The Open Container Initiative (OCI) has announced the launch of the Distribution Specification project. The project intends to standardize container image distribution based on specification for the Docker Registry HTTP API V2 protocol, which supports the pushing and pulling of container images

According to the OCI, while the Docker registry is becoming the de facto standard in the container registry world, it is important to have a common distribution specification to ensure security and interoperability.  

“With the booming development in container and cloud native technologies, the community needs a reliable industry standard for distribution to allow for increased interoperability along with a neutral home to evolve the specification,” said Chris Aniszczyk, executive director of OCI.

OCI is an open governance structure with the purpose of creating open industry standards around container formats and runtime. The distribution specification project comes from key maintainers Derek McGowan, Stephen Day, and Vincent Batts, according to the OCI. It also included backing from hundreds of OCI contributors and organizations committed to container standardization.

“OCI contributors and maintainers have been hard at work to collaboratively drive the adoption of specifications for the container standards community and will start the journey for container distribution,” said Batts.

“In the past when the topic of having an OCI specification around the distribution of container images was discussed, it was deferred as “let’s get the image format defined, meanwhile the industry will settle on a distribution standard”. Fast forward, OCI image format is out and adopted, and the Registry v2 is the defacto standard. There is and will be use-cases for alternate methods and the future will likely hold creative ways to push, fetch and share container images, but right now this promotion serves to acknowledge by the OCI the current industry standard of distributing container images. This proposal also provides the container ecosystem with a means to discuss and schedule extensions to the distribution specification,” according to the project’s GitHub page.