Sunday, July 09, 2023

Installing and running linux using docker images

Found  Debootstick - previously used vmdb for same purpose.

Mainstream linux install is stuck in 1992, with a CD-compatible image running an 'installer' that asks 10 questions and installs old games and office applications in case you may need them.  And assuming you are lucky to have one computer - which you may want to dual boot with Windows - and will spend quality time manually configuring and and taking care of it.

Raspberri Pi, ChromeOS, Android, OpenWRT use 'image' install, where an image is just copied to disk. The booting 'glue' code can be simple ( EFI, kernel, firmware images ) or fancy - encrypted disk, A/B kernel, verified R/O rootfs. But after boot - you still have about the same rootfs you would run in docker or in a VM. 

That's what debootstick and vmdb can automate - a USB stick running a customized image with my SSH authorized keys and minimal set of apps to boot and 'dd' or flash on the few servers/laptops/routers I use. 

I use Debian and OpenWRT - the real value of distributions is still patching/building/testing the core libraries and kernels. 

OCI images are ubiquitous - there are plenty of automation tools and infra, can be tested, customized - and runs more securely on both home machines in docker and in K8S. 

Another recent find is KasmVMC - viewer/client is any browser, more optimized wire protocol ( but I don't think it's real WebRTC - and seems to be X11 only, no wayland yet). But most important the maintain nightly builds of common applications as docker images - install on any server or in K8S and use on any laptop.  The tricky part remains getting some ACME certificates - if only it had an Istio gateway in front... Very curious how it'll impact performance - but still looking for an equivalent using real WebRTC/Wayland and with same docker-image set.

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