Balluff - mvBlueFOX Technical Documentation
Using mvBlueFOX cameras In A Docker Container

When developing machine vision applications using Docker containers, it might be required to access mvBlueFOX cameras inside the container. With the mvIMPACT Acquire driver stack this can be achieved fairly easily and this chapter will demonstrate how to build a basic Docker container where mvBlueFOX cameras can be used.

Host Preparation



Host system requirements

  • Windows 11 64-bit: Home or Pro version 21H2 or higher, or Enterprise or Education version 21H2 or higher (Build 22000 or later)
  • Windows 10 64-bit: Home or Pro 21H1 (build 19043) or higher, or Enterprise or Education 20H2 (build 19042) or higher
  • WSL2 backend (For installation please follow: Docker Window Install)
  • mvIMPACT Acquire driver package >= 2.48.0 recommended

Attach mvBlueFOX to the WSL2 Linux distro via USB/IP

USB devices physically connected to the host system are not automatically accessible in the WSL2 Linux distro. They need to be first attached from the Windows host to the default Linux distro via USB/IP. Please follow Connect USB devices WSL2 for implementation guidance.

Start udev manually

udev is needed to identify attached USB devices and to access USB3 Vision™ devices as non-root users with the help of the udev-rules shipped by the mvIMPACT Acquire driver package. However, systemd, which starts udev automatically, is by default not supported in WSL2 distros. Besides, udev doesn't support containers. Since WSL2 distros themselves are technically containers, they are not supported by udev. In order for udev to work in WSL2 distros, the following lines need to be commented out in /etc/init.d/udev before manually starting udev, as shown below:

#if [ ! -w /sys ]; then
#    log_warning_msg "udev does not support containers, not started"
#    exit 0

Then start udev in the WSL2 default Linux distro:

$ sudo /etc/init.d/udev start

Building A Docker Image

The following demo Dockerfile builds a basic Docker image based on a slim version of Debian, where the mvIMPACT Acquire driver package for mvBlueFOX cameras and its sample programs are installed. This Dockerfile can be used in many ways:

  • Use it directly to test your device in a Docker container.
  • Use it as a base image for your device applications.
  • Use it as an inspiration for building your own Dockerfile.

Before building the Dockerfile, please download the mvIMPACT Acquire mvBlueFOX driver installation files from Balluff website ( (user login is required):

  • The installation script:
  • The installation package: mvBlueFOX-x86_64_ABI2-*.tgz (* should be replaced by the version number)

Create a directory called mvIMPACT_Acquire (as used in this demo Dockerfile) and move both installation files into this directory. In this example, both files are downloaded into the Downloads directory and the mvIMPACT_Acquire directory is created inside the Downloads:

$ cd ~/Downloads
$ mkdir mvIMPACT_Acquire
$ mv mvBlueFOX-x86_64_ABI2-*.tgz mvIMPACT_Acquire/

Make the installation script executable:

$ cd mvIMPACT_Acquire
$ chmod a+x

Navigate back into the directory where mvIMPACT_Acquire resides (e.g. Downloads) and create your Dockerfile:

$ cd ~/Downloads
$ touch Dockerfile

Create the content of your Dockerfile. Our demo Dockerfile looks as follows:

# start with slim version of actual Debian
FROM debian:9-slim

ENV DEBIAN_FRONTEND noninteractive

# entrypoint of Docker
CMD ["/bin/bash"]

# set environment variables
ENV TERM linux
ENV container docker

# update packets and install minimal requirements
# after installation it will clean apt packet cache
RUN apt-get update && apt-get -y install build-essential && \
    apt-get clean && \
    rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/* /tmp/* /var/tmp/*

# move the directory mvIMPACT_Acquire with *.tgz and *.sh files to the container
COPY mvIMPACT_Acquire /var/lib/mvIMPACT_Acquire

# execute the setup script in an unattended mode
RUN cd /var/lib/mvIMPACT_Acquire && \
    ./ -u && \
    rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/* /tmp/* /var/tmp/*

At last, build a Docker image using this Dockerfile:

$ sudo docker build -t [image_name] .
Please make sure to call docker build from within the directory where the Dockerfile resides. An Internet access is required for the docker build.

If built successfully, the newly built [image_name] will be listed when calling:

$ sudo docker images

Starting The Docker Container

Since the Docker container is isolated from the host system, it needs to be started with volume mount of /dev and certain cgroup permissions for it to access mvBlueFOX cameras. In order to avoid running the container in privileged mode, which is not secure, it can be started like this:

$ sudo docker run -ti -v /dev:/dev --device-cgroup-rule 'a 189:* rwm' [image_name] /bin/bash


  • -v /dev:/dev: use volume mount to map the host /dev directory to the container, so the container will be able to always detect devices also when they get unplugged and re-plugged at any time.
  • –device-cgroup-rule 'a 189:* rwm': with the --device-cgroup-rule flag, specific permission rules can be added to a device list that is allowed by the container's cgroup. Here in this example, 189 is the major number of the USB bus, * means all minor numbers, and rwm are respectively read, write, mknod accesses. By doing so, all USB devices will get read, write, mknod access. The mvBlueFOX camera can thus be enumerated successfully.


After starting the container, the correct operation of mvBlueFOX cameras can be validated by running one of the sample programs provided by the mvIMPACT Acquire (e.g. SingleCapture):

$ cd /opt/mvIMPACT_Acquire/apps/SingleCapture/x86_64
$ ./SingleCapture

If the attached mvBlueFOX camera appears in the device list of the program's output, access to it in the container by using the mvIMPACT Acquire has been established. Now the mvBlueFOX camera can be used inside the Docker container for your machine vision applications.