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It’s been five months now since Docker first announced updates to its subscription tiers and generally roiling the tech community, with some calling the move a bit of a “bait and switch“. While the subscription update made several changes, the one that caused all the commotion was the move to make Docker Desktop a paid subscription for some users.

For those companies with more than 250 employees or $10M in annual revenue, Docker Desktop starts at $5 a month and goes up to $21 a month for the newly announced Docker Business subscription tier, according to the Docker pricing page. Businesses falling into that category have had five months to make a decision — will they subscribe, or will they search for an alternative to Docker Desktop?

Well, the time for deciding is very nearly done, as the grace period for Docker Desktop ends soon: Jan. 31, 2022, soon. Surely, you have everything figured out, right?

Well, as if making decisions weren’t hard enough, SUSE came out this week and announced that Rancher Desktop 1.0.0 had arrived.

Now, we’d already discussed Rancher Desktop as a Docker Desktop replacement last year, but that was with Rancher Desktop still at v0.5 and, according to Sheng Liang, president of engineering and innovation at SUSE, “several major features coming before GA.”

“At SUSE, we want to make the experience of working with Kubernetes on your desktop easier and simpler. Those who develop applications or package them up to run in Kubernetes need an easy-to-use local environment,” writes SUSE software architect Matt Farina in the 1.0 release blog post.

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As part of making using Kubernetes “easier and simpler,” Farina says Rancher Desktop uses k3s to give you Kubernetes at the version of your choice, so you can match with the production environment, and offers either containerd or dockerd as a container engine to those using either nerdctl or the Docker CLI.

Among the features being touted on Twitter to boost Rancher Desktop as a potential replacement include the ability to operate on the new Mac M1 hardware. Others, however, say that Rancher Dekstop is even better when used alongside Docker Desktop, rather than instead of.

Of course, when we spoke to Docker last year about all the changes, they (along with a Gartner analyst) asserted that replacing Docker Desktop would not be so simple. Perhaps, as you make your final decision, we will leave you with this quote from Docker CEO Scott Johnston from that interview.

“We’ve shipped four major releases over five years to hundreds of millions of downloads. Never say never — it’s software, and sure, someone could back up a truck of money and throw money at a bunch of engineers and such — but, to assume that overnight, folks can hack together a solution on their desktop with a bunch of open source, you know, just you look at the numbers there,” said Johnston. “Is that the same as five years of hundreds of engineering person-months of engineering investment? I mean, I’ll let you do the math.”

This Week in Programming

  • TypeScript Compiler Opts for Golang Port Over Rust Rewrite: While it might seem that Rust is the future of JavaScript infrastructure, one creator of a piece of that infrastructure decided they would be making the move to Golang instead. DongYoon Kang, the creator of extensible Rust platform SWC, wrote this week that he would be porting tsc to Go instead of Rust, despite initial findings of a Rust rewrite that was 62x faster-performing type checking than tsc. “Eventually, I realized that rewriting a massive project such as tsc would be extremely difficult to continue. But the performance gains were exciting. This led me to try another route: porting instead of a complete rewrite. So, I started looking at the TypeScript source code,” writes Kang. “tsc uses a lot of shared mutability and many parts depend on garbage collection. Even though I’m an advocate and believer in Rust, it doesn’t feel like the right tool for the job here. Using Rust required me to use unsafe too much for this specific project.” Beyond that, Kang pointed to shared mutability and a cyclical mutable reference as further reasons to not use Rust, as Rust is designed to prevent that behavior. The work to port tsc to Go is funded by Vercel and Kang says that they are planning to open-source it in the future, as well as create a bridge to use this new version of tsc with SWC. If having a Rust-based type checker for TypeScript happens to be on your must-have list, however, you could always keep an eye on tyty, the Rust-based type checker everyone was talking about last week.
  • Visual Studio 2022 for Mac Adds M1, .NET 6: While Visual Studio 2022 and .NET 6 arrived for Windows machines last year, the march toward general availability is still ongoing for Mac, with the Visual Studio 2022 for Mac Preview 5 released this week. This preview, however, makes some big moves toward the final release, as it now runs on .NET 6 and natively on Apple’s M1 (ARM-based) processor. According to the blog post, “this change has resulted in some immediate performance wins and lays the foundation for the team to innovate more rapidly in the future.” In addition, efforts are being made to move the IDE to “fully native macOS UI,” a move that they say is 95% complete. Preview 5 furthers this effort with the porting of Document Switcher and Document Outline to native UI, which offers benefits such as providing “a comfortable Mac user experience” and “better support for assistive technologies.” Preview 5 of Visual Studio 2022 is available for download and all the changes are outlined in the release notes.
  • Faster Code Search in Visual Studio 2022: Speaking of Visual Studio 2022, Microsoft says that the aforementioned release of late last year offers an already faster code search of “more than 2x faster for 95% of searches compared to Visual Studio 2019,” and that code search in Visual Studio 2022 is about to get much faster. The recently released Visual Studio 2022 17.1 Preview 3 “introduces indexed Find in Files to make your search experience even faster,” they write, offering a graphic showing the preview returning a result in just over one second, compared to more than 20 seconds for Visual Studio 16.4. The new code search requires a quick settings change, and works by indexing a project at load time in the background and creating an index. “When the user performs a ‘Find’, this index is used to prune files from the search so that it completes more quickly,” they write.

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