Creating scripts are easy. But creating a small docker image is not 😅.

Not all Linux flavors are created equal, some are bigger than others, etc. But this difference is very crucial when it comes to reducing docker image size.

A simple bash script docker image

Given a Dockerfile (change apk to apt for ubuntu):

FROM alpine:3


RUN apk update && apk add jq curl


ENTRYPOINT ["sh", "/app/"]
Base image Docker image size
alpine 11.1MB
ubuntu 122MB

Ubuntu image size is 1099% larger!!!!!!

What about a light python image?

FROM python:3.9-alpine


RUN pip install requests
Base image Docker image size
alpine 53.6MB
ubuntu 920MB

Ubuntu image size is 1716% larger!!!!!!

Should you use alpine image for everything?

From above two experiments, we get:

It’s obvious that alpine has a very significant lighter footprint than ubuntu. But don’t use alpine image for everything. For bash and go, using alpine results in lighter footprint. But for python apps, it’s better to go with debian-based images. This article explains in details why it’s so.