Docker abandons the open-source community: open-source organizations must pay or face account and image deletion

In recent days, Docker has emailed all Docker Hub users with “organization” accounts, explicitly stating that if they do not upgrade to a paid team plan, their accounts will be deleted, along with all associated images.

This new policy does not affect individual free users, who will continue to adhere to the 2020 policy: if an image remains unused for over six months, it will be deleted.

However, for users registered as organizations, the choices are to either pay, download all images and re-register with a personal account for uploading, or abandon the Docker platform entirely.

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Docker forsakes the open-source community: open-source organizations must pay or face account and image deletion

Upgrading to a team plan costs a total of $420 per year when paid monthly, suggesting that hosting public images on Docker may no longer be free indefinitely.

One of Docker Hub’s main contributors, Alex Ellis, expressed his bafflement in a blog post. Although Ellis has known Docker’s new CTO for quite some time, it seems the company made these changes without consulting key contributors in advance.

A more serious issue is that if open-source organizations abandon their accounts, many downstream images may experience problems, including but not limited to being unable to update or use them unless the open-source organization owner pays to maintain the hosting.

Ellis posits that if Docker only applied the new policy to newly registered open-source organizations, it would be understandable, as existing users would remain unaffected. However, current users are now impacted as well.

Docker Hub does not offer commercial avenues such as paid downloads or subscriptions, and Docker claims that authors can only sustain operations through donations. This new fee-based policy is undoubtedly disastrous for many open-source projects.

Numerous Docker Hub users have complained on Twitter, prompting a potential turning point: Docker’s CTO suggested that if organizations are unwilling to pay for an upgrade, their accounts will not be closed or allowed to be taken over by anyone, implying that at least the existing images can continue to be used.

However, this comment from Docker’s CTO is not an official commitment, leaving its validity uncertain.