I am installing podman as a remote client on macOS using Vagrant. I will not cover the vagrant setup in this post.

Podman remote client

Podman is the tool to start and manage containers. On macOS, we have to use a thin remote client that connects to an actual Podman process running on a Linux host.

Here are the main steps how to configure the remote client to work with a Linux host:

  • Create a Linux machine using Vagrant
  • Set key based ssh as root to the Linux host
  • Install remote-client binary with Homebrew: brew cask install podman

Create a fedora vagrant box.

mkdir fedora-box && cd fedora-box
echo "Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = "generic/fedora30"
  config.vm.hostname = "fedora30"
  config.vm.provider "virtualbox" do |v|
    v.memory = 1024
    v.cpus = 1
end" >> Vagrantfile
vagrant up && vagrant ssh

Create new ssh keys on macOS and copy the newly generated public key.

cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub
ssh-rsa AAAAB3...

Add ssh keys copied earlier on the Linux host to .ssh/authorized_keys

echo "ssh-rsa AAAAB3..." >> /root/.ssh/authorized_keys

On the Linux host, install Podman and varlink socket. The remote client uses this to execute commands calling Podman’s API.

sudo dnf --enablerepo=updates-testing install podman libvarlink-util libvarlink

Install podman on macOS using Homebrew

brew cask install podman

Once podman is installed, create a connection parameters in $HOME/.config/containers/podman-remote.conf

cat <<EOF >$HOME/.config/containers/podman-remote.conf
    destination = ""
    username = "root"
    default = true
    port = 2222

# With the remoting file configured, we can run podman simply as:
podman images

Verify running a container:

podman run --name tomcat -d docker.io/tomcat
Trying to pull docker.io/tomcat

Building images:

Note: The podman-remote.conf file seems to be ignored by the podman build command, so we have to add --remote-host --username root --port 2222 to each command

podman --remote-host --username root --port 2222 build --tag mytag