Switching users inside Docker image to a non-root user

I'm trying to switch user to the tomcat7 user in order to setup SSH certificates.

When I do su tomcat7, nothing happens.

whoami still ruturns root after doing su tomcat7

Doing a more /etc/passwd, I get the following result which clearly shows that a tomcat7 user exists:

root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash
daemon:x:1:1:daemon:/usr/sbin:/bin/sh
bin:x:2:2:bin:/bin:/bin/sh
sys:x:3:3:sys:/dev:/bin/sh
sync:x:4:65534:sync:/bin:/bin/sync
games:x:5:60:games:/usr/games:/bin/sh
man:x:6:12:man:/var/cache/man:/bin/sh
lp:x:7:7:lp:/var/spool/lpd:/bin/sh
mail:x:8:8:mail:/var/mail:/bin/sh
news:x:9:9:news:/var/spool/news:/bin/sh
uucp:x:10:10:uucp:/var/spool/uucp:/bin/sh
proxy:x:13:13:proxy:/bin:/bin/sh
www-data:x:33:33:www-data:/var/www:/bin/sh
backup:x:34:34:backup:/var/backups:/bin/sh
list:x:38:38:Mailing List Manager:/var/list:/bin/sh
irc:x:39:39:ircd:/var/run/ircd:/bin/sh
gnats:x:41:41:Gnats Bug-Reporting System (admin):/var/lib/gnats:/bin/sh
nobody:x:65534:65534:nobody:/nonexistent:/bin/sh
libuuid:x:100:101::/var/lib/libuuid:/bin/sh
messagebus:x:101:104::/var/run/dbus:/bin/false
colord:x:102:105:colord colour management daemon,,,:/var/lib/colord:/bin/false
saned:x:103:106::/home/saned:/bin/false
tomcat7:x:104:107::/usr/share/tomcat7:/bin/false

What I'm trying to work around is this error in Hudson:

Command "git fetch -t git@________.co.za:_______/_____________.git +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*" returned status code 128: Host key verification failed.

This is my Dockerfile, it takes an existing hudson war file and config that is tarred and builds an image, hudson runs fine, it just can't access git due to certificates not existing for user tomcat7.

FROM debian:wheezy

# install java on image
RUN apt-get update
RUN apt-get install -y openjdk-7-jdk tomcat7

# install hudson on image
RUN rm -rf /var/lib/tomcat7/webapps/*
ADD ./ROOT.tar.gz /var/lib/tomcat7/webapps/

# copy hudson config over to image
RUN mkdir /usr/share/tomcat7/.hudson
ADD ./dothudson.tar.gz /usr/share/tomcat7/
RUN chown -R tomcat7:tomcat7 /usr/share/tomcat7/

# add ssh certificates
RUN mkdir /root/.ssh
ADD ssh.tar.gz /root/

# install some dependencies
RUN apt-get update
RUN apt-get install --y maven
RUN apt-get install --y git
RUN apt-get install --y subversion

# background script
ADD run.sh /root/run.sh
RUN chmod +x /root/run.sh

# expose port 8080
EXPOSE 8080


CMD ["/root/run.sh"]

I'm using the latest version of Docker (Docker version 1.0.0, build 63fe64c/1.0.0), is this a bug in Docker or am I missing something in my Dockerfile?

Answers


You should not use su in a dockerfile, however you should use the USER instruction in the Dockerfile.

At each stage of the Dockerfile build, a new container is created so any change you make to the user will not persist on the next build stage.

For example:

RUN whoami
RUN su test
RUN whoami

This would never say the user would be test as a new container is spawned on the 2nd whoami. The output would be root on both (unless of course you run USER beforehand).

If however you do:

RUN whoami
USER test
RUN whoami

You should see root then test.

Alternatively you can run a command as a different user with sudo with something like

sudo -u test whoami

But it seems better to use the official supported instruction.


As a different approach to the other answer, instead of indicating the user upon image creation on the Dockerfile, you can do so via command-line on a particular container as a per-command basis.

With docker exec, use --user to specify which user account the interactive terminal will use (the container should be running and the user has to exist in the containerized system):

docker exec -it --user [username] [container] bash

See https://docs.docker.com/engine/reference/commandline/exec/


You should also be able to do:

apt install sudo

sudo -i -u tomcat

Then you should be the tomcat user. It's not clear which Linux distribution you're using, but this works with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, for example.


There's no real way to do this. As a result, things like mysqld_safe fail, and you can't install mysql-server in a Debian docker container without jumping through 40 hoops because.. well... it aborts if it's not root.

You can use USER, but you won't be able to apt-get install if you're not root.


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