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Podman Compose

An implementation of Compose Spec with Podman backend. This project focus on:

  • rootless
  • daemon-less process model, we directly execute podman, no running daemon.

This project only depend on:

  • podman
  • podman dnsname plugin (Optional requirement. If necessary, the containers be able to resolve each other if they are on the same CNI network. In distributions, it is usually found in the podman-plugins or podman-dnsname package)
  • Python3
  • PyYAML
  • python-dotenv

And it's formed as a single python file script that you can drop into your PATH and run.



As in this article you can setup a podman.socket and use unmodified docker-compose that talks to that socket but in this case you lose the process-model (ex. docker-compose build will send a possibly large context tarball to the daemon)

For production-like single-machine containerized environment consider

For the real thing (multi-node clusters) check any production OpenShift/Kubernetes distribution like OKD.


If you have legacy version of podman (before 3.1.0) you might need to stick with legacy podman-compose 0.1.x branch. The legacy branch 0.1.x uses mappings and workarounds to compensate for rootless limitations.

Modern podman versions (>=3.4) do not have those limitations and thus you can use latest and stable 1.x branch.


Install latest stable version from PyPI:

pip3 install podman-compose

pass --user to install inside regular user home without being root.

Or latest development version from GitHub:

pip3 install


curl -o /usr/local/bin/podman-compose
chmod +x /usr/local/bin/podman-compose

or inside your home

curl -o ~/.local/bin/podman-compose
chmod +x ~/.local/bin/podman-compose

or install from Fedora (starting from f31) repositories:

sudo dnf install podman-compose

Basic Usage

We have included fully functional sample stacks inside examples/ directory.

A quick example would be

cd examples/busybox
podman-compose --help
podman-compose up --help
podman-compose up

A more rich example can be found in examples/awx3 which have

  • A Postgres Database
  • RabbitMQ server
  • MemCached server
  • a django web server
  • a django tasks

When testing the AWX3 example, if you got errors just wait for db migrations to end. There is also AWX 17.1.0


Inside tests/ directory we have many useless docker-compose stacks that are meant to test as much cases as we can to make sure we are compatible