Running OpenSSH in an Alpine Docker Container

I’ve installed OpenSSH and now I wish to run it as described in the documentation by running /etc/init.d/sshd start. However it does not start:

 / # /etc/init.d/sshd start
 /bin/ash: /etc/init.d/sshd: not found


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  • P.S.

    / # ls -la /etc/init.d/sshd 
    -rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root          2622 Jan 14 20:48 /etc/init.d/sshd

    Contents of /etc/init.d/sshd:

        # Copyright 1999-2015 Gentoo Foundation
        # Distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2
        # $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo-x86/net-misc/openssh/files/sshd.rc6.4,v 1.5 2015/05/04 02:56:25 vapier Exp $
        description="OpenBSD Secure Shell server"
        description_checkconfig="Verify configuration file"
        description_reload="Reload configuration"
        : ${SSHD_CONFDIR:=/etc/ssh}
        : ${SSHD_CONFIG:=${SSHD_CONFDIR}/sshd_config}
        : ${SSHD_PIDFILE:=/var/run/${SVCNAME}.pid}
        : ${SSHD_BINARY:=/usr/sbin/sshd}
        depend() {
            use logger dns
            if [ "${rc_need+set}" = "set" ] ; then
                : # Do nothing, the user has explicitly set rc_need
                local x warn_addr
                for x in $(awk '/^ListenAddress/{ print $2 }' "$SSHD_CONFIG" 2>/dev/null) ; do
                    case "${x}" in
              |*) ;;
                        ::|\[::\]*) ;;
                        *) warn_addr="${warn_addr} ${x}" ;;
                if [ -n "${warn_addr}" ] ; then
                    need net
                    ewarn "You are binding an interface in ListenAddress statement in your sshd_config!"
                    ewarn "You must add rc_need=\"net.FOO\" to your /etc/conf.d/sshd"
                    ewarn "where FOO is the interface(s) providing the following address(es):"
                    ewarn "${warn_addr}"
        checkconfig() {
            if [ ! -d /var/empty ] ; then
                mkdir -p /var/empty || return 1
            if [ ! -e "${SSHD_CONFIG}" ] ; then
                eerror "You need an ${SSHD_CONFIG} file to run sshd"
                eerror "There is a sample file in /usr/share/doc/openssh"
                return 1
            if ! yesno "${SSHD_DISABLE_KEYGEN}"; then
                ssh-keygen -A || return 1
            [ "${SSHD_PIDFILE}" != "/var/run/" ] \
                && SSHD_OPTS="${SSHD_OPTS} -o PidFile=${SSHD_PIDFILE}"
            [ "${SSHD_CONFIG}" != "/etc/ssh/sshd_config" ] \
                && SSHD_OPTS="${SSHD_OPTS} -f ${SSHD_CONFIG}"
            "${SSHD_BINARY}" -t ${SSHD_OPTS} || return 1
        start() {
            checkconfig || return 1
            ebegin "Starting ${SVCNAME}"
            start-stop-daemon --start --exec "${SSHD_BINARY}" \
                --pidfile "${SSHD_PIDFILE}" \
                -- ${SSHD_OPTS}
            eend $?
        stop() {
            if [ "${RC_CMD}" = "restart" ] ; then
                checkconfig || return 1
            ebegin "Stopping ${SVCNAME}"
            start-stop-daemon --stop --exec "${SSHD_BINARY}" \
                --pidfile "${SSHD_PIDFILE}" --quiet
            eend $?
            if [ "$RC_RUNLEVEL" = "shutdown" ]; then
                _sshd_pids=$(pgrep "${SSHD_BINARY##*/}")
                if [ -n "$_sshd_pids" ]; then
                    ebegin "Shutting down ssh connections"
                    kill -TERM $_sshd_pids >/dev/null 2>&1
                    eend 0
        reload() {
            checkconfig || return 1
            ebegin "Reloading ${SVCNAME}"
            start-stop-daemon --signal HUP \
                --exec "${SSHD_BINARY}" --pidfile "${SSHD_PIDFILE}"
            eend $?

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  • 2 Solutions collect form web for “Running OpenSSH in an Alpine Docker Container”

    A container is not a full installed environment.
    The official document is for that installed alpine on some machine.
    With power on, boot up services, etc. that a container does not have.

    So, anything in /etc/init.d/ can not be used directly in a container which is used by boot up service (like systemd, or alpine’s rc*). That’s why you got error messages cause the rc* isn’t installed in the container.

    What you need to do is start sshd manuanlly.
    You can take look on below example:

    Check first is sshd is not present in /usr/bin or /usr/sbin.

    Then, init.d should have sshd only if you set it up to to automatically start wiht:

    rc-update add sshd
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