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Sargon is a docker authorization plugin that controls container creation. It enables the administrator to exercise control over the containers that users are allowed to create and decide whether to permit creation of privileged containers, what parts of the host file system can be visible to containers via bind or volume mechanism, what memory limits to apply, etc.

User privileges are kept in LDAP.


After cloning, change to the source directory and run


To install the created binary, run (as root):

 make install

By default, the sargon binary is installed to /usr/local/bin. To select another installation directory, use the BINDIR or PREFIX variable. The BINDIR variable specifies the directory to install sargon to. E.g. to istall it to /usr/bin, do

 make install BINDIR=/usr/bin

Alternatively, you may use the PREFIX variable, which specifies the directory where bin is located, e.g.:

 make install PREFIX=/usr


When started, the program reads its configuration file, disconnects itself from the controlling terminal and continues running in the background. Error reporting goes to the syslog facility daemon. The following options are recognized:

  • -foreground

    Run in the foreground. Send diagnostic output to the stderr.

  • -config=FILE

    Read configuration from FILE instead of the default /etc/docker/sargon.json

  • -trace Trace ACL entries and their effect.

  • -debug

    Enable verbose debugging output

In order to configure docker to consult sargon when creating new containers, add the following option to its command line:



Sargon configuration is kept in JSON format in file /etc/docker/sargon.json. The following keywords are recognized:

  • pidfile

    Name of the PID file. Defaults to /var/run/

  • LdapConf

    Colon-separated list of LDAP configuration files to look for. The first of them that exists will be read. Default is /etc/ldap.conf:/etc/ldap/ldap.conf:/etc/openldap/ldap.conf

  • LdapUser

    Bind to LDAP using this DN. Defaults to empty string. This value overrides the binddn setting in ldap.conf file, which is the preferred way of configuring bind DN.

  • LdapPass

    Bind to LDAP with this password. Defaults to empty string. This value overrides the password obtained from the bindpwfile setting in ldap.conf file.

  • LdapTLS

    If true, start LDAP TLS session.

  • AnonymousUser

    If docker connection is not authenticated, use this string as the user name.

The ldap.conf file

After reading its main configuration file, sargon scans the LDAP configuration path (see the LdapConf variable above). The first file that exists and is readable is then read. The format of the file is described in detail in ldap.conf(5). The following keywords are recognized:

  • URI ldap[si]://[name[:port]]

    URI of an LDAP server to which sargon should connect.

  • BASE base

    Specifies the default base DN to use when performing ldap queries.

  • BINDDN dn

    Specifies the default bind DN to use when performing ldap operations.

  • BINDPWFILE filename

    Use complete contents of filename as the password for simple authentication.

  • TLS_CACERT filename

    Specifies the file that contains certificates for all of the Certificate Authorities the client will recognize.

  • TLS_CACERTDIR dirname

    Specifies the path of a directory that contains Certificate Authority certificates in separate individual files. The TLS_CACERT is always used before TLS_CACERTDIR.

  • TLS_CERT filename

    Specifies the file that contains the client certificate.

  • TLS_KEY filename

    Specifies the file that contains the private key that matches the certificate stored in the TLS_CERT file.

  • TLS_RANDFILE filename

    Specifies the file to obtain random bits from, instead of the default /dev/urandom or /dev/random.

  • TLS_REQCERT level

    Specifies what checks to perform on server certificates in a TLS session, if any. The level is one of: never, allow, try, demand, or try.


Docker user privileges are defined in in the LDAP database in form of sargonACL objects. Each such object defines privileges for a set of users who performing a docker action on a set of servers. Each sargonACL object must have the cn attribute, uniquely identifying the object. It may also have one or more of the following attributes. Except as marked with (single), multiple attribute instances are allowed.

  • sargonUser

    User to whom this entry applies. If the value begins with a percent sign, the rest of characters after it are treated as the name of a user group and the entry applies to all users in this group.

  • sargonHost

    Host on which this entry takes effect. If the value starts with a plus sign, it is treated as the name of the NIS netgroup.

  • sargonAllow

    Allowed action. Argument is either one of the docker action keywords listed below, or the word ALL (uppercase) matching all actions.

  • sargonDeny

    Denied action. Argument is either one of the docker action keywords listed below, or the word ALL (uppercase) matching all actions. See below for a detailed discussion of how sargonAllow and sargonDeny policies operate.

  • sargonOrder (single)

    An integer to order sargonACL entries. If not present, 0 is assumed.

  • sargonMount

    Name of the directory on the host filesystem, which is allowed for bind and mount operations.

    If the name ends with /* only subdirectories of this directory can be mounted.

    If the directory name (with optional /* suffix) is followed by the string (ro), only read-only mounting will be allowed.

    Prior to use, values of this attribute undergo variable expansion, if the authenticated user name is found in the system user database. During variable expansion variable references in form $V or ${V} are replaced with the actual value of variable V. The following variables are defined:

    Variable Expands to
    uid User ID
    gid Group ID
    name User name
    home or dir Home directory

    Undefined variables are left unexpanded.

  • sargonAllowPrivileged (single)

    The word TRUE if the users are allowed to create privileged containers. FALSE otherwise.

  • sargonMaxMemory (single)

    Limit on memory usage. The value is an integer optionally suffixed with K, M, or G (case-insensitive).

  • sargonMaxKernelMemory (single)

    Limit on kernel memory usage. The value is an integer optionally suffixed with K, M, or G (case-insensitive).

  • sargonAllowCapability

    Name of the linux capability that is allowed to use with the --cap-add docker option. See capabilities(7), for a list of capability names. Names listed in this attribute are case-insensitive. The CAP_ prefix is optional.

  • sargonNotBefore

    A timestamp in the form yyyymmddHHMMSSZ that provides a start date/time for when this entry will be valid. Notice, that the timestamp must be in UTC.

  • sargonNotAfter

    A timestamp in the form yyyymmddHHMMSSZ that provides an expiration date/time after which this entry ceases to be valid. Notice, that the timestamp must be in UTC.

When verifying each incoming request, sargon uses the following algorithm:

  1. Create LDAP filter with the user name and the names of the groups the user belongs to. For example, if the requesting user name is smt, and his main and supplementary groups are staff, docker, wheel, then the LDAP filter will be:

Notice, that (1) the filter string is split in multiple indented lines for readability, and (2) the part of filter that controls the validity of the entry using the sargonNotBefore and sargonNotAfter attributes is omitted for clarity.

  1. Execute LDAP query, get the response.

  2. Iterate over the returned sargonACL objects, selecting only those with the value of sargonHost matching the server hostname, or (if the value starts with +) with the netgroup it refers to matching the (host,user,domain) triplet.

    To match the netgroup, the libc function innetgr(3) is used.

  3. Sort the remaining entries by the value of their sargonOrder attribute in ascending order.

  4. Start with the first returned object.

  5. If the requested docker action is explicitly listed in one of its sargonAllow attribute, go to step 9.

  6. Otherwise, if the object has one or more sargonDeny attributes and one of these contains the requested action or the meta-action ALL, then deny the request.

  7. Advance to the next object, and restart from step 6.

  8. Unless the requested action is ContainerCreate, authorize the request.

  9. If privileges container creation is requestedm and sargonAllowPrivileged is FALSE, then deny the request. Otherwise, advance to the next step.

  10. If any additional linux capabilities are requested, check if they are listed in sargonAllowCapability attributes. If any of them is not, deny the request.

  11. Check requested binds and mounts. Check each source directory against each sargonMount attribute. If the directory matches the attribute exactly, or if the attribute value ends with a /* and the source directory prefix matches the value, then the mount is allowed. Otherwise, request is denied,

  12. If the requested maximum memory is greater than the value of the sargonMaxMemory attribute, request is denied.

  13. If the requested maximum kernel memory is greater than the value of the sargonMaxKernelMemory attribute, request is denied.

  14. Otherwise, request is authorized.


The following values can be used in sargonAllow and sargonDeny attributes:

  • BuildPrune Delete builder cache.

  • ConfigCreate Create a config.

  • ConfigDelete Delete a config.

  • ConfigInspect Inspect a config.

  • ConfigList List configs.

  • ConfigUpdate Update a config.

  • ContainerArchive Get an archive of a filesystem resource in a container.

  • ContainerArchiveInfo Get information about files in a container.

  • ContainerAttach Attach to a container.

  • ContainerAttachWebsocket Attach to a container via a websocket.

  • ContainerChanges Get changes on a container’s filesystem.

  • ContainerCreate Create a container.

  • ContainerDelete Remove a container.

  • ContainerExec Create an exec instance.

  • ContainerExport Export a container.

  • ContainerInspect Inspect a container.

  • ContainerKill Kill a container.

  • ContainerList List containers.

  • ContainerLogs Get container logs.

  • ContainerPause Pause a container.

  • ContainerPrune Delete stopped containers.

  • ContainerRename Rename a container.

  • ContainerResize Resize a container TTY.

  • ContainerRestart Restart a container.

  • ContainerStart Start a container.

  • ContainerStats Get container stats based on resource usage.

  • ContainerStop Stop a container.

  • ContainerTop List processes running inside a container.

  • ContainerUnpause Unpause a container.

  • ContainerUpdate Update a container.

  • ContainerWait Wait for a container.

  • DistributionInspect Get image information from the registry.

  • ExecInspect Inspect an exec instance.

  • ExecResize Resize an exec instance.

  • ExecStart Start an exec instance.

  • GetPluginPrivileges Get plugin privileges.

  • ImageBuild Build an image.

  • ImageCommit Create a new image from a container.

  • ImageCreate Create an image.

  • ImageDelete Remove an image.

  • ImageGet Export an image.

  • ImageGetAll Export several images.

  • ImageHistory Get the history of an image.

  • ImageInspect Inspect an image.

  • ImageList List Images.

  • ImageLoad Import images.

  • ImagePrune Delete unused images.

  • ImagePush Push an image.

  • ImageSearch Search images.

  • ImageTag Tag an image.

  • NetworkConnect Connect a container to a network.

  • NetworkCreate Create a network.

  • NetworkDelete Remove a network.

  • NetworkDisconnect Disconnect a container from a network.

  • NetworkInspect Inspect a network.

  • NetworkList List networks.

  • NetworkPrune Delete unused networks.

  • NodeDelete Delete a node.

  • NodeInspect Inspect a node.

  • NodeList List nodes.

  • NodeUpdate Update a node.

  • PluginCreate Create a plugin.

  • PluginDelete Remove a plugin.

  • PluginDisable Disable a plugin.

  • PluginEnable Enable a plugin.

  • PluginInspect Inspect a plugin.

  • PluginList List plugins.

  • PluginPull Install a plugin.

  • PluginPush Push a plugin.

  • PluginSet Configure a plugin.

  • PluginUpgrade Upgrade a plugin.

  • PutContainerArchive Extract an archive of files or folders to a directory in a container.

  • SecretCreate Create a secret.

  • SecretDelete Delete a secret.

  • SecretInspect Inspect a secret.

  • SecretList List secrets.

  • SecretUpdate Update a Secret.

  • ServiceCreate Create a service.

  • ServiceDelete Delete a service.

  • ServiceInspect Inspect a service.

  • ServiceList List services.

  • ServiceLogs Get service logs.

  • ServiceUpdate Update a service.

  • Session Initialize interactive session.

  • SwarmInit Initialize a new swarm.

  • SwarmInspect Inspect swarm.

  • SwarmJoin Join an existing swarm.

  • SwarmLeave Leave a swarm.

  • SwarmUnlock Unlock a locked manager.

  • SwarmUnlockkey Get the unlock key.

  • SwarmUpdate Update a swarm.

  • SystemAuth Check auth configuration.

  • SystemDataUsage Get data usage information.

  • SystemEvents Monitor events.

  • SystemInfo Get system information.

  • SystemPing Ping.

  • SystemVersion Get version.

  • TaskInspect Inspect a task.

  • TaskList List tasks.

  • TaskLogs Get task logs.

  • VolumeCreate Create a volume.

  • VolumeDelete Remove a volume.

  • VolumeInspect Inspect a volume.

  • VolumeList List volumes.

  • VolumePrune Delete unused volumes.


User privilege system for docker




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