Docker Official Images are Moving to Alpine Linux

Docker Official Images are Moving to Alpine Linux

Alpine Linux is actually near and dear to my heart. I've actually started experimenting with Alpine Linux awhile back with several of my projects, then drank the Kool-Aid and became a convert shortly after.

For those that don't know: "Alpine Linux is a security-oriented, lightweight Linux distribution based on musl libc and busy box." The latest version of Alpine Linux v3.3 weighs in at a whopping 5MB. Not bad for a full blown Linux OS considering 5MB is same size as the Windows Start button.

Here is the actual size of the Alpine Linux OS that is available on the Docker Hub -->

I stumbled across a very interesting Hacker News thread where Solomon Hykes not only announced that all Official Docker images will move to Alpine Linux but that @Nathanel Copa the creator of Alpine Linux joined the Docker team.

Currently, the Docker official images are using Ubuntu. As I've indicated in my previous article "Docker OS Base Image Comparison" the race to the smallest container is underway. It makes perfect sense from both a performance and security perspectives to switch to Alpine.

Just downloading the Ubuntu official image from Docker Hub is 188MB and it has been downloaded over 40 Million times which equates to over 7,520 TB of data transfer between Docker Hub and users around the world just for this single image. Multiply this by all the official images and the amount of transfer data is mind boggling.

So how will Alpine Linux benefit Docker Official Images?

  1. Speed in which the image is downloaded, installed and running on your Docker host
  2. Security is improved as the image has a smaller footprint thus making the attack surface also smaller
  3. Faster migration between hosts which is especially helpful in HA/DR configurations.
  4. Your system admin won't complain as much as you will use less disk space

Interested in Helping?

So how can we help transition the official images from Ubuntu to Alpine Linux? Solomon indicated in his HN comment that Pull Requests on the Docker Library is the best place to start.

What are you waiting for? Make the Docker world a better place and start converting this images now.

Hacker News Update

It appears this story was submitted to Hacker News when I was sleeping and now is on the front page! Thanks for all the feedback.

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