Shrunken Docker could bow to devs’ pleas to backtrack over Moby rebrand

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The ink is barely dry on the Docker Enterprise sell off, and users are lobbying to rename the Moby open source containerization project back to Docker – and the company appears to be agreeing with them.

Docker (the company) – or more likely its investors – faced up to the inevitable last week, and offloaded the Docker Enterprise business to Kubernetes and Openstack specialist Merantis. The deal sees 300 staffers shift to Merantis, leaving an 80 strong Docker looking after the Desktop and Hub product lines.

There were many reasons advanced for Docker’s recent slide, including its alienation of its own community. Some saw its 2017 decision to break out the underlying open source components of Docker under the Moby moniker as central to this. In retrospect, 2017 might be thought of as Docker’s high water mark, and at the time, the decision was seen as, at best, creating confusion rather than clarity, in the container community.

So within hours of the Merantis deal being announced, London-based developer Asim Aslam called on Docker, via Twitter, to “rename moby to docker!”. 

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He followed up by opening an issue on GitHub, and explained, “Moby was a confusing rename that largely did not contribute any value to the ecosystem and I’d argue actually hurt docker adoption since it moved this project to something that was supposed to be a neutral home but perhaps on reflection was not as effective as assumed.”

He added, “My opinion is merely that if this is the core of the docker project it should be called docker and be in the most obvious place that developers would look to find docker, that being https://github.com/docker/docker.

And it looks like Aslam’s prayer might, just might, be answered, with Docker’s Open Source Contributions manager, and Moby maintainer, Sebastian van Stijn, replying:

“Thanks for opening; evaluating the “moby” naming and repository structure is definitely on the roadmap. How/when/in what form is still “to be determined”, but will be looked at, and discussed with the project maintainers the coming period.”

Van Stijn added on Twitter, “Untangling the Moby/Docker situation has been in discussions yesterday and today”

You can see the exchange so far here.

Meanwhile, Merantis isn’t letting the grass grow under its feet. We registered for a Merantis webinar on the deal, scheduled for later this week. Opening up our email this morning we were treated to an message asking if we were interested in containerization projects – from Merantis sales.

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