Ever since the first version of FEniCS in 2002 (2003), installation has been a challenging issue, and 15 years later we still struggle. The reason is that FEniCS is a complex piece of software consisting of several packages that in turn depend on other packages (which are themselves nontrivial to configure and build).
Recently I’ve been playing around with Docker containers (based on excellent work by Jack Hale, Lizao Li and Garth N. Wells). Docker allows users (and developers!) to run FEnICS in isolated preconfigured, reusable and disposable containers. Running a FEniCS session using our Docker containers is just a matter of typing a single command:
To try out the containers, visit the FEniCS web page and try following the instructions. I hope the instructions make sense and will be very interested in feedback on how the instructions or installation experience can be improved and made as smooth as possible.