Talos was an automaton created by the Greek God of the forge to protect the island of Crete. He would patrol the coast and enforce laws throughout the land. We felt it was a fitting name for a security focused operating system designed to run Kubernetes.
Why no shell or SSH?
We would like for Talos users to start thinking about what a “machine” is in the context of a Kubernetes cluster. That is that a Kubernetes cluster can be thought of as one massive machine and the nodes merely as additional resources. We don’t want humans to focus on the nodes, but rather the machine that is the Kubernetes cluster. Should an issue arise at the node level, osctl should provide the necessary tooling to assist in the identification, debugging, and remediation of the issue. However, the API is based on the Principle of Least Privilege, and exposes only a limited set of methods. We aren’t quite there yet, but we envision Talos being a great place for the application of control theory in order to provide a self-healing platform.
How is Talos different than CoreOS/RancherOS/Linuxkit?
Talos is similar in many ways, but there are some differences that make it unique. You can imagine Talos as a container image, in that it is immutable and built with a single purpose in mind. In this case, that purpose is Kubernetes. Talos tightly integrates with Kubernetes, and is not meant to be a general use operating system. This allows us to dramatically decrease the footprint of Talos, and in turn improve a number of other areas like security, predictability, and reliability. In addition to this, interaction with the host is done through a secure gRPC API. If you want to run Kubernetes with zero cruft, Talos is the perfect fit.