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Docker opens online port for packaging and shipping Linux containers

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DockerCon Linux container specialist Docker has launched two initiatives to provide services and quality assurance around its eponymous packaged software tech.

The schemes were announced at the company's inaugural DockerCon conference in San Francisco on Monday and aim to make Docker not only the chief code contributor to the Linux containerization tech, but also a central port that developers can use to store, manage, and acquire applications encapsulated with it.

Docker, for those not familiar with it, is a Linux containerization tech that lets a developer bind up an app and its dependencies into a lightweight container based on Linux's LXC and namespaces, among other technologies. Multiple apps can be run in their own containers on a single host OS, whereas traditional virtualization copies the OS to each VM. The containerization approach has many advantages over virtualization from a resource utilization standpoint, but lacks some of the security and manageability features.

To try and boost uptake of the tech, the Docker team has launched two new services – the Docker Hub Register and the Official Repository Program.

The Official Repository Program will see Docker work with other software companies to create Docker-contained software that is "optimized, maintained, and supported and available," the company says. There will be 15 to start, including Ubuntu, CentOS, MySQL, Nginx, Redis, and others.

"We're launching with a limited set and we have a program in place that will make it possible for any software publisher or community project to become the provider of official builds," explained Docker's chief executive Ben Golub in a chat with The Register.

The Docker Hub Registry, meanwhile, is a website that lets Docker users manage and share their packaged applications. The site links to Github so it can automatically rebuild and update an app's public or private repository when the code is updated to the source-sharing site.

By putting itself at the center of the Docker community, the company hopes it can offer services and support relating to Docker while keeping the tech open source.

"There's a groundswell of excitement from the Fortune 10 on down for what Docker can mean for how they build, ship and run applications," Golub said. "If Docker is successful, we will have enabled the separation of application creation and management from infrastructure management."

Some may argue that has already happened, given that Google uses its own version of Linux containerization to spin up two billion containers per week, but Docker is betting it can make containers as natural a tool in the enterprise data center as hypervisors are today. ®

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