Search this site:

Split regarding Docker

I have heard many good things about Docker, and decided to give it a spin on my systems. I think application-level virtualization has a lot to offer to my workflow…

But the process to understand and later adopt it has left me somewhat heart-torn.

Docker is clearly great technology, but its documentation is… Condescending and completely out of line with what I have grown used to in my years using Linux. First, there is so much simplistic self-praise sprinkled throughout it. There is almost no page I landed on that does not mention how user-friendly and user-centric Docker’s commandline arguments are — They let you talk in almost plain[fn]Of course, plain as long as you agree to a formal grammar… Details, details[/fn] English. What they don’t mention is that… Well, that’s the way of basically every command-line tool. Of course, as soon as you start specifying details to it, the plain-Englishness starts dilluting into a more realistic English-inspiredness…

Then… Things that go against our historical culture. It is often said that Windows documentation tends to be repetitive because users don’t have the patience to read a full document. And our man pages are succint and to the point, because in our culture it is expected that users know how to search for the bit of information they are after. But reading documentation that’s so excited with itself and praises again and again the same values and virtues, but never gets to the point I am interested in getting at (be it deployment, interoperation, description of the in-disk images+overlays layout, or anything moderately technical) never gets there… makes me quite unhappy.

Last (for now)… Such a continuous sales pitch, an insistence on the good virtues, makes me wary of something they might be hiding.

Anyway, at least for now, I just wanted to play a bit with it; I will wait at least until there is a backport to the stable Debian version before I consider moving my LXC VMs setup over to Docker (and a backport does not seem trivial to achieve, as Docker has several updated low-level dependencies we are unlikely to see in Wheezy).

But I had to vent this. OK, now go back to your regular work ;-)


David Banks 2014-04-30 03:48:59

Nice post. I had problems

Nice post. I had problems pinning down exactly what made me uneasy about it as well. It’s true that this heavy presence of marketing was anathemic to the traditional free software culture, and is something that we see more and more, specifically in projects that are free software license-wise but are not primarily volunteer managed. I speculate that this gives most hackers a feeling of something trying to be put over on them. It’s not clear to me whether this feeling bears any clear relation to whether something is actually being hidden (and I don’t mean to imply the converse either; it may or may not a useful intuition).

The more alarming thing is that this skepticism towards marketing blather in fact seems to be dying among ‘forward-thinking’ devs regardless of age – the new generation seems to be a generation easily duped by promises of silver bullets.

This may be connected: