Difference between Alpine and Debian based Docker images

Currently, We at Astronomer maintain and support Docker images based on 2 Linux flavors, which are:

  • Debian
  • Alpine

One of the most frequent questions which we have come across from several users is the difference between these 2 Docker images.

Hence listing down points to select according to your requirement.

Debian(Buster) pros:

  • vastly larger dev & user community
  • more packages
  • more testing
  • more derived distributions
  • more likely to still be in robust health in 10 years
  • working towards reproducible builds
  • better documentation
  • libc(glibc in case of Debian)more compatible than musl, less likely to trigger bugs.
  • more trustworthy infrastructure
  • Debian is common base OS for bare metal, virtual machines, and docker

Alpine pros:

  • lighter: community obsessed with footprint
  • musl: more efficient libc alternative
  • simpler init system: OpenRC instead of systemd

Alpine: https://hub.docker.com/_/alpine?tab=description
Buster: https://www.debian.org/distrib/

Note: Alpine Linux predates Docker, having been first released in 2005, one year after Ubuntu appeared on the scene. :slightly_smiling_face:

Link for latest images: