-world

Docker commands

All docker commands must be used with sudo if we didn't add a user to the docker group!

List version:

    docker version

View container (and get names created by docker):

    docker ps -a

View images:

    docker images

Get a newer image (update e.g. ubuntu image):

    docker image pull ubuntu

Run a container (-i interactive, -t pseudo-terminal, --name name, -h host-name). We can specify a version with a colon. Best to give an own name for the container.

    docker run -it ubuntu`
    docker run -it ubuntu:18.10`
    docker run -it --name myubuntu -h ubuhost ubuntu:18.10`

With run there is always a new container, so use docker start with your container name to run the same container (without -t)!

    docker start -i myubuntu`

With exec start a second process (second terminal to run e.g. a command) of the same container. We can stop it with Q:

    docker exec -it myubuntu /usr/bin/top

Install Docker compose

Docker Compose is a tool for defining and running multi-container Docker applications. As we need more container (openHAB, influxDB, Grafana) we will use Docker compose to call our containers. Docker compose V2 is written in Golang (V1 (docker-compose) was a Python script and used a hyphen between docker and compose!) and uses a YAML text file to run the different container. More infos: and After configuring the YAML file Docker-compose allows to create and start all the services with a single command.

Install docker compose with the following command:

   sudo apt install docker-compose-plugin

Test the installation.

    docker compose version

Docker YAML files

Now let's have a look at the following YAML file from

# save as docker-compose.yml or openhab.yml
version: '3.8'

    image: "openhab/openhab:3.3.0" # stable 2022-11
    container_name: openhab
    restart: always
    network_mode: host
      - "/etc/localtime:/etc/localtime:ro"
      - "/etc/timezone:/etc/timezone:ro"
      - "./openhab/openhab_addons:/openhab/addons"
      - "./openhab/openhab_conf:/openhab/conf"
      - "./openhab/openhab_userdata:/openhab/userdata" 
      - /dev/ttyACM0:/dev/ttyACM0
      - /dev/ttyAMA0:/dev/ttyAMA0
      OPENHAB_HTTP_PORT: "9080"
      OPENHAB_HTTPS_PORT: "9443"
      EXTRA_JAVA_OPTS: "-Duser.timezone=Europe/Luxembourg"

We use the network of the host, because openHAB requires UPnP discovery. Unfortunately port mapping is incompatible with this network_mode. Because I use 2 versions of openHAB, I change the ports from 8xxx to 9xxx. The openHAB directories are created from docker-compose.

We save the file as text-only with the name openhab.yml and start it with the following command:

    docker compose -f openhab.yml up --remove-orphans -d

Without -f and the filename docker-compose searches for a file named docker-compose.yml in the current directory. The option -d stands for detached mode, meaning the container is running in the background (default = foreground).

To stop or (re)start the running container we use:

    docker compose -f openhab.yml stop
    docker compose -f openhab.yml start

Now you find openHAB on your Raspberry Pi by using the IP address and the port in a browser e.g.

oh welcome screen

If we want to add an MQTT server (mosquitto), we can add the following service to the yml file:

    image: eclipse-mosquitto:latest
    container_name: mosquitto
    restart: always
    network_mode: host
      - "${PWD}/mosquitto/conf:/mosquitto/config/"
      - "${PWD}/mosquitto/data/:/mosquitto/data/"
      - "${PWD}/mosquitto/log/:/mosquitto/log/"

In the /mosquitto/config/ folder we add a textfile named mosquitto.conf

    sudo nano mosquitto/conf/mosquitto.conf

with the following content.:

    # Listener
    listener 1883

    # Persitence
    persistence true
    persistence_location /mosquitto/data/

    # Logging
    log_dest file /mosquitto/log/mosquitto.log

    # Security
    #clientid_prefixes xxx
    #allow_anonymous false
    allow_anonymous truee

    # Default authentication and topic access control
    #password_file /home/pi/mosquitto/my_passfile

After rerunning the docker compose command we have a running MQTT server :).

Interesting links