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Joseph D. Marhee
Joseph D. Marhee

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Running Scrivener in Docker

I came across this fantastic post about running Scrivener on Ubuntu. There was a beta of a Linux release of the software a number of years ago, and according to the above post, it still works really well on Ubuntu 22.04, so I thought I'd give it a try, however, I wanted to run it in a Docker container (since it had a number of dependency packages I would be using nowhere else) and launch as a desktop app with x11docker, for example, or [configuring the system display to launch application windows)(

I created two versions of the Dockerfile, one that downloads the packages installed, or one that assumes I'm building the image locally, so I prepared a pkgs directory to improve build time on subsequent runs:

mkdir pkgs
cd pkgs
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and then in my project root that contains my packages directory, I have the following Dockerfile:

FROM ubuntu:xenial
MAINTAINER Joseph Marhee <>

RUN apt update
RUN apt install -y \
    libtool \
    autoconf \
    build-essential \
    pkg-config \
    automake \
    tcsh \
    zlib1g-dev \
    libasound2 \
    libcups2 \
    libxrender1 \
    libxext6 \
    libxext-dev \
    libfontconfig1 \

COPY pkgs/* /

RUN tar xvf /libpng_1.2.54.orig.tar.xz

WORKDIR /libpng-1.2.54
RUN ./
RUN ./configure
RUN make -j8
RUN make install
RUN ldconfig


#RUN apt install -y ./multiarch-support_2.19-18+deb8u10_amd64.deb
RUN apt install -y ./libgstreamer0.10-0_0.10.36-1.5ubuntu1_amd64.deb
RUN apt install -y ./libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-0_0.10.36-1.1ubuntu2.1_amd64.deb

RUN apt install -y ./scrivener-

ENTRYPOINT ["scrivener"]
CMD []
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In order to launch the app properly from the container into my display, I needed to use the ubuntu:xenial base image, though I suspect this will work with bionic as well, I ran into further dependency issues with jammy that I did not experience installing directly onto the base system, but for my purposes this would suffice.

So, I proceed to build the image:

docker build -t jmarhee/scrivener:offline .
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and then launch the application:

x11docker jmarhee/scrivener
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and you'll see the app launch on your desktop:

Image description

The Dockerfiles and dependencies can be found on Github:

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