Revisiting Dockerfiles in Open Source Software Over Time
Docker is becoming ubiquitous with containerization for developing and deploying applications. Previous studies have analyzed Dockerfiles that are used to create container images in order to better understand how to improve Docker tooling. These studies obtain Dockerfiles using either Docker Hub or Github. In this paper, we revisit the findings of previous studies using the largest set of Dockerfiles known to date with over 9.4 million unique Dockerfiles found in the World of Code infrastructure spanning from 2013-2020. We contribute a historical view of the Dockerfile format by analyzing the Docker engine changelogs and use the history to enhance our analysis of Dockerfiles. We also reconfirm previous findings of a downward trend in using OS images and an upward trend of using language images. As well, we reconfirm that Dockerfile smell counts are slightly decreasing meaning that Dockerfile authors are likely getting better at following best practices. Based on these findings, it indicates that previous analyses from prior works have been correct in many of their findings and their suggestions to build better tools for Docker image creation are further substantiated.