Docker Leads OCI Release of v1.0 Runtime and Image Format Specifications
Today marks an important milestone for the Open Container Initiative (OCI) with the release of the OCI v1.0 runtime and image specifications – a journey that Docker has been central in driving and navigating over the last two years. It has been our goal to provide low-level standards as building blocks for the community, customers and the broader industry. To understand the significance of this milestone, let’s take a look at the history of Docker’s growth and progress in developing industry-standard container technologies.
The History of Docker Runtime and Image Donations to the OCI
Docker’s image format and container runtime quickly emerged as the de facto standard following its release as an open source project in 2013. We recognized the importance of turning it over to a neutral governance body to fuel innovation and prevent fragmentation in the industry. Working together with a broad group of container technologists and industry leaders, the Open Container Project was formed to create a set of container standards and was launched under the auspices of the Linux Foundation in June 2015 at DockerCon. It became the Open Container Initiative (OCI) as the project evolved that Summer.
Docker contributed runc, a reference implementation for the container runtime software that had grown out of Docker employee Michael Crosby’s libcontainer project. runc is the basis for the runtime specification describing the life-cycle of a container and the behavior of a container runtime. runc is used in production across tens of millions of nodes, which is an order of magnitude more than any other code base. runc became the reference implementation for the runtime specification project itself, and continued to evolve with the project.
Almost a year after work began on the runtime specification, a new working group formed to specify a container image format. Docker donated the Docker V2 Image Format to the OCI as the basis for the image specification. With this donation, the OCI defines the data structures — the primitives — that make up a container image. Defining the container image format is an important step for adoption, but it takes a platform like Docker to activate its value by defining and providing tooling on how to build images, manage them and ship them around. For example, things such as the Dockerfile are not included in the OCI specifications.
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