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Moving from docker alpine to slim

I've been running a docker python3.x image for a long time. I've used the base version, the slim and the alpine.

Initially I moved from the base python3.6 to the python3.6-slim and everything went great. The main win was that no change was required in the Dockerfile, it was smaller and more secure (less dependencies, more security, right?)

After a while, I decided to move from slim to alpine, because of the size benefit. While doing the migration I found these drawbacks:

Renaming dependencies. I had to convert from apt to apk for every dependency.

Working with edge. There's always a problem with the edge repository. Sometimes it's down. Sometimes the packages are broken. You have to dig a lot in order to have a proper configuration. Like using --no-cache flag in apk. Or setting up the edge repo, then having to upgrade apk-tools

This kind of problems break our pipeline when there's no new commit. And I don't want this. That's why I've decided to move back to slim.

Don't get me wrong, alpine is great, small and secure, and if you don't have many edge dependencies, I guess it'll work flawlessly, and I would totally use it. But our image unfortunately has dependencies like postgis, and proj4, which fail a lot in alpine.

But my story is not over with alpine, I'll try it again in the future. I know with time it will get better and better, and I'll understand it more and more.


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