How to install Podman support in Cockpit

Podman is the official container runtime engine for RHEL and CentOS. Learn how to add Cockpit support to manage images and containers.

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Image: CentOS

Now that Podman has become the official container runtime engine for both Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS 8, you're probably interested in having a GUI to help you with the task of managing this new tool. Thing is, Podman is relatively new (at least in the form of a stable release), so there aren't a lot of third-party tools available.

However, since Podman is being developed (for the most part) in-house at Red Hat, you can be sure that there is support for another in-house tool. That tool is Cockpit. Cockpit is an outstanding server manager, developed for RHEL, CentOS, and Fedora Server, which allows you to manage such things as software updates, networking, storage, accounts, SELinux, and even view logs. Cockpit also includes a few third-party modules that can be installed. One such module offers Podman support. With this added module, you can download new images and even launch containers based on those images--all through a user-friendly, web-based GUI.

For anyone who plans on working with containers on RHEL or CentOS, getting Podman support in Cockpit should be a must have. And I'm going to show you how to make it happen.

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What you'll need

I'll be demonstrating this process on CentOS 8. The only things you'll need to install Podman support on Cockpit is a running instance of the latest version of CentOS (with Podman running) and a user with sudo privileges.

To find out how to enable Cockpit on CentOS 8, read How to enable Cockpit on CentOS 8.

How to install Podman support in Cockpit

Out of the box, Cockpit doesn't include the necessary bits for Podman support (otherwise, I wouldn't be showing you how to install it). In order to install support, log in to your CentOS 8 server and issue the command:

sudo dnf install cockpit-podman -y

Once that command completes, you're finished with the installation.

How to use Cockpit

At the moment, running rootless containers with Podman isn't something you'll want to try and work out. So to get the most out of Podman, you have to make use of sudo, to deploy containers and do many other tasks. Because of that, you'll need to log into Cockpit as the root user. Once you've logged in, you might be greeted by an error stating the Podman service isn't active (Figure A).

Figure A

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Oops! Podman isn't running.

To start the service, check the box for Automatically Start Podman On Boot and then click Start Podman. That warning should go away and plant you back on the Cockpit main window. However, you still won't see Podman listed in the sidebar. Log out of Cockpit and log back in (again, as the root user) and Podman will finally appear in the left navigation (Figure B).

Figure B

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Podman support is officially working.

Click Podman Containers to reveal all images and running containers on your system (Figure C).

Figure C

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The images and running containers as displayed by Cockpit.

You can now download new images by clicking Get New Image, or you can start a new container from an already downloaded image by clicking the start button associated with the image in question.

And that's all there is to installing Podman support on Cockpit. You are now ready to start managing your images and containers, via a simple to use, web-based GUI. Enjoy that fresh power rushing through your fingers.

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