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How to Run Baseprinter via Container

Running baseprinter inside an OCI container, often known as a Docker container, avoids many typical installation problems. Containers can be run using podman or docker, with podman being the recommended option. However, replacing podman with docker will probably still work. Podman is a superior drop-in replacement to the docker tool.


1. Install Podman

The first step is to install podman if it is not already installed.

Get Started with Podman

Warning for Mac users

Mac users will need to run podman machine init --volume $HOME:$HOME before podman machine start. On Mac, there is an intermediary virtual machine (VM) between your Mac and the container, and the VM needs access to your work directory.

2. Define a shell function

Define a shell function named baseprinter to run the container image

In the bash shell, this is achieved with the following lines:

baseprinter() {
  podman run --rm -v=$PWD:/mnt -w=/mnt baseprinter "$@"

You can manually enter these lines at the bash command line or copy them into an initialization file (e.g., .bashrc).


Baseprinter can ONLY access relative file paths below the current directory when run inside a container via the above bash function.

3. Test

After defining the shell function mentioned above, you can test it by simply typing the shell command as if baseprinter were installed locally:


The first execution of this function will trigger a one-time download of the container image (almost 1GB!), and then baseprinter will display the command line help.

If you are running with SELinux, you may need to insert --security-opt label=disable after podman run.

NOTE: Running this shell command will share the local current working directory with the container. Therefore, only relative paths to files under the current working directory will work.


When generating HTML previews of a baseprint, it is convenient to run a local web server that automatically reloads the preview web page upon regeneration. For instructions, refer to How to Auto-Refresh with Baseprinter.