First, it's important to point out the warning on the dashboard: ''Warning: It is against the Presearch Terms of Service to modify the Presearch software on any node that is added to the network. Doing so may lead to forfeiture of tokens staked within your account.''
Docker is a critical part of the node delivery process and not an arbitrary layer we've added on top. From a simplicity (one command to start), consistency (works the same across all node operators), security (we can validate the environment and ensure no malicious actors), support (we have a small team and supporting complicated configurations across multiple operating systems that don't work the same), and a future-proofing standpoint (the node will need to run several software systems internally for indexing, searching, routing, etc., well beyond a single "node" app, but an entire ecosystem of services), Docker simplifies our ability to deliver and support a consistent and reliable node platform and evolve it to keep the node operator process simple and consistent as we evolve.
Using Docker is free to use. For instructions on how to set up a search node, check out our instructions.