Docker Machine “client is newer than server” error

Docker 1.9.0 is getting ready to be released. Docker Release Candidate builds can be downloaded from Matching Docker Machine Release Candidate builds can be downloaded from

So, you downloaded Docker Machine and Docker CLI Release Candidate build. The latest one at this time is 1.9.0 RC4 for Docker and 0.5.0 RC4 for Docker Machine.

Download is pretty straight forward:

And now Docker Machine:

A big change in Docker Machine is where implementation of drivers such as virtualbox, digitalocean, amazonec2, etc are no longer packaged in the main binary. Instead the distribution is a zip bundle with multiple drivers packaged and referenced from the main binary. These are now packaged separately and has the following benefits:

  1. Each driver can evolve rapidly without waiting for merging into upstream
  2. Additional drivers can be written and used without merging into the upstream
  3. New version of the drivers can be released more frequently. Hopefully more clarity will be available on how these drivers will be distributed.

That’s why installation is slightly different and looks like:

After installation, the Docker Machine can be created as:

And Docker CLI is configured to talk to this machine as:

But now when you try to see the list of images on this machine as docker images, it gives the following error:

This was filed as #2147.

Fortunately, the fix is rather simple even though non-intuitive. Docker Machine needs to be created as:

This is so because use a RC Docker binary require to specify to use a release candidate ISO. This can be done by using -virtualbox-boot2docker-url option as shown.

Now when the Docker Machine is created this way, the empty list of images is shown correctly:

Voila, back in business!

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2 thoughts on “Docker Machine “client is newer than server” error

  1. I ran docker 1.8 on OSX and after upgrading with the installer I had the same error. I was able to resolve it by running “docker-machine upgrade default”

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