Install Docker Desktop and enable Kubernetes support

Image: Adobe Stock

Containerized applications will continue to grow in popularity year after year, meaning every developer and administrator should know how to deploy and manage these containers and services. To that end, several GUI tools have been developed and released to make the job significantly easier.

But not all those tools are created equal. To date, my absolute favorite Docker GUI is Portainer, but there are plenty of other options. One such application is the official Docker Desktop GUI which is available for Linux, macOS, and Windows. While Docker Desktop doesn’t give you nearly as many features and controls as it does in Portainer, it’s still a great GUI that lets you manage active containers, fetch and manage images, deploy image containers, create development environments, add Kubernetes support , and even extend the feature set with extensions.

I want to walk you through installing Docker Desktop on Pop!_OS Linux and show you how to enable and even extend Kubernetes support with Portainer.

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Install Docker Desktop

As I mentioned, Docker Desktop is available for Linux, macOS, and Windows. Installing both macOS and Windows is the same as installing an app on your desktop. If you’re not familiar with installing apps on Linux, let me show you how easy it is to install Docker Desktop on Pop!_OS Linux.

1. Download the DEB file and install:

The first thing to do is download the DEB file from the Docker Desktop download page. Once that file is downloaded, open a terminal window and issue the command (assuming you saved the file in your Downloads folder):

sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/docker-desktop-*.deb

If the installation error occurs, you can fix it with:

sudo apt-get install -f

2. Open and link to Docker Hub

Once the installation is complete, open Docker Desktop from your desktop menu. One of the first things you may want to do is link Docker Desktop to your Docker Hub account. To do that, click the Sign In button near the top right corner of the main window (Image A

Image A

View of Docker Desktop where you can add support for Portainer.
I’ve already added Portiner support to Docker Desktop for even more functionality.

Clicking sign in will open your default web browser, where you sign in to your Docker Hub account. After logging in, you will be taken back to the application and you are ready to go.

Enable Kubernetes support

By enabling Kubernetes support, Docker Desktop installs a single node cluster. To do this, click the gear icon in the top right corner of the main Docker Desktop window, then in the left navigation (Figure B), click on Kubernetes.

Figure B

Expand the feature set in the settings window.
The Docker Desktop Settings window is ready to extend the feature set.

In the resulting window (Figure C), click Enable Kubernetes.
Figure C

Enable Kubernetes support in Docker desktop.
Enable Kubernetes support in Docker Desktop.

This will take some time as Docker Desktop needs to download some components. Once it’s done, Kubernetes will launch and you should see the icon (bottom left corner) turn green. Kubernetes is enabled.

Extend Docker Desktop with extensions

Next, let’s add the Portiner extension, which greatly enhances the Docker Desktop feature set. To do that, click the menu icon associated with Extensions and then click Marketplace. In the right pane, scroll down until you see the Portaine entry and then click Install (Figure D

Figure D

Docker desktop view with button to install porttainer extension
Install the Portiner extension in Docker Desktop.

Once installed, click on the Portainer entry in the left pane to display the Environment Wizard (Figure E† You can then add an environment (which tells me that this version of Portainer is a bit outdated as the newer versions come with a pre-configured local environment).

Figure E

Final rendering of Docker Desktop with Portainer GUI installed.
Portainer is installed and ready for you to set up the first environment.

And that, my friends, is all there is to installing and extending Docker Desktop to meet and exceed your container management needs.

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