[Rd] Docker versus Vagrant for reproducability - was: The case for freezing CRAN

Rainer M Krug Rainer at krugs.de
Mon Mar 24 09:45:12 CET 2014

Forgot: My Dockerfiloe is on github:


Rainer M Krug <Rainer at krugs.de> writes:

> Thanks everybody for their input - interesting suggestions and useful
> information - thanks.
> But I am still struggling to use this information. What I got so far:
> 1) I have decided to try docker [1]
> 2) Installed docker and boot2docker on a Mac via homebrew and it works
> 3) I found some Dockerfiles to create an image with R and ssh
> 4) The dockerfile runs and creates the image
> 5) I can interactively connect to the image by using bash and R is
> running there
> 5) As I am using emacs /  ess, I want to use ssh do R stuff (other
> suggestions welcome)
> Problems:
> 1) I don't manage to connect to the running docker image following [2] -
> I even managed to freeze my computer while trying.
> 2) Even if I could, I understand that the ssh port would be different each
> time - not very nice. Is there a way of setting the port?
> Questions:
> 1) Am I right in saying, that I have to use ssh to access the running
> image, or is there a (faster?) alternative? I mean - I am working
> locally and I don't need any encryption.
> 2) Would Vagrant make the process easier?
> And finally:
> I think it would be great if this information could be collected in a
> wiki page, as I did not find anything about the usage scenario of docker
> / vagrant discussed here - I will certainly see that I blog about my
> tries.
> Cheers,
> Rainer
> Kirill Müller <kirill.mueller at ivt.baug.ethz.ch> writes:
>> On 03/22/2014 02:10 PM, Nathaniel Smith wrote:
>>> On 22 Mar 2014 12:38, "Philippe GROSJEAN" <Philippe.GROSJEAN at umons.ac.be>
>>> wrote:
>>>> On 21 Mar 2014, at 20:21, Gábor Csárdi <csardi.gabor at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> In my opinion it is somewhat cumbersome to use this for everyday work,
>>>>> although good virtualization software definitely helps.
>>>>> Gabor
>>>> Additional info: you access R into the VM from within the host by ssh.
>>> You can enable x11 forwarding there and you also got GUI stuff. It works
>>> like a charm, but there are still some problems on my side when I try to
>>> disconnect and reconnect to the same R process. I can solve this with, say,
>>> screen. However, if any X11 window is displayed while I disconnect, R
>>> crashes immediately on reconnection.
>>> You might find the program 'xpra' useful. It's like screen, but for x11
>>> programs.
>>> -n
>> I second that. However, by default, xpra and GNU Screen are not aware
>> of each other. To connect to xpra from within GNU Screen, you usually
>> need to set the DISPLAY environment variable manually. I have
>> described a solution that automates this, so that GUI applications
>> "just work" from within GNU Screen and also survive a disconnect:
>> http://krlmlr.github.io/integrating-xpra-with-screen/ .
>> -Kirill
> Footnotes: 
> [1]  https://www.docker.io
> [2]  http://docs.docker.io/en/latest/examples/running_ssh_service/

Rainer M. Krug
email: Rainer<at>krugs<dot>de
PGP: 0x0F52F982
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