[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Docker and singularity containers

From: zimoun
Subject: Re: Docker and singularity containers
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2019 13:09:33 +0100

Dear Mike,

Thank you to raise this concern here.
I was aware of this thread and I do not fully agree with the arguments. :-)
I am doing 3 comments.

First, from my point of view, we need to distinguish between the
"puller" and the "pusher".
And correct me if I am wrong, but one does not need an account to pull
a Docker from DockerHub. Therefore, I do not see the issue from the
puller side.
Because if we apply the argument, do the GPL licensed softwares on
GitHub respect the freedom of the user?

The issue is about the "pusher" i.e. the GNU Guix project. And yes,
the GNU Guix has to accept to run non-free softwares to be able to
push on DockerHub. Is it acceptable?

Hence, my second comment is about the _how_ to distribute. Currently,
there is no free alternative to publish Docker image; even if docker
provides a mechanism to pull from elsewhere than DockerHub.
It is an issue about money and man power. It will be a pity to not
spread enough free software political ideas because the movement lacks
resources. And it is not about be hypocritical, I guess.

If I may, I quote the paper from the Guix maintainers---correct me if
I am wrong. last paragraph from section 5
Proprietary software.
GNU Guix does not provide proprietary software packages.
Unfortunately, proprietary software is still relatively common in HPC,
be it linear algebra libraries or GPU support. Yet, we see it as a
strength more than a limitation. Often, these “black boxes” inherently
limit reproducibility—how is one going to reproduce a software
environment without permission to run the software in the first place?
What if the software depends on the ability to “call home” to function
at all? More importantly, we view reproducible software environments
and reproducible science as a tool towards improved and shared
knowledge; developers who deny the freedom to study and modify their
code work against this goal.

Here, my personal opinion. Today, people think that the Science crisis
about reproducibility will be tackled by Docker and containers. On one
hand, I am here because I think it is wrong and it is not the path to
go. On the other hand, I need to pragmatic: people in labs have built
infrastructures using Docker or equivalent; they wont be convinced
easily to switch and so I think I want to ease the switch in playing
directly in their ground.

Last, I do not understand how to apply the argument against pushing to
DockerHub to the Windows port of Emacs.
Somehow, GNU has to run non-free softwares to provide this port. At
least to launch some tests.

My personal opinion is that it is good. Because this spreads the
message about freedom, this helps people to be aware of the movement,
this should be a first step in liberating users.

Thank you if you have comments and/or if you have arguments that
explain me where it is wrong.

All the best,

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]