Docker was (and still is) a fantastic developer productivity tool, probably the most momentous change after the introduction of Linux. Then VCs came and gave them $300M: it truly was the beginning of the end.

Yesterday, Protocol published an interview with Docker’s “fourth CEO in less than three years,” which provides a reasonably accurate, if not entirely “candid” account of all that went wrong at Docker.

Let’s be clear: even though Linux cgroups (aka, “containers”) have been around for decades, without the undeniable genius of Solomon Hykes and the early-stage Docker employees, they would have probably remained one of the many more or less ingenious, but hard-to-use and obscure Linux features.

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Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

Personally, I still remember attending one of the first Docker meetups, in a (pretty dingy, to be honest) basement of their tiny office: I think it was Palo Alto, but really the only memory I have of the day was how small the office was, and how amazed I was at learning about this new-fangled thing called “Docker containers.”

As a longtime developer, and someone who was starting to appreciate the storm that was about to sweep Enterprise software, aka Public Cloud (but, back then, it was just “AWS”) the attraction of having this kind of “fully-formed, throwaway, always in a known state” environment, was truly an “aha” moment.

What most people tend to forget is that, until then, the best you could hope for was that your VM’s snapshot was still in a good state, that it would boot up, and that no one had messed with it by installing something or other: having a declarative way of describing your environment, being able to keep it under source control (which, by then, meant only one thing: git) and being able to compose them via the simplicity of shell scripts (and eventually via docker compose templates) was going to completely upend the way we would build, test and deploy our code.

The truly momentous innovation was the _Dockerfile_: it revolutionized the way we think about building and deploying our services.

#enterprise-architecture #docker #startup-lessons #kubernetes

There is such a thing as too much money
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