This module allows you to build a container from image layers hosted on Docker Hub or another Docker registry.


Docker images are comprised of layers that are assembled at runtime to create an image. You can use Docker layers to create a base image, and then add your own custom software. For example, you might use Docker’s Ubuntu image layers to create an Ubuntu Singularity container. You could do the same with CentOS, Debian, Arch, Suse, Alpine, BusyBox, etc.

Or maybe you want a container that already has software installed. For instance, maybe you want to build a container that uses CUDA and cuDNN to leverage the GPU, but you don’t want to install from scratch. You can start with one of the nvidia/cuda containers and install your software on top of that.

Or perhaps you have already invested in Docker and created your own Docker containers. If so, you can seamlessly convert them to Singularity with the docker bootstrap module.


Bootstrap: docker

The Bootstrap keyword is always mandatory. It describes the bootstrap module to use.

From: <registry>/<namespace>/<container>:<tag>@<digest>

The From keyword is mandatory. It specifies the container to use as a base. registry is optional and defaults to namespace is optional and defaults to library. This is the correct namespace to use for some official containers (ubuntu for example). tag is also optional and will default to latest

See Singularity and Docker for more detailed info on using Docker registries.

Registry: http://custom_registry

The Registry keyword is optional. It will default to

Namespace: namespace

The Namespace keyword is optional. It will default to library.

IncludeCmd: yes

The IncludeCmd keyword is optional. If included, and if a %runscript is not specified, a Docker CMD will take precedence over ENTRYPOINT and will be used as a runscript. Note that the IncludeCmd keyword is considered valid if it is not empty! This means that IncludeCmd: yes and IncludeCmd: no are identical. In both cases the IncludeCmd keyword is not empty, so the Docker CMD will take precedence over an ENTRYPOINT.

See Singularity and Docker for more info on order of operations for determining a runscript.


Docker containers are stored as a collection of tarballs called layers. When building from a Docker container the layers must be downloaded and then assembled in the proper order to produce a viable file system. Then the file system must be converted to squashfs or ext3 format.

Building from Docker Hub is not considered reproducible because if any of the layers of the image are changed, the container will change. If reproducibility is important to you, consider hosting a base container on Singularity Hub and building from it instead.

For detailed information about setting your build environment see Build Customization.