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Docker vs LinuxKit: What are the differences?

Introduction: This Markdown code presents the key differences between Docker and LinuxKit, outlining specific aspects that distinguish these two technologies.

  1. Architecture: Docker is a containerization platform that can run containers on various operating systems, including Linux, Windows, and macOS, while LinuxKit is designed specifically for creating custom, minimal Linux distributions. Docker focuses on running applications inside containers, whereas LinuxKit concentrates on building lightweight, secure Linux systems.

  2. Customization: Docker provides a high level of customization for containerized applications by allowing users to define the container environment and dependencies using Dockerfiles. On the other hand, LinuxKit enables users to tailor the components of a Linux distribution to include only the necessary services and features, leading to highly specialized and minimal deployments.

  3. Use Case: Docker is commonly used for packaging, distributing, and running applications in isolated environments, making it suitable for developers, testers, and operators. In contrast, LinuxKit is more suitable for creating embedded, IoT, edge computing, and cloud-native solutions where a small footprint, security, and composability are crucial.

  4. Tooling: Docker comes with a comprehensive set of tools for managing containers, such as Docker Engine, Docker Compose, and Docker Swarm, providing a complete container ecosystem. LinuxKit focuses on the creation of customized Linux distributions and does not include built-in tools for orchestrating containers or deploying applications.

  5. Community and Support: Docker has a large and active community with extensive documentation, tutorials, and support resources available, making it easier for users to get started and troubleshoot issues. LinuxKit, being a newer and more specialized tool, has a smaller but growing community with fewer resources and support channels, requiring more expertise to use effectively.

  6. Footprint: Docker containers typically bundle the application along with its dependencies, resulting in larger image sizes and increased resource consumption. LinuxKit, being optimized for creating minimal Linux distributions, generates lightweight images with only essential components, leading to smaller footprints and improved performance for specific use cases.

In Summary, Docker is a versatile containerization platform for running applications across different operating systems, while LinuxKit specializes in creating customized, minimal Linux distributions for specific use cases.

Decisions about Docker and LinuxKit
Florian Sager
IT DevOp at Agitos GmbH · | 3 upvotes · 423.5K views

lxd/lxc and Docker aren't congruent so this comparison needs a more detailed look; but in short I can say: the lxd-integrated administration of storage including zfs with its snapshot capabilities as well as the system container (multi-process) approach of lxc vs. the limited single-process container approach of Docker is the main reason I chose lxd over Docker.

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Pros of Docker
Pros of LinuxKit
  • 823
    Rapid integration and build up
  • 691
  • 521
    Open source
  • 505
    Testa­bil­i­ty and re­pro­ducibil­i­ty
  • 460
  • 218
  • 185
  • 106
    Upgrading / down­grad­ing / ap­pli­ca­tion versions
  • 88
  • 85
    Private paas environments
  • 34
  • 26
    Limit resource usage
  • 17
    Game changer
  • 16
    I love the way docker has changed virtualization
  • 14
  • 12
  • 8
    Docker's Compose tools
  • 6
    Easy setup
  • 6
    Fast and Portable
  • 5
    Because its fun
  • 4
    Makes shipping to production very simple
  • 3
    Highly useful
  • 3
    It's dope
  • 2
    Very easy to setup integrate and build
  • 2
    HIgh Throughput
  • 2
    Package the environment with the application
  • 2
    Does a nice job hogging memory
  • 2
    Open source and highly configurable
  • 2
    Simplicity, isolation, resource effective
  • 2
    MacOS support FAKE
  • 2
    Its cool
  • 2
    Docker hub for the FTW
  • 2
  • 0
  • 1
    Open Source

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Cons of Docker
Cons of LinuxKit
  • 8
    New versions == broken features
  • 6
    Unreliable networking
  • 6
    Documentation not always in sync
  • 4
    Moves quickly
  • 3
    Not Secure
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    - No public GitHub repository available -

    What is Docker?

    The Docker Platform is the industry-leading container platform for continuous, high-velocity innovation, enabling organizations to seamlessly build and share any application — from legacy to what comes next — and securely run them anywhere

    What is LinuxKit?

    LinuxKit, a toolkit for building custom minimal, immutable Linux distributions. Designed for building and running clustered applications, including but not limited to container orchestration such as Docker or Kubernetes.

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    Blog Posts

    Jul 9 2019 at 7:22PM

    Blue Medora

    DockerPostgreSQLNew Relic+8
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    What are some alternatives to Docker and LinuxKit?
    LXC is a userspace interface for the Linux kernel containment features. Through a powerful API and simple tools, it lets Linux users easily create and manage system or application containers.
    Rocket is a cli for running App Containers. The goal of rocket is to be composable, secure, and fast.
    Kubernetes is an open source orchestration system for Docker containers. It handles scheduling onto nodes in a compute cluster and actively manages workloads to ensure that their state matches the users declared intentions.
    Cloud Foundry
    Cloud Foundry is an open platform as a service (PaaS) that provides a choice of clouds, developer frameworks, and application services. Cloud Foundry makes it faster and easier to build, test, deploy, and scale applications.
    Vagrant provides the framework and configuration format to create and manage complete portable development environments. These development environments can live on your computer or in the cloud, and are portable between Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
    See all alternatives