Make it really hard to accidentally create a job which has an overlapping selector, while still making it possible to chose an arbitrary selector, and without adding complex constraint solving to the APIserver.

Use Cases

  1. user can leave all label and selector fields blank and system will fill in reasonable ones: non-overlappingness guaranteed.
  2. user can put on the pod template some labels that are useful to the user, without reasoning about non-overlappingness. System adds additional label to assure not overlapping.
  3. If user wants to reparent pods to new job (very rare case) and knows what they are doing, they can completely disable this behavior and specify explicit selector.
  4. If a controller that makes jobs, like scheduled job, wants to use different labels, such as the time and date of the run, it can do that.
  5. If User reads v1beta1 documentation or reuses v1beta1 Job definitions and just changes the API group, the user should not automatically be allowed to specify a selector, since this is very rarely what people want to do and is error prone.
  6. If User downloads an existing job definition, e.g. with kubectl get jobs/old -o yaml and tries to modify and post it, he should not create an overlapping job.
  7. If User downloads an existing job definition, e.g. with kubectl get jobs/old -o yaml and tries to modify and post it, and he accidentally copies the uniquifying label from the old one, then he should not get an error from a label-key conflict, nor get erratic behavior.
  8. If user reads swagger docs and sees the selector field, he should not be able to set it without realizing the risks.
  9. (Deferred requirement:) If user wants to specify a preferred name for the non-overlappingness key, they can pick a name.

Proposed changes


extensions/v1beta1 Job remains the same. batch/v1 Job changes change as follows.

Field job.spec.manualSelector is added. It controls whether selectors are automatically generated. In automatic mode, user cannot make the mistake of creating non-unique selectors. In manual mode, certain rare use cases are supported.

Validation is not changed. A selector must be provided, and it must select the pod template.

Defaulting changes. Defaulting happens in one of two modes:

Automatic Mode

  • User does not specify job.spec.selector.
  • User is probably unaware of the job.spec.manualSelector field and does not think about it.
  • User optionally puts labels on pod template (optional). User does not think about uniqueness, just labeling for user’s own reasons.
  • Defaulting logic sets job.spec.selector to matchLabels["controller-uid"]="$UIDOFJOB"
  • Defaulting logic appends 2 labels to the .spec.template.metadata.labels.
    • The first label is controller-uid=$UIDOFJOB.
    • The second label is “job-name=$NAMEOFJOB”.

Manual Mode

  • User means User or Controller for the rest of this list.
  • User does specify job.spec.selector.
  • User does specify job.spec.manualSelector=true
  • User puts a unique label or label(s) on pod template (required). User does think carefully about uniqueness.
  • No defaulting of pod labels or the selector happen.


UID is better than Name in that: - it allows cross-namespace control someday if we need it. - it is unique across all kinds. controller-name=foo does not ensure uniqueness across Kinds job vs replicaSet. Even job-name=foo has a problem: you might have a batch.Job and a – the latter cannot use label job-name=foo, though there is a temptation to do so. - it uniquely identifies the controller across time. This prevents the case where, for example, someone deletes a job via the REST api or client (where cascade=false), leaving pods around. We don’t want those to be picked up unintentionally. It also prevents the case where a user looks at an old job that finished but is not deleted, and tries to select its pods, and gets the wrong impression that it is still running.

Job name is more user friendly. It is self documenting

Commands like kubectl get pods -l job-name=myjob should do exactly what is wanted 99.9% of the time. Automated control loops should still use the controller-uid=label.

Using both gets the benefits of both, at the cost of some label verbosity.

The field is a *bool. Since false is expected to be much more common, and since the feature is complex, it is better to leave it unspecified so that users looking at a stored pod spec do not need to be aware of this field.

Overriding Unique Labels

If user does specify job.spec.selector then the user must also specify job.spec.manualSelector. This ensures the user knows that what he is doing is not the normal thing to do.

To prevent users from copying the job.spec.manualSelector flag from existing jobs, it will be optional and default to false, which means when you ask GET and existing job back that didn’t use this feature, you don’t even see the job.spec.manualSelector flag, so you are not tempted to wonder if you should fiddle with it.

Job Controller

No changes


No required changes. Suggest moving SELECTOR to wide output of kubectl get jobs since users do not write the selector.


Remove examples that use selector and remove labels from pod templates. Recommend kubectl get jobs -l job-name=name as the way to find pods of a job.


The following applies to Job, as well as to other types that adopt this pattern:

  • Type extensions/v1beta1 gets a field called job.spec.autoSelector.
  • Both the internal type and the batch/v1 type will get job.spec.manualSelector.
  • The fields manualSelector and autoSelector have opposite meanings.
  • Each field defaults to false when unset, and so v1beta1 has a different default than v1 and internal. This is intentional: we want new uses to default to the less error-prone behavior, and we do not want to change the behavior of v1beta1.

Note: since the internal default is changing, client library consumers that create Jobs may need to add “job.spec.manualSelector=true” to keep working, or switch to auto selectors.

Conversion is as follows: - extensions/__internal to extensions/v1beta1: the value of __internal.Spec.ManualSelector is defaulted to false if nil, negated, defaulted to nil if false, and written v1beta1.Spec.AutoSelector. - extensions/v1beta1 to extensions/__internal: the value of v1beta1.SpecAutoSelector is defaulted to false if nil, negated, defaulted to nil if false, and written to __internal.Spec.ManualSelector.

This conversion gives the following properties.

  1. Users that previously used v1beta1 do not start seeing a new field when they get back objects.
  2. Distinction between originally unset versus explicitly set to false is not preserved (would have been nice to do so, but requires more complicated solution).
  3. Users who only created v1beta1 examples or v1 examples, will not ever see the existence of either field.
  4. Since v1beta1 are convertible to/from v1, the storage location (path in etcd) does not need to change, allowing scriptable rollforward/rollback.

Future Work

Follow this pattern for Deployments, ReplicaSet, DaemonSet when going to v1, if it works well for job.

Docs will be edited to show examples without a job.spec.selector.

We probably want as much as possible the same behavior for Job and ReplicationController.