Installing Extra Packages on Boot2docker

Like a lot of other Mac users, I run boot2docker to run Docker on my laptop. Boot2docker is a tiny Linux VM that is usually run headless under Oracle’s VirtualBox. Boot2docker runs a relatively unknown Linux distribution called Tiny Core Linux. Tiny Core is pretty neat, but it’s not obvious how to install extra packages like you might easily do on other Linux distributions. Here’s how to install extra packages on your boot2docker instances.

The first step is to figure out whether the package you want is already been packaged. To do this check the Tiny Core Linux software repository page where there are currently a couple of hundred packages already made. I often need to copy files to and from a boot2docker instance and the easiest way to do that is using rsync, so this what I’ll show being installed.

The second step is to determine the name of the package binary from the repository web page and install it using the package install tool. Unlike larger Linux distributions, Tiny Core Linux does not have a searchable package database so you will need to figure out the package name. Just choosing $PACKAGENAME.tcz is going to be a good guess. The package name for rsync is rsync.tcz so let’s install that using tce-load:

docker@boot2docker:~$ tce-load -w -i rsync.tcz
Connecting to (
popt.tcz             100% |*******************************| 28672   0:00:00 ETA
popt.tcz: OK
Downloading: rsync.tcz
Connecting to (
rsync.tcz            100% |*******************************|   180k  0:00:00 ETA
rsync.tcz: OK

Finally, let’s test rsync has been installed:

docker@boot2docker:~$ rsync
rsync  version 3.0.0  protocol version 30
Copyright (C) 1996-2007 by Andrew Tridgell, Wayne Davison, and others.
Web site:
    64-bit files, 64-bit inums, 32-bit timestamps, 64-bit long ints,
    socketpairs, hardlinks, symlinks, IPv6, batchfiles, inplace,
    append, no ACLs, xattrs, iconv, no symtimes

Rsync has been successfully installed on your boot2docker instance.

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