Native versions of Docker for Windows and Mac are being made available in a limited beta.
Docker is the very successful open packaging technology that lets you run an app without having to worry about the system it is running on having the necessary dependencies. Your app gets its own operating system environment packaged with it.
The new beta provides an integrated environment for building, assembling, and shipping applications from Mac or Windows. Docker for Mac and Windows have been tailored to be better than Docker Toolbox used in those environments.
The developers say the native versions are faster and more reliable than the original version which required VirtualBox to work. The Docker engine is running in an Alpine Linux distribution on top of an xhyve Virtual Machine on Mac OS X or on a Hyper-V VM on Windows, and that VM is managed by the Docker application.
Tools integration is another area that has been improved. The versions have a native user interface, will auto-update, and come with bundled tools including Docker command line, Docker Compose, and Docker Notary command line.
The new versions also offer easy access to running containers on the local host network: Docker for Mac and Windows include a DNS server for containers, and are integrated with the Mac OS X and Windows networking system.
Docker for Mac can be used at the same time as Docker Toolbox on the same machine, allowing developers to continue using Toolbox as they evaluate Docker for Mac. On Windows you need to stop Toolbox before using Docker for Windows.
The beta is a limited availability private beta and signing up will add you to a waiting list. The products are at different stages of development, and Docker for Windows will be rolled out to users at a slower pace for now. It will eventually offer all the same functionality as Docker for Mac. Docker for Windows currently only ships on Windows 10 editions that support Hyper-V.