Due to the slow release of Rakudo Star (which actually did release a new
version last month), I had set out to make Docker images for personal use based
on the regular Perl 6 releases. But, as I discovered some memory related
issues, and another branch with
some possible fixes, I changed my
mind to make them nightlies based on the
master branches of all related
projects instead. This way I could get fixes faster, and help testing when
These nightlies are now up and running, available on Docker Hub for anyone to use! You can also find the Dockerfiles I'm using on git.tyil.nl, in case you're interested or have suggestions to further improve the process.
The timing of the (public) release of these images could have been better, though. About two weeks ago, other nightlies were released as well, by Tony O'Dell, as has been noted in the Perl 6 Weekly post. While I greatly appreciate his efforts, I was not going to just abandon all the work I've put into my images. Instead I've tried to make smaller images, and provide different bases than him. Maybe we can eventually learn from each other's images and improve Docker support for the entire community together.
The easiest thing to work on was providing different bases. For now, this means I have images with the following four base images:
This way, people can have more options with regards to using the distribution tooling that they're more comfortable with. One could also opt to use a more familiar or better supported base image for development and testing out their module, and use a smaller image for production releases.
As to the size of the images, Tony's
tonyodell/rakudo-nightly:latest is about
1.42GB at the time of writing this post. My images range from 43.6MB
alpine-latest) to 165MB (
voidlinux-latest). Though this is not a
completely fair comparison, as my images have stripped out a lot of the tooling
used (and often required) to build some Perl 6 modules, making them unusable in
their default shape for many projects.
To remedy this particular issue, I've also created -dev images. These images
come with a number of additional packages installed to allow
zef to do its
work to get dependencies installed without requiring end-users to search for
those packages. This should reduce complexity when using the images for
end-users. If we take the dev images into account when comparing sizes, my
images range from 256MB (
alpine-dev-latest) to 1.27GB
voidlinux-dev-latest). That's much closer to the
If you're interested in trying these images out, you may be interested in the
way I'm using these images myself as reference. Currently, my CPAN upload
notifier bot is using
these nightly images in its
As you can see from the
Dockerfile, I start out by using a
-dev image, and
name that stage
install. I'm still contemplating to include
-dev images, as it seems to pop up a lot, but for now, it's not part of
-dev images, so I install it manually. Same goes for
uuid-dev. Then I
copy in the
META6.json, and instruct
zef to install all the dependencies
Then I start a new stage. I set the
$PERL6LIB environment variable so I don't
have to use
-Ilib at the end, and set a
WORKDIR to have a clean directory
to work in. Next, I set up the runtime dependencies of the application.
I then continue to copy in the
lib directories, containing the
application itself, and copy over
/usr/local from the
/usr/local is where Perl 6 is installed, and
zef installs all its
dependencies into. This way, the
-dev image can be used for building all the
dependencies as needed, and only the finished dependencies end up in the final
image that's going to run in production.
Lastly, I set the build date and time of the image in a file, so the
application can refer to it later on. It is displayed when the IRC bot replies
.bots command, so I can verify that the running bot is the one I just
built. And finally, the
CMD instruction runs the application.
I hope this displays how the images can be used for your applications, and the reasoning as to why I made them the way they are. If you have any suggestions or issues, feel free to contact me in whatever way suits you best. You can find some contact details on the homepage of my blog.