Meet The Container Experts: Jonathan Boulle

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background, how did you get involved in containers and join CoreOS?

I started out working with Linux doing tech support for Red Hat back in Brisbane many years ago. Since then I’ve hopped around the world a few times, doing Linux sysadmin work in London, and then a mix of operations and software engineering at Twitter in San Francisco, where I worked on an early application container system (creatively called “app-app, the application application”) that looks quite a bit like Docker or rkt today. Finally, three years ago I joined CoreOS, where I’ve spent most of my time working on projects like rkt, a pod-native container runtime, and efforts like appc and OCI, which are attempting to define in an open way what application containers really are under the hood.

Q2. You are based in Berlin, how is the container ecosystem evolving there and in Europe?

Berlin is a really exciting place to be for open source software — there’s a vibrant FOSS community in Europe with great events like FOSDEM and a lot of community meet-ups. While in containers in particular a lot of the “big players” (like Docker, Red Hat, CoreOS, Google, Cloud Foundry) are still based in the US, we’re seeing a growing number of people in the community based out the UK, Italy, Poland, and of course Berlin itself. Projects like Kubernetes are definitely just as “hot” here as they are in the US.

Is there someone in the container community who you admire for their work?

I’d have to give a shout-out to Vincent Batts who works at Red Hat out of North Carolina. Vincent has been involved with the container ecosystem for years, making a lot of critical early contributions to the Docker project and then being heavily involved in things like appc and OCI. As well as having a logical, methodical approach to dealing with technical questions, and always being mindful of the bigger picture, he’s also just a really patient and amiable person — often a much-needed presence in contentious container discussions!

Without giving too much away, what three things will people learn from your Container Camp AU talk?

The goal of standardising containers is, ultimately, to make them boring: write down how a bunch of files and metadata fit together and describe how tools can understand them. But in my talk I’m hoping to make things a bit more exciting, by talking about a new metaphor I’ve been exploring that’s a bit more lively than the humble shipping container. Hopefully people will come away understanding why container standards are important, what we’re trying to achieve in the OCI, and finally, with a new appreciation for pianos..


Join Jonathan for his talk OCI and Open Container Standards at Container Camp AU on 22–24 at Container Camp Sydney on May 22–24th. Tickets available here.