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Getting user-space containers with Singularity - works


Many (most) HPC administrators very much detest the idea to grant any
sort of root privileges to their users. This consequently rules out the
installation of our Debian packages and also the employment of Docker
images for the execution of binaries. Ouch! After all, with this
perpetual avalanche of biological data we are often dependent of some
sort of shared infrastructure for storage and/or computation. Also, for
consistency within long-running projects, one cannot just go and update
Debian packages because of a new project starting. Every project comes
with its own set of versioned tools and data. These are prime use cases
for containers - if they would just work as regular users.

To the rescue comes Singularity. It does what you would want to do with
Docker, without extra privileges:

   * deliver a set of tools and/or data readily configured for the task
   * become Linux-distribution agnostic
   * continue working with Docker images of yours or your collaborators

Our pals from neuro.debian.net are already actively using this
technology and kindly nurture backports.d.o with it. I have also seen
Roland in the changelog. Many thanks! With feedback from Yaroslav I
created a quick introduction to get you started at
https://wiki.debian.org/singularity. ; It is quite an eye opener. Enjoy!



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