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Docker Open Sources Core Container Runtime

December 14, 2016

Container pioneer Docker today announced that it is open sourcing its core container runtime as a community project. This is big news for the container community, considering that Docker is credited with the rise of the container, and that its container runtime has been viewed as its core product.

The company made this move because the community asked Docker for a piece of code that evolves more slowly and is more stable than the existing solution, explained Patrick Canezon, chief developer advocate at Docker. As a result, cloud providers and others in the Docker ecosystem should be able to build their own cloud solutions more easily.

The plan is to donate an OCI standard version of containerd to a neutral open foundation in the second quarter of next year. The features of containerd will include container execution and supervision, image distribution, local storage, a native plumbing-level API, and network interfaces and management.

The pace of innovation related to containers is expected to accelerate, and both cloud service providers and developers should benefit from this refactoring effort, according to Docker.

For infrastructure operators and providers, this so-called boring infrastructure for the container ecosystem will allow for a more limited feature

Image via Docker

scope, which brings with it more stability; a stable API; a community-defined release schedule; and a LTS policy that’s comparable to infrastructure projects of a similar maturity. It will be able to work with all leading container orchestrators and will be branded separately from Docker.

For end users, open sourcing the core container runtime should allow for greater and faster vendor innovation, as noted above. It also will enable greater collaboration and component reuse among vendors, which should help avoid industry fragmentation. And it will mean that applications can run on any cloud platform.

About 8 million images have been downloaded from the Docker Hub to date. 

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