☁ Developers, developers, developers 👩‍💻 Docker 🐳 Kubernetes

“Docker, a highly touted unicorn, is losing the majority of its revenue by selling off its Docker Enterprise Platform”

So, I’m reinstalling Docker for desktop and discover the following message on Docker’s website:

Mirantis Acquires the Docker Enterprise Platform Business

What is Docker :whale:?

According to opensource.com:

Docker is a tool designed to make it easier to create, deploy, and run applications by using containers. Containers allow a developer to package up an application with all of the parts it needs, such as libraries and other dependencies, and ship it all out as one package.

In the world of app development - serverless or not - things move fast. Most of us heard of Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD, VHS vs Beta. Also, Netscape vs Internet Explorer, Windows vs Mac.

User adoption can mean $1B or $10B or nothing. A company can effectively control open-source software but if it’s not helping bring in revenue, it can’t grow to meet VCs’ expectations.

“They [Docker] were fighting to be the industry’s preferred platform for containers but they lost that battle to Kubernetes,” Chen said. “They had invested a lot of time and money into the platform and once they saw people were using Kubernetes instead and tried to switch to include Kubernetes on its own platform it was too late.” [source - https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2019/11/14/how-google-trampled-the-hopes-of-this-high-profile.html]

28 million users store all most of our code on Github - and that probably includes :freetrade: . So Microsoft buys it for $7.5B in 2018. (Gitlab becomes popular for a few hours).

So, developers - like users - are kind of a big deal. And that means $Bs in potential revenue and/or data and/or how the future products will be shaped.

Apple has just changed its MacBook Pro’s keyboard and added the physical ESC key back to the most expensive laptop. Why?

Because developers.

And designers, creators, musicians,…

The Mac business is a huge :money_with_wings: :cow2: for Apple:

Meanwhile, Microsoft keeps releasing new Surface Pros - “come to the dark our side, nerds, we own VS Code and Github now”.

Ok, I still don’t get Docker but what is Kubernetes?

If Docker is a like a ship :ship: with containers with goods on it, Kubernetes is the captain :wheel_of_dharma: of the fleet. The name itself actually means captain, apparently. Feel free to correct this analogy @Ian , I’m not a back-end person, I write poorly written code.

From what I hear, Kubernetes is awesome.

… Containers themselves, and the developer toolchain that make them easy to use, aren’t the full story, however. To build complex applications requiring different components spanning multiple containers on multiple machines, you need tools to manage and orchestrate your containers. … Kubernetes, in short, is an open source system for managing clusters of containers. To do this, it provides tools for deploying applications, scaling those application as needed, managing changes to existing containerized applications, and helps you optimize the use of the underlying hardware beneath your containers. [source: What is Kubernetes? | Opensource.com]

It’s open source and works on the cloud.

And the business of cloud is big business. What happens when you send a tweet?

Both Docker and Kubernetes provide less friction - and thus minimise complexity - and better experience for developers and users alike. The apps that we use daily and people who write them - and “ship:passenger_ship: them - depend on that stuff.

Why is Docker struggling as a business?

Apparently, it’s because of the captain himself - Mr Kubernetes :wheel_of_dharma:

Analysis of the Docker Enterprise acquisition:


The once high-flying San Francisco-based software container platform pioneer has sold off its Docker Enterprise platform to Campbell-based Mirantis, the companies said Wednesday. Terms were not disclosed.

The company also named its third CEO in less than three years, promoting product development executive Scott Johnston as it seeks to restructure its business. He replaces former Hortonworks CEO Rob Bearden, whowas named to the position in May.

Docker, a highly touted unicorn, is losing the majority of its revenue by selling off its Docker Enterprise Platform, said Gary Chen, a research director at IDC, an acknowledgment that it can’t compete with Google’s open-source platform, Kubernetes. Docker helped to pioneer the use of “containers” in software, which helps with flexibility and portability of applications but has struggled to find a sustainable business model, especially as Google’s technology has grown in popularity.

“They were fighting to be the industry’s preferred platform for containers but they lost that battle to Kubernetes,” Chen said. “They had invested a lot of time and money into the platform and once they saw people were using Kubernetes instead and tried to switch to include Kubernetes on its own platform it was too late.”

Docker secured $35 million in new financing from its previous investors Benchmark Capital and Insight Partners. The company has raised a total of $307.9 million, including this most recent funding, according to Crunchbase.

Docker will now be left with its existing products Docker Desktop and Docker Hub business, which is a small part of its operations. The company can try to grow these products itself or use acquisitions to bolster those efforts, Chen noted.


Which publicly traded companies have the best developer adoption?

As far as I understand, developer tools move in and out of style - slower than in the fashion world but they don’t stay still. For example, some relatively old languages are still in top five, such as Java, C, C++, Python, and R, according to IEEE:

But newer languages, such as Swift and Go, are closing in. And people who still use Matlab are bonkers.

You can check who the :coffee: language belongs to. It’s not an indicator of success though.

Some or most tech-driven companies probably put these tools together - like lego blocks - and make new products as intermediate or top or bottom layers.

So, I can do the homework for you but I’d rather show the train :steam_locomotive: of thought :thought_balloon::

Mobile app dev:

  • :freetrade: has apps for iOS and Android.
  • Use google to check the number of users on either platform in the US, Europe, Asia, Africa, and beyond.
  • Check who effectively operates iOS and Android and how they make money off either platforms. There’re probably plenty of news articles from Wired, Arstechnica, etc that cover the high lever stuff. Some Medium blog posts may go deeper.

Developer environments/IDEs:

Web frameworks/libraries:

  • Web dev is big.
  • A lot of independent open source stuff. Node.is is quite popular, for example, but I’m not a web dev.
  • Some popular open source stuff is “owned” by the tech giants.
  • This Github “most starred” :star: repo list as an indicator for repository popularity, e.g.:

(source - Search · stars:>100 · GitHub)

  • Some companies open source stuff without making much if not any money. But this way they can also attract talent. Think Airbnb, Uber, who core business is not in making software or selling ads.

AI, cloud:

  • The second thing from the above image is actually the most used framework for machine learning in production. Look up who it “belongs” by googling it.
  • There are a few alternatives to that thing - you can google it too. The “owner” of the 2nd largest one may surprise you.
  • Apps are run on servers, the cloud. Check who the top cloud providers are then check what kind of tech stacks these cloud providers use - using google.


  • Use google to find out which tech companies’ employees contribute to open source software the most.

Other stuff:
:woman_shrugging: I don’t really know that much about software. I user internet search a lot.

These are just some of the examples of how you may get a high level understanding of trends - all without leaving your house.

Hope this helps.


I’d mention Atlassian. They own Confluence (company wikipedia), Jira and Bitbucket (code repos). Especially the first two are massively important for many businesses.


Probably Amazon if you take into account AWS, Alphabet / GCP and Microsoft / Azure are pretty big too.

Not sure off the top of my head if Pivotal is publicly traded.

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yeah but Confluence is getting killed by Notion. Dunno who will be using Confluence 4 years from now

I think Elastic, Datadog and PagerDuty are quite popular with developers! They’re all quite successful companies in their respective industries.