Docker Founder Must Right His Ship - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Cloud // Infrastructure as a Service
Commentary
12/5/2014
12:02 PM
Charles Babcock
Charles Babcock
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
50%
50%

Docker Founder Must Right His Ship

After some controversy this week, Docker needs to show it has the maturity needed to manage an open source project.

to take Docker's code and fork it. Technically speaking, CoreOS has not done that. There's no Docker code acknowledged in Rocket, so let's say it's come up with its own container runtime. It has a right to do so -- even if it wanted to begin with Docker code.

Open source communities have made explicit the right of partners and participants to take source code and commercialize it. One reason they come into existence is to give their members the opportunity to do so, and numerous projects have thrived with the approach. The rules for doing so vary with the open source license, but the core leadership of any project has to be tolerant of that activity and continue to view contributions on their merits. It's very adult behavior to do so, and Hykes tripped himself up by not understanding this.

CoreOS's announcement came the same week as DockerCon Europe, and Hykes viewed CoreOS's move as an effort to undercut Docker presentations there. In fact, there is no "correct" time to break away from an established project to start your own. You simply do it, put out your goals, and highlight your profile as best you can, hoping to attract contributors.

Matt Asay, VP of mobile at Adobe and with a decade of earlier experience with Canonical and other open source suppliers, responded Thursday with a blog on ReadWrite: "When it comes to crisis management, Docker hasn't done so well lately. In a blog post and then a series of Twitter broadsides (the modern-day equivalent of the rashly written 'reply all' email), Docker founder Solomon Hykes ripped into critics, competitors, and interested onlookers, challenging the integrity of CoreOS, which had just announced Rocket."

The developer comments on Hacker News alone should have told Hykes he was treading the wrong path. "Yes, there is some mild-mannered disparagement in the announcement, but it's hard to characterize it as 'slinging mud,' and it's not really fair to disparage it with the name-calling you're injecting," wrote Vacri.

Hykes' Hacker News post drew developers' comments supporting Docker, but he also elicited this comment: "CoreOS made a grand announcement, and yes it competes with Docker ... but just let it play out. Frankly, there are a lot of things Rocket aims to do that are more appealing to me. Security being one of them, and a standardized container specification is another. If anything, it will make Docker compete better," wrote Alupis.

Slightly worse than Hykes' "slinging mud" was a claim, started by an unknown party, that Sequoia, which the lead investor in Docker's $40 million round of venture capital in September, was withdrawing as an investor in CoreOS. The charge that Sequoia had resigned its CoreOS board seat was slinging mud, especially considering that Sequoia didn't have a board seat.

All is not lost, and I'm sure the good ship Docker Inc. will right itself shortly, hopefully with its container cargo intact. In the seas of software development there are tempests, and sometimes there are real storms. It's hard to maintain your balance when success comes quickly -- and accompanied by a $40 million thrust of venture funding. But in the open source world, that's what's required, and that's what Hykes and Docker still need to show us they can do.

Our latest survey shows growing demand, fixed budgets, and good reason why resellers and vendors must fight to remain relevant. One thing's for sure: The data center is poised for a wild ride, and no one wants to be left behind. Get the Research: 2014 State Of The Data Center report today. (Free registration required.)

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
12/9/2014 | 2:22:09 PM
Containers too important to be left to the experts
For additional comment on this rift, see Matt Asay's experienced point of view: How Not To Manage An Open Source Community, at http://readwrite.com/2014/12/04/docker-coreos-how-not-to-manage-open-source. InformationWeek is seeking additional outside comment on Rocket and Docker in the belief that dense computing via containers is too important to be left to the technology generals. Solomon Hykes comments below. Sebastian Stadil, the cloud veteran at Scalr, is being solicited to bring his experience to bear on this topic; others are welcome to express their point of view. Contact [email protected]
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
12/8/2014 | 1:52:19 PM
Solomon Hykes responds
In a serie of Twitter posts Dec. 7, Solomon Hykes responded to the CoreOS ciriticism of the Docker project. Between 11:15 and 11:30 a.m., he issued a series of Twitter posts, which said in aggregate:

"Hey Charles, thanks for the detailed write-up on the recent criticism of Docker. I thought I'd clarify an important point...  The entire point of CoreOS is that Docker somehow recently evolved to handle build+ship+run. In fact it has done so since day 1. Literally everything CoreOS says about Docker's design has been true for at least 18 months. They had countless opportunities to bring it up but never did. Example: we held our first governance board last month. The minutes are public. You can see that CoreOS said nothing at all. Why is it that, if the topic was so important to them, they failed to bring it up at the every event designed to listen to such criticism?"
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
12/5/2014 | 12:45:40 PM
'It's been difficult for others to make contributions...'
I think Red Hat's Lars Hermann hit the nail on the head when he said Docker has made it easy to use Linux containers but "it's on a path to go from a formatting system and set of tools to a platform," with the tools hard-wired in. As a consequence, "it's been difficult for others in the Docker community to make contributions."
Laurianne
50%
50%
Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
12/5/2014 | 12:30:47 PM
Docker: Next?
Balanced and thoughtful analysis, Charlie. What do you want to see Docker do next, readers?
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
Pandemic Responses Make Room for More Data Opportunities
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/4/2021
Slideshows
10 Things Your Artificial Intelligence Initiative Needs to Succeed
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/20/2021
News
Transformation, Disruption, and Gender Diversity in Tech
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  5/6/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll