Container Station alternative image server

I got a QNAP (TS-251+) a few years ago with the intention of using Container Station to run Linux LXC/LXD System Containers. I use my QNAP for nothing else and I don’t use Container Station for Docker.

During the first half of 2024, linuxcontainers.org disabled access for LXD, and it was no longer possible to download LXC system images using Container Station. From what I read, the right thing to do for me is to switch image server to https://images.lxd.canonical.com, but I failed to add that as a new repository to Container Station.

This is no immediate catastrophe, I already had downloaded Debian 12, and I have learnt that system container systems can be upgraded in place just as a physical computer. Nevertheless, I did not like the situation of not being able to download new images (and try new distributions). Also, my QNAP is a few years old, but without being able to download LXC images, Container Station is useless for me, and I have no reason to buy another QNAP.

LXC command line works on the QNAP

It seems all I wanted to do can be done using the lxc command, directly on the qnap. First you need to ssh to your qnap server (as user admin).

Listing remotes

The following command lists all available remotes (external image servers):


[~] # lxc remote list

It seems to me this list is reset when the QNAP is restarted, so if you add remotes to the list you may need to do it again after a restart.

Adding new remote

This command adds a new remote named canonical to my qnap.

# lxc remote add canonical https://images.lxd.canonical.com --protocol=simplestreams

List Current Images

Before adding (copying, pulling, from the canonical remote) new images, lets see what images we already have.

# lxc image list

So, I have six images already available (I mostly use Debian bookworm, and the Openwrt images don’t seem to start properly), but lets say I want Oracle Linux.

List Remote Images

This is how you list images on the remote (canonical)

[~] # lxc image list canonical:

The result is very long, here is for Oracle Linux.

I am not 100% sure how to interpret all this, but there are images for us.

Copy/Pull image from remote

In order to download an image from the remote server to “local:” (present above under listing remotes), run the command:

# lxc image copy canonical:oracle/9 local:

So, we got 98MB of Oracle 9 good stuff. And it is also visible in Container station.

Create and start a container

Now, I prefer to configure and start it in Container Station, because it gives me some UI options, but lets do it on the command line.

[~] # lxc launch oracle/9 my-oracle

And in Container Station i now have:

Which is exactly what I wanted!

Conclusion

It is very possible and quite easy to add new images to Container Station and LXD, even after linuxcontainers.org no longer serves them.

The lxc command can obviously do many more things but I like the Container Station GUI quite much. However, this workaround is needed while it is not possible to add new repositories using the GUI.

If anyone manage to successfully add a repository using Container Station GUI, please let me know in comments below.

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