Steve Francia

First Docker Maintainers Summit

Steve Francia

It doesn’t take much during an extremely cold and snowy February to entice key Docker contributors and maintainers to get on a plane and spend a few days together at Docker HQ in (sometimes) sunny San Francisco. That’s what happened this past week as the Docker Project team invited all maintainers to a mini-summit following the quarterly Docker Governance Advisory Board meeting. Attendees included maintainers from companies such as Google, Red Hat, and IBM, as well as individual and Docker-employed project maintainers. These maintainers represented a broad cross-section of the various upstream projects including libcontainer, the Docker core, Docker Machine, Docker Swarm, and distribution sub-components.


The two day mini-summit included a full day large group discussion with chief architect Solomon Hykes walking the group through the challenges of the growing set of projects which comprise the overall Docker platform.  Much of the discussion specifically focused on how to best integrate, test, and deliver the various sub-components in a way that provides a high-quality distribution of the various Docker components for customers and users.  Additional themes and topics included growing the current set of maintainers, discussing key focus areas for the 1.6.0 release, and modularization/pluggability of components like networking and storage.  As usual when constrained by limited time, many topics could not be fully fleshed out in person, but several key topics now have a starting point and discussions will continue in the various online touch points for maintainers and contributors. A highlight for many was to be able to meet other maintainers face-to-face–many for the first time–during the various breaks and meals together.  Everyone agreed more face-to-face time will be valuable especially as the project continues to grow and the need for coordination and integration increases.


Day two was less formal and was comprised of a loosely-organized “hackathon” of sorts, where small groups of maintainers spent the day working on specific ideas together.  For example, one group spent some time defining a potential network abstraction/interface as another worked on the beginnings of a plan for user namespace support in the Docker Engine.  Regardless of the specific activity, it was extremely valuable to make progress in a focused, face-to-face environment that will be a springboard for continued development activities even as maintainers return to their respective work locations.


As the summit came to a close, all involved agreed that a regular cadence of maintainers face-to-face meetings will be a valuable addition to the Docker Project. We expect that continued growth will bring additional coordination and integration challenges that can be mitigated by intensive time where the key maintainers can make progress on decisions and have much-needed group conversations and design sessions that will allow for continued success of the overall Docker ecosystem.

by Phil Estes


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