Liberty container images

WebSphere® Liberty and Open Liberty offer a collection of preconfigured container images that provide different options for Java™ versions and distribution, feature set, and runtime versions. You can use a container image to build and run your containerized applications.

The preconfigured container images contain an International License Agreement for Non-Warranted Programs (ILAN) license. The license allows entitled Liberty customers to use the images under an International Program License Agreement (IPLA) term.

For more information about using container images to build an application image, see Creating container application images.

WebSphere Liberty container images on IBM Container Registry

Preconfigured WebSphere Liberty container images use the Red Hat Universal Base Image as the operating system and are available from the IBM Container Registry (ICR). WebSphere Liberty container images are available in ICR at You can append a WebSphere Liberty container image tag to specify the details of the container image that you want to use as the base image for your application image and pull from ICR. For example;

Select from the following container image tags for the latest WebSphere Liberty release from ICR.

  • kernel-java8-openj9-ubi
  • kernel-java8-ibmjava-ubi
  • kernel-java11-openj9-ubi
  • kernel-java17-openj9-ubi
  • full-java8-openj9-ubi
  • full-java8-ibmjava-ubi
  • full-java11-openj9-ubi
  • full-java17-openj9-ubi
  • latest

These tags pull the latest version because they do not specify a version number. You can specify a version other than the latest version in the image tag. For information about values in container image tags, see Container image naming conventions.

Tip: If you have an IBM Cloud® ID, you can generate a list of the currently available images in ICR by using the IBM Cloud CLI with the IBM Cloud Container Registry CLI plug-in installed. To list the images, run the following commands.
ibmcloud login
ibmcloud cr region-set global
ibmcloud cr images --restrict appcafe/websphere-liberty
Authentication is required only to list the images. You can pull images from ICR without authentication.

When you use the IBM Cloud CLI to list the images in ICR, you might see container image tags that include platform-specific information at the end of the tag, for example kernel-java11-openj9-ubi-amd64. These tags are not intended for use in FROM directives in your Dockerfile. Select from the tags that end in ubi.

Open Liberty container images on IBM Container Registry

Like the WebSphere Liberty container images on ICR, the Open Liberty images are RHEL-based and certified by both IBM® and Red Hat®. These repositories contain two sets of versioned tags that correspond to the last two quarterly boundary images, such as or Each repository also contains a set of version-less tags that corresponds to the most recent fix pack. See the IBM Container Registry (ICR) page on the Open Liberty GitHub repository for the current list of available Open Liberty container images.

For information about values in the container image tags, see Container image naming conventions.

Container image naming conventions

Aside from the preformatted latest tag, Liberty container image tags use the following naming convention.
<optional fix pack version-><liberty image type>-<java version>-<java type>-ubi

If you specify any image tag without including a version number, the latest version of WebSphere Liberty or Open Liberty is included in the container image that you pull. In addition to the latest version, full and kernel images for the two most recent quarterly releases are always available in ICR and are refreshed regularly.

The following tag values determine the resources that are included in a container image.

Fix pack version

The fix pack version value is optional. If you do not specify a fix pack version, your container image includes the latest release of Liberty. In addition to the latest release, the two most recent quarterly fix pack releases are always maintained for the kernel and full image types.

Liberty quarterly release versions end in .3, .6, .9, or .12. For example, if the latest release is, then the and releases are also maintained in ICR. To pull one of these release versions instead of the latest, add your chosen release version to the beginning of any of the kernel or full image tags in the previous list. For example, if is a recent quarterly release, you can pull an image that includes the release with an OpenJ9 distribution of Java 8 by specifying the tag.

In addition to the tags that follow this naming convention, WebSphere Liberty offers a preformatted latest tag that simplifies pulling the full latest release with Java 8. This tag is an alias for the full-java8-openj9-ubi tag.

Liberty image type

Two different image types are available: kernel or full. The full type provides a server with all WebSphere Liberty features and packages installed.

The kernel type provides just the bare minimum server, which you can customize by adding only the features that your application needs. This image type supports the best practice for production images because you end up with a more lightweight image that packages only what is essential for your application.

Java version

The Java version value determines the version of Java SE that the runtime uses. Tags are available for all Java long-term support (LTS) releases that are listed on the Java SE Support page on the Open Liberty website.

Java type

The Java type value determines the type of Java SE distribution that the runtime uses. Current® options are IBM Semeru with Eclipse OpenJ9 and for Java SE 8 only, the IBM SDK, Java Technology Edition.