November 16, 2023

5 Fermyon Releases: What We Did at KubeCon

Matt Butcher Matt Butcher

spin component model kubecon

5 Fermyon Releases: What We Did at KubeCon

For us at Fermyon, KubeCon Chicago felt like a celebration. We released Spin 2.0. We got to reconnect with friends we made during our India trip this summer. At OpenShift Commons, we unveiled support for running Spin apps in OpenShift, while NGINX previewed running Spin-compatible apps in NGINX Unit. Finicky Whiskers introduced a new dog character, Ninja. And Karen and I continued our Illustrated Children’s Guide to Kubernetes series with Phippy’s Field Guide to Wasm. Hundreds of people participated in the Spin workshop.

As a startup, this was such a huge boost to our spirits. We’re so passionate about bringing WebAssembly into the cloud as a third wave of cloud computing. And it’s magnificent to have so many people join us on this journey.

We Lived the Startup Life Releasing Spin 2.0

The marquee feature of Spin 2.0 is Component Model support. We planned to have Spin 2.0 released the week before KubeCon, but in our final stages of testing, we discovered an upstream bug that led to degraded performance of Spin under load. So our Wednesday deadline slipped to Thursday, then to Friday.

Then the Friday before KubeCon, GitHub Actions suffered an outage that prevented us from releasing until 5:30 PM. It was a true startup moment when we went full YOLO and released Spin 2.0 at 5:30 PM on the Friday night before we left for KubeCon. What could go wrong?

While I hope this doesn’t turn into a pattern, it was the right call for us to make. Thank you all for upvoting us on Hacker News that weekend. And we were thrilled to come into KubeCon some buzz behind the Spin 2 release.

Here’s a video showing off some of the most exciting features.

And if you are ready to build your first components, we wrote up a quick tutorial on our blog last week.

OpenShift Support for Spin

In Amsterdam, the Fermyon team sat down with a number of OpenShift folks and explored various routes to supporting Spin apps in OpenShift. We already supported many other Kubernetes distributions by supplying Containerd-level support using RunWasi. We just needed to get low-level runtime support bootstrapped in OpenShift.

And we got it done in time for KubeCon, thanks to our friends at Liquid Reply, creators of KWasm. I was excited to get to announce this support from the stage at OpenShift Commons, a RedHat co-located event in Chicago.

If you run OpenShift and would like to try out some WebAssembly workloads, the fastest way to get started is…

NGINX Unit Runs Components

Fermyon has a fantastic working relationship with NGINX. It was exciting to get the opportunity to pair up and introduce Wasm Component Model support to NGINX Unit in time for KubeCon. NGINX released a preview of this new facility, and we built an example you can try out for yourself.

The magic here is that both NGINX Unit and Spin now support the inbound WASI-HTTP interface, as well as executing components. That means the same code can run on both platforms. We’re in the early stages of building everything out, and the folks at NGINX would love to hear from you if you try out Spin apps in NGINX Unit.

Finicky Whiskers: Slats the Cat meets Ninja the Dog

Dog lovers, we heard you! At KubeCon we unveiled Ninja the Dog (again, based on one of our own fluffy Fermyon friends). Players can now select whether to play as Slats or Ninja. At KubeCon we ran a little competition, and the dog won!


The new Finicky Whiskers is live and ready for you to play online.

Phippy’s Field Guide to Wasm

At KubeCon, Karen and I released the fourth installment in our Illustrated Children’s Guide to Kubernetes series. This time, Phippy and Zee join Blossom the Wasm Possum on a camping adventure. Tents are assembled. S’mores are made. Campfire songs are sung. And along the way, Phippy and Zee learn about WebAssembly and how it fits into the cloud native ecosystem.


If you want to hear about the background story of Phippy, a reading of Phippy’s Field Guide to Wasm, and a quick intro to WebAssembly, check out the KubeCon session recording here.

If you didn’t get a copy if the book in person, you can read it online. And we’ll be bringing paper copies to the next several conferences we visit. So if you are at in December, find us and grab your own copy.


We also gave out coordinated mugs, stickers, and Field Notes books. We may bring some of those along to as well.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Pizza!

Chicago was abuzz, and we had a wonderful time. For those of you who stopped by the booth to say hi, our heartfelt thanks to you. It’s always so good to reconnect with old friends at these events. And we’re looking forward to seeing others at and KubeDay India in the coming weeks.

At the end of 2022, I suggested that 2023 would be the Year of WebAssembly. In hindsight, it certainly looks to be so. And KubeCon was a reinforcement of that. Thank you for joining us on this adventure. There’s so much more to come!


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