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#1 ge∅   User is offline

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Does it sound stupid to use a container system on a desktop env?

Posted 28 March 2018 - 10:40 AM

Hello there,

I love testing Linux distributions, the problem is I also love to work, and my work is jealous of my Linux testing because the latter requires me to reconfigure the same things over and over and over again...

My laptop is not powerful enough to use KVM or else to virtualise another OS and allow me to use all the desktop apps I like (such as Krita ~.^ I'm amazed this kind of things exists on Linux).

I have learned about containers, Docker in particular, and I thought "can't I set up my Samba, NodeJS, Webpack, databases and all the little toys I use everyday, turn them into containers and carry them around across distributions?" Of course I expect some things to still require manual installation, but not as many things.

My main concern is performances: how do containers compare to a complete virtual machine? Then, what difficulties do you think I would face setting this up? Do you think it is worth the time?

I'm also interested in this because of OS upgrades. Contrary to MacOSX (not sure about Windows but I suppose it's the same), on linux it is really not advised to upgrade, you're a lot safer doing a fresh install, so I see containers as a way to make upgrading easier as well.

So what do you thing? Stupid or not stupid?
Thanks

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Replies To: Does it sound stupid to use a container system on a desktop env?

#2 modi123_1   User is online

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Re: Does it sound stupid to use a container system on a desktop env?

Posted 28 March 2018 - 10:52 AM

Virtualbox, or other Virtual Machines install an entire OS while docker sits on the existing OS. So yeah.. you'll see a performance juggle tilt to Docker if your machine is under powered.

Posted Image

https://www.upguard....o-they-stack-up
https://stackoverflo...virtual-machine
https://docs.docker....ocker-container

Though.. I don't know.. If you are just spinning up rando Linux distros I guess it may work to containers and what not, but if you are just blowing them out constantly I am not certain why you would go about trying to install "work" stuff in the first place.
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#3 baavgai   User is online

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Re: Does it sound stupid to use a container system on a desktop env?

Posted 28 March 2018 - 11:33 AM

When I was busy playing with Linux distros I'd just setup a dual boot.

I like three partitions: two boot partitions for different distros and a third shared space. Well, and a swap. By keeping my files on the third share and using links in my home, my setup in a new distro was pretty painless. And, importantly, blasting an old distro didn't involve juggling important files, because only OS files live on a distro share.

In practice I'd live in a distro for a while and then, if a newer one was more interesting, I'd just boot to that one, abandoning the old. Next new disto overwrites the old and so it goes.

If it's linux in linux, Docker can do some interesting things, as you can remote into the container's X server as you would any other box. However, as with any remote X session: not the most robust option. I have VNC'd into containers as well.

Note that Window's Docker support is rather shoddy and, in particular, it's network support is embarrassing. It also cheats and uses some Hyper-V guts for some things, at which point you might as well just use Hyper-V.
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#4 ge∅   User is offline

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Re: Does it sound stupid to use a container system on a desktop env?

Posted 28 March 2018 - 04:22 PM

It would be Linux all the way down ;)

I totally get your point modi. The thing is I am not a 100% dev, I am a designer doing one million different things and abusing automation and servers to get shit done. Most of my apps are installed on a beast desktop machine, but I have learned the hard way that I should not use my servers and developing environment on my Mac, so I have a laptop dedicated for that and it has the nice side effect of allowing me to see the blue sky more often, and I'm really happy about it because I have so little spare time.

Installing an OS doesn't take so much time, I slowly discover it as I use it and my tools and workflow remain the same, so it doesn't disturb me all that much, while making my days more stimulating. But yes, reinstalling my development environment and settings... I'm getting tired of it.

I found this but I haven't read it yet. The little charts are really promising though.
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#5 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: Does it sound stupid to use a container system on a desktop env?

Posted 28 March 2018 - 05:54 PM

Last place that I worked at had a huge (for not really any good reason) push for Docker. I'm just glad that I didn't have to stick around to write & implement SELinux rulesets for all of that. Two handfuls of no thanks.
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#6 ge∅   User is offline

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Re: Does it sound stupid to use a container system on a desktop env?

Posted 30 March 2018 - 02:35 AM

I hadn't thought of security at all and now that you mention it, I am curious about how UNIX users are managed when you use containers, because obviously, when you set up say a samba share, you are going to have a samba user and group, and I personally create at least a guest user and group just to be sure the shell is set to bin/nologin and things like that. If the Samba server is in a container, I'm not sure how it interacts with the system in that regard. But I don't know shit about containers yet, I will look it up. This is one of the big reasons why I try out Linux distributions and why I want to try out Docker: I get to learn new things in the process, and these things are not essential to me, so if I don't forcely integrate them in my daily life, I am not going to invest the effort learning them (and in the "devops" approach which is all the rage nowadays, it's kind of implied devs should be curious about it or even set this in their development environment, because why not).
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#7 ndc85430   User is online

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Re: Does it sound stupid to use a container system on a desktop env?

Posted 30 March 2018 - 04:31 AM

View Postge∅, on 28 March 2018 - 06:40 PM, said:

I have learned about containers, Docker in particular, and I thought "can't I set up my Samba, NodeJS, Webpack, databases and all the little toys I use everyday, turn them into containers and carry them around across distributions?"


This sort of approach is basically what we have at work. Our applications typically have some dependencies like this (database, message queue, ...) and we have Docker images that allow us to create containers set up in the right way so we can develop locally. Our applications can also be run inside Docker containers, which is used for running the apps locally, or more importantly, building them on our CI/CD servers.

When writing my own apps at home, I do the same for any dependencies like the database.
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