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InfoQ Homepage News AWS Announces Finch 1.0, an Open Source Client for Container Development

AWS Announces Finch 1.0, an Open Source Client for Container Development

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Recently, AWS announced the general availability of Finch, an open-source tool that aims to simplify container development on macOS. Finch allows users to build, run, and publish Linux containers on their macOS, and interact with container registries such as Amazon ECR.

Finch is a command line tool that integrates with other open-source projects such as Limanerdctl. Finch also supports AWS Cloud Development Kit(CDK), which can use Finch to build container images for AWS stacks. Phil Estes, principal engineer at AWS, discussed this release in a blog post.

Finch 1.0 release focuses on feature completeness, stability, performance, and ease of debugging. There are new features such as container image signingSeekable OCI (SOCI) support, environment variable passthrough, Amazon ECR credential helper integration, and experimental support for Apple’s Virtualization Framework. Finch relies on nerdctl for essential commands like build, run, push, and pull, utilizing containerd for container management and BuildKit for Open Container Initiative (OCI) image builds. These components operate in a virtual machine, managed by Lima.

The Seekable OCI, developed by AWS as an open-source technology, speeds up container launch times through the lazy loading of container images. This involves creating a file index within the container image, known as the Seekable OCI index. In a Reddit post, Reddit user Xtrearer shared their experience, noting a reduction in task startup time from 50 seconds to 14 seconds when using AWS Fargate with Seekable OCI.

In the latest release, AWS CDK enables building container images when necessary. The integration with AWS CDK empowers Finch to serve as an alternative to Docker in constructing AWS CDK stacks that require image assets.

Finch has incorporated persistent disk support to ensure users do not lose their work during Finch upgrades. Additionally, a benchmark tool runs with each commit to verify the preservation of existing performance metrics.

Estes noted that the recent release has taken the community feedback into account and addressed related issues. It also features the ability to generate support bundles for troubleshooting, encompassing a compilation of Finch-related logs and configurations to aid in issue debugging.

Finch can be installed from GitHub or Homebrew. There are signed, installable binaries with every release on GitHub. Homebrew users can install Finch using brew install Finch .

All development and discussions related to Finch happen within the GitHub repositories. Estes highlighted that the Finch community welcomes contributions in the form of ideas, bug reports, and pull requests from anyone interested. To engage with the Finch community, interested readers can join the CNCF Slack workspace's #finch channel for discussions on feedback or ideas.

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