Docker – why doesn’t chown work in Dockerfile?


My Dockerfile creates a directory, chown's it, and then lists the directory afterwards. The directory is still owned by root. Why is that?

Here is the Dockerfile:

FROM ubuntu:precise
RUN useradd -d /home/testuser -m -s /bin/bash testuser
RUN mkdir -p /var/local/testrunner/logs
VOLUME ["/var/local/testrunner/logs"]
RUN grep testuser /etc/passwd
RUN grep root /etc/passwd
RUN chown -R testuser:testuser /var/local/testrunner/logs
RUN ls -ld /var/local/testrunner/logs 

Here is the output from "docker build":

Sending build context to Docker daemon 10.24 kB
Sending build context to Docker daemon 
Step 0 : FROM ubuntu:precise
 ---> ab8e2728644c
Step 1 : RUN useradd -d /home/testuser -m -s /bin/bash testuser
 ---> Using cache
 ---> 640f12671c86
Step 2 : RUN mkdir -p /var/local/testrunner/logs
 ---> Using cache
 ---> bf7756fd5b1f
Step 3 : VOLUME ["/var/local/testrunner/logs"]
 ---> Using cache
 ---> 65c73ee76c20
Step 4 : RUN grep testuser /etc/passwd
 ---> Using cache
 ---> db72fff0b965
Step 5 : RUN grep root /etc/passwd
 ---> Running in ebff78df7a9a
 ---> ead0ff704a59
Removing intermediate container ebff78df7a9a
Step 6 : RUN chown -R testuser:testuser /var/local/testrunner/logs
 ---> Running in c925f67b2ab4
 ---> 253132be935e
Removing intermediate container c925f67b2ab4
Step 7 : RUN ls -ld /var/local/testrunner/logs
 ---> Running in 978bc66aa47e
drwxr-xr-x 2 root staff 4096 Oct  1 15:15 /var/local/testrunner/logs

Docker version 1.2.0, build fa7b24f

The host runs Ubuntu 12.04, but with a 3.13.0-36-generic kernel.

Best Answer

Answering my own question: it's declared to be a volume. If you take out the VOLUME instruction, the chown takes effect.

What's more, if you declare the volume after running chown, the chown settings remain in effect.