Docker virtual machine is working on Apple Silicon compatibility, but hurdles remain

If you are excited about the new Mac hardware and dream about running Windows on your M1-powered Mac, a company called Docker is working on a solution for you.

Docker developer Ben De St Paer-Gotch explained in a blog post why it’s taking longer than expected to bring the company’s virtual machine to M1-powered Macs:

Building the right experience for our customers means getting quite a few things right before we push a release. Although Apple has released Rosetta 2 to help move applications over to the new M1 chips, this does not get us all the way with Docker Desktop.

Under the hood of Docker Desktop, we run a virtual machine, to achieve this on Apple’s new hardware we need to move onto Apple’s new hypervisor framework. We also need to do all the plumbing that provides the core experience of Docker Desktop, allowing you to docker run from your terminal as you can today.

The pace of development is also hampered by the fact that the app relies on third-party frameworks, like Go for the backend of Docker Desktop and Electron for the Docker Dashboard, to view your Desktop content. “We know these projects are hard at work getting ready for M1 chips and we are watching them closely,” he said.

Apple showcased Docker Desktop on stage during the WWDC 20202 keynote.

In announcing a switch away from Intel chips back in the summer, Apple has temporarily inconvenienced people who need to run Windows on their Mac computers from time to time. That’s because Boot Camp, a macOS feature allowing your Mac to boot directly into Windows, is currently unavailable on M1-powered Macs. Another reason is the currently limited state of Microsoft’s Windows on ARM project.

Other virtual machine developers are coping with the situation in a similar fashion.

Parallels, for instance, acknowledged recently that an upcoming version of Parallels Desktop for Mac will bring the ability to run Windows on M1-powered Macs alongside macOS. The company said it made “tremendous progress,” but stopped short of saying when its solution might be ready for prime time.

As for VMWare, it previously confirmed work on an M1-enhanced version of its virtual machine but cautioned that it’s not quite ready to announce the timeline.