Docker scoops up Kitematic for smoother Mac compatibility

Startup's open-source tool adds a GUI and one-click Docker installation

The containerization trend has been growing fast and furious over the past year or so in the world of software development, and on Thursday leading player Docker announced a step toward further expansion.

Docker has acquired Canadian startup Kitematic, maker of an open-source tool by the same name that makes it easier for developers to install and run Docker on Mac computers. Now a Docker product, the Kitematic tool remains open source and free, said Docker founder and CTO Solomon Hykes.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Kitematic's staff of three will join Docker's team in San Francisco.

Container technology such as that offered by Docker enables companies to build applications much more quickly than they can otherwise. It allows developers to assemble apps from components and then package them as self-sufficient, portable units that can be run in many different kinds of hardware environments. By far the top contender in the arena, Docker has been downloaded more than 200 million times and is used by companies including eBay, Yelp and Spotify.

Although Mac support for containers and container-based development is also available via offerings such as Parallels Virtuozzo, "it was important to Docker to have containers fully supported on Macs given their popularity among developers," said Jay Lyman, a senior analyst with 451 Research. "Kitematic brings that to Docker."

The deal also highlights Docker's effort to maintain momentum and growth, which "thus far have been impressive," Lyman added. "Widening its developer and technical appeal is one way of doing that."

GUI-driven Kitematic can automatically install Docker on a Mac in less than five minutes, allowing the user to build, ship and run Docker containers from there.

More specifically, the tool leverages Docker Machine -- one of the three orchestration tools Docker released earlier this year -- to configure a developer's Mac as a Docker host and then install and run the Docker Engine. Once that's done, it presents developers with a catalog of curated content including images for Nginx, Minecraft and Redis that they can build, ship and run as Docker containers on their laptop.

Kitematic has proven popular among developers experimenting with Docker for the first time, the company noted, and received more than 2,600 stars on GitHub in less than six months.

Docker has made several acquisitions in recent months, beginning with its purchase of Orchard last summer. That one, which led to the creation of the Docker Compose orchestration tool, was followed by the acquisition of SocketPlane last week.

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Tags open sourceMergers and acquisitionsbusiness issuessoftwarevirtualizationapplication virtualizationDocker

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