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Podman can run rootless containers and be a drop-in replacement for Docker.

Install and configure podman with NixOS service configuration

{ pkgs, ... }:
  virtualisation = {
    podman = {
      enable = true;

      # Create a `docker` alias for podman, to use it as a drop-in replacement
      dockerCompat = true;

      # Required for containers under podman-compose to be able to talk to each other.
      defaultNetwork.settings.dns_enabled = true;


podman-compose is a drop-in replacement for docker-compose

Using podman with ZFS

Rootless can't use ZFS directly but the overlay needs POSIX ACL enabled for the underlying ZFS filesystem, ie., acltype=posixacl

Best to mount a dataset under /var/lib/containers/storage with property acltype=posixacl.

Use Podman within nix-shell


Note that rootless podman requires newuidmap (from shadow). If you're not on NixOS, this cannot be supplied by the Nix package 'shadow' since setuid/setgid programs are not currently supported by Nix.

Run Podman containers as systemd services

  virtualisation.oci-containers.backend = "podman";
  virtualisation.oci-containers.containers = {
    container-name = {
      image = "container-image";
      autoStart = true;
      ports = [ "" ];