I would like to use Docker (just creating containers/images and running them without using the Desktop app) to develop internal tooling (so nothing that will be sold but that will be used internally to streamline and improve internal activities)

Is this use of Docker included in the free licensing or not?

As I can't understand the various type of licensing

  • 1
    Have you read the FAQs? Which part of it is exactly unclear to you? Commented May 10, 2023 at 14:56
  • 4
    @Martin_in_AUT To be fair, the Docker FAQ is designed as much as possible to obscure the fact that the core Docker runtime is open source software and you never need to pay for it. Commented May 10, 2023 at 18:16
  • @PhilipKendall thanks, so I can just install via apt get install and I'm fine?
    – NicoCaldo
    Commented May 10, 2023 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


The core Docker runtime - for example, that available as the docker.io package in Debian - is open source software, available under (mostly) the Apache 2.0 license, although with some subsidiary bits under other open source licenses. On a Linux system, this is all you need to run Docker.

Docker Desktop - the "glue layer" which is required to run Docker natively on Windows and macOS - is proprietary software which you may need to pay for depending on your use case.

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