Why I'm excited about Atomic for Fedora

Matthew Miller mattdm at fedoraproject.org
Tue Oct 27 22:37:41 UTC 2015

I've spent the last 3+ years asking people what they would like from a
guest operating system in the cloud. Sometimes framed as "Why did you
choose Fedora?", sometimes as "Why didn't you choose Fedora?", and
sometimes basically the generic question.

I'd say that overall, the reason people say that they chose what they
did was either familiarity, or that they found documentation — or
another person — doing a similar thing, and they just followed whatever
OS that had.

When I ask what they *want*, though, there's a somewhat different
story. It's pretty universal, though: a small, simple base without much
risk, and a library of components to go on top of that.

Fedora Cloud Base is a decent job of being a small base, although we
still have a lot of dependency bloat and updates churn. But the library
of stuff — languages, services — is difficult. We've got a great set of
packages, but they're largely irrelevant, because the versions are
usually changing too quickly. Mostly, you've got to bring your own

I'd hoped that we could answer this by slimming down the base and then
offering a wide selection of SCLs on top. But, I don't think that's
really panning out. The base is way less minimal than I'd like, and I
don't know a good way to manage the updates situation. And SCLs are
both still somewhat stuck *and* unlikely to explode (in the good sense)
if they get unstuck.

For people who chose Fedora Cloud already — familiarity, or they found
someone else familiar — we're probably okay. No one has anything
negative to say about the work we've done — in fact, people who have
chosen it generally say good things. I think it's very useful to keep
producing Fedora Cloud Base for that group. But... it's a small club.

So, enter Atomic Host plus containers. This is, basically, exactly what
people have been asking for. The ostree tech brings some order to the
base, making updates more reliable and testable. And containers bring
us the library of components — at the very least making it easier to
bring your own, and ideally providing a new, better way for us to offer
different versions, possibly with a different lifecycle.

That's why I'd like to move the Cloud Base image to a dedicated
cloud.fedoraproject.org page along the lines of
http://arm.fedoraproject.org, and replace Cloud with Atomic Host as a
top level on <https://arm.fedoraproject.org/>, and to rename Cloud WG
to Atomic WG (but still keeping the Cloud SIG to work on the Base

This is all just my 2¢, but I hope you'll consider them 2¢ with a lot
of prior listening. If you have a counter story which will help us
significantly grow adoption of Cloud Base *instead*, I'd love to hear

Matthew Miller
<mattdm at fedoraproject.org>
Fedora Project Leader

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