Richard Bucker

Getting Comfortable With Immutability

Posted at — May 21, 2020

I like OpenBSD for many reasons. For me it is the realization that when the PC-World started we had DOS. DOS was the smallest OS written completely in Assembler. OpenBSD tries to keep it’s footprint as small as possible. Consider that each line of code is a potential bug. But keep in mind that the same thing applies to the configuration. The further away from the basic or recommended configuration the more bugs and vulnerabilities.

Enter ClearLinux. It’s not competely immutable but has plenty that is. This protects the OS and allows the developers to optimize aspects. Back in the day CoreOS was entirely immutable and you could only add docker containers. They were acquired by Red Hat and then integrated with Project Atomic and they produced SilverBlue.

There was a time when I wanted to control every aspect of my user experience. I wanted colors, custom keyboard shortcuts, desktop backgrounds and endless of monitoring tools on my desktop. There were some cool HUD tools which I always wanted to emulate. ROCKSTAR!

After years of system upgrades and lost hours of productivity to migrating these tools and configurations… I have settled on ChromeOS. Partly because I get exactly the same standard user experience on each device, but no lost time when I move from one device to another, and google sync’s my data and experience.

I get a very similar experience with ClearLinux. It’s a clean install and deploy for my projects. Granted I still like the OpenBSD universe and between the two OS I am complete. While the SilverBlue is in the same space CoreOS really did not want the sysadmin to make changes outside the admin… Userspace was for containers. I sense SilverBlue is the same. Docker is another level of immutability but that kind of container implementation is unreasonable. And the container wars have started.