systemPipe containers

The systemPipe Toolkits, including systemPipeR, systemPipeShiny and systemPipeRdata (workflow templates) can be run using containers. Different containers, their installation and usage are discussed below.

Running the systemPipeR with Docker

Guidelines from bioconductor_docker.

Get a copy of the public docker image

docker pull systempipe/systempipe_docker:latest

To run RStudio Server:

docker run -e PASSWORD=systemPipe -p 8787:8787 \

You can then open a web browser pointing to your docker host on port 8787. If you’re on Linux and using default settings, the docker host is (or localhost, so the full URL to RStudio would be http://localhost:8787). If you are on Mac or Windows and running Docker Toolbox, you can determine the docker host with the docker-machine ip default command.

In the above command, -e PASSWORD= is setting the RStudio password and is required by the RStudio Docker image. It can be whatever you like except it cannot be rstudio. Log in to RStudio with the username rstudio and whatever password was specified, in this example systemPipe.

To run R from the command line:

docker run -it --user rstudio systempipe/systempipe_docker:latest R

To open a Bash shell on the container:

docker run -it --user rstudio systempipe/systempipe_docker:latest bash


Prerequisites: Linux Mac Windows

Instructions here on how to install Docker Engine on Ubuntu.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install \
    apt-transport-https \
    ca-certificates \
    curl \
curl -fsSL | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /usr/share/keyrings/docker-archive-keyring.gpg
echo \
  "deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/docker-archive-keyring.gpg] \
  $(lsb_release -cs) stable" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/docker.list > /dev/null
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install docker-ce docker-ce-cli
## Verify that Docker Engine is installed correctly by running the hello-world image.
sudo docker run hello-world


sudo apt-get remove docker docker-engine containerd runc

Docker Hub Account

To be able to share a custom image, please go to and create a free account.

Log in to the Docker Hub locally

Login with your Docker ID to push and pull images from Docker Hub. If you don’t have a Docker ID, head over to to create one.

docker login
# Username: XXXX
# Password: xxx
# Login Succeeded

Run Docker

docker run-dP systempipe/systempipe_docker:latest

Make sure the container is running:

docker ps
# CONTAINER ID   IMAGE                                    COMMAND   CREATED         STATUS         PORTS                     # NAMES
#5d007f66a7b3   systempipe/systempipe_docker:latest   "/init"   5 minutes ago   Up 5 minutes>8787/tcp   determined_easle

Login to the container

Please check the NAMES in this example, determined_easle, to login into the container.

docker exec -it determined_easle /bin/bash

Other alternatives to run the container

To run RStudio Server:

docker run -e PASSWORD=systemPipe -p 8787:8787 \

To run R from the command line:

docker run -it --user rstudio systempipe/systempipe_docker:latest R

To open a Bash shell on the container:

docker run -it --user rstudio systempipe/systempipe_docker:latest bash

Check R Version into the container

R --version

Stop Docker

docker stop determined_easle

Create your first repository Link

Create a repository:

  • Sign in to Docker Hub.
  • Click Create a Repository on the Docker Hub welcome page:
  • Name it /my-repo.
  • Click Create.

Build and push a container image to Docker Hub from your computer

Start by creating a Dockerfile to specify your application

mkdir docker_test
cd docker_test
touch Dockerfile
# Docker inheritance
FROM systempipe/systempipe_docker:latest

## Install BiocStyle
RUN R -e 'BiocManager::install("BiocStyle")'

# Install required Bioconductor package from devel version
RUN R -e 'BiocManager::install("tgirke/systemPipeR")'
RUN R -e 'BiocManager::install("tgirke/systemPipeRdata")'

WORKDIR /home/rstudio/SPRojects

COPY --chown=rstudio:rstudio . /home/rstudio/SPRojects

# Metadata
LABEL name="systempipe/systempipe_docker" \
      version=$BIOCONDUCTOR_DOCKER_systempipe \
      url="" \
      vendor="systemPipeR Project" \
      maintainer="" \
      description="Bioconductor docker image containing the systemPipeR Project" \

Run docker build to build your Docker image

docker build -t systempipe/systempipe_docker . 

Run docker run to test your Docker image locally

docker run -e PASSWORD=systemPipe -p 8787:8787 systempipe/systempipe_docker:latest

Run docker push to push your Docker image to Docker Hub

docker push systempipe/systempipe_docker
  • Your repository in Docker Hub should now display a new latest tag under Tags

Make changes to the container and Create the new image

Create a folder, for example:

docker run -dP systempipe/systempipe_docker
docker ps ## To check the NAME <lucid_grothendieck>
docker exec -it lucid_grothendieck /bin/bash
root@33c758eb1626:/# R
docker commit -m "Added rnaseq template" -a "Dani Cassol" lucid_grothendieck dcassol/systempipeworkshop2021:rnaseq
docker push systempipe/systempipe_docker:rnaseq

Run the new image:

docker run -e PASSWORD=systemPipe -p 8787:8787 systempipe/systempipe_docker:rnaseq


List which docker machines are available locally

docker images

List running containers

docker ps

List all containers

docker ps -a

Resume a stopped container

docker start <CONTAINER ID>

Shell into a running container

docker exec -it <CONTAINER ID> /bin/bash

Stop OR remove a cointainer

docker stop <CONTAINER ID> docker rm <CONTAINER ID>

Remove a image

docker rmi dcassol/systempipeworkshop2021:rnaseq

Docker and GitHub Actions

  1. To create a new token, go to Docker Hub Settings

1.1. Account Settings » Security » New Access Token 1.2. Add Access Token Description » Create 1.3. Copy the Access Token » Copy and Close

  1. Go to the Repository at GitHub

2.1. Settings > Secrets > New repository secret 2.2. Create a new secret with the name DOCKER_HUB_USERNAME and your Docker ID as value 2.3. Click at Add secret 2.4. Create a new secret with the name DOCKER_HUB_ACCESS_TOKEN and your Personal Access Token (PAT) as value (generated in the previous step)

  1. Set up the GitHub Actions workflow
      - name: Checkout Repo 
        uses: actions/checkout@v2

      - name: Login to Docker Hub
        uses: docker/login-action@v1
          username: ${{ secrets.DOCKER_HUB_USERNAME }}
          password: ${{ secrets.DOCKER_HUB_ACCESS_TOKEN }}

Common Problems

## Got permission denied while trying to connect to the Docker daemon socket at unix:///var/run/docker.sock: Post http://%2Fvar%2Frun%2Fdocker.sock/v1.24/auth: dial unix /var/run/docker.sock: connect: permission denied


sudo chmod 666 /var/run/docker.sock

Singularity Container

Please download the Docker image of systemPipe, as follow:

singularity pull docker://systempipe/systempipe_docker:latest

You can also use the build command to download pre-built images from Docker. Unlike pull, build will convert the image to the latest Singularity image format after downloading it.

singularity build systempipe_docker_latest.sif docker://systempipe/systempipe_docker:latest

To run the container:

singularity shell systempipe_docker_latest.sif