GitHub has unveiled the GitHub Container Registry, a service designed to improve how containers are handled within GitHub Packages for package management.

Now in a public beta stage, GitHub Container Registry was introduced on September 1; it is accessible through GitHub Packages. Since the release of GitHub Package Registry in 2019, hundreds of millions of packages have been downloaded from GitHub, and Docker has become the second most-popular ecosystem in GitHub Packages behind NPM.

New capabilities introduced as part of GitHub Container Registry enable improved enforcement of access policies, encourage the use of standard base images, and promote innersourcing through easier sharing across an organization, according to the company.

GitHub Container Registry is free for public images. The container registry also offers anonymous access for public container images, similar to how GitHub has enabled anonymous access to public repositories of source code. In conjunction with the container registry, GitHub has published a public image of its own super-linter.

GitHub also introduced data sharing and fine-grained permissions for containers across an organization. By separating permissions for the package from those of its source code, teams can restrict publishing to a smaller set of users or enforce release policies.

Moving forward, GitHub plans to support more standards for cloud-native development including Helm 3 charts for Kubernetes applications, using the container registry for universal storage.

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