OpenStack Foundation Takes Another Step Forward

When Rackspace made the decision to launch OpenStack, our top priority was to build a broad community of developers and users who were truly invested in its future.  We wanted to move it to a foundation as soon as we saw that the community was broad enough and strong enough to support such a move.  We initially expected that to be 2013 or later, but the massive explosion in contributors and users prompted us to accelerate the plan.  So in October 2011 we announced our intent to setup an independent foundation for OpenStack this year and with lots of participation and feedback from the community its launch is rapidly approaching.

Today, the OpenStack community took a huge step toward the creation of the Foundation. Nineteen companies including AT&T, Canonical, HP, IBM, Nebula, Rackspace, Red Hat, SUSE, Cisco, ClearPath, Cloudscaling, Dell, DreamHost, ITRI, Mirantis, Morphlabs, NetApp, Piston Cloud Computing and Yahoo! announced their intent to become Platinum or Gold members of the Foundation based on the mission and framework published to date. The list is impressive. Each of these companies contributed to the recent “Essex” release, and each is committed to providing substantial resources to further the mission of the overall OpenStack community.  Some of them have been involved since the beginning and some are relatively new. But most importantly they are all true believers in the mission of OpenStack – to build the world’s leading open cloud operating system.

These companies all believe in preserving the truly collaborative nature of the OpenStack project. They want to codify a structure that maintains the technical meritocracy that has governed the open design and development process since we launched in 2010, while expanding the commitment to extensive community building. They want to make the Foundation a body that represents the three key constituencies in the OpenStack community: the developers (and other technical contributors), the users and the ecosystem of companies building solutions on OpenStack.

Much will be written about the OpenStack Foundation. My advice – read the details for yourself. Here are what I see as the highlights:

• OpenStack is and has always been licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0.  We believe that this is key to enabling true collaboration.

• The three key constituencies in the OpenStack community – the developers, the users and the commercial entities — will be represented in the governance structure.

• When it comes to building the project (i.e. writing code), technical meritocracy has ALWAYS reigned – this is not a new development with the move to a Foundation. The contributors to each of the sub-projects elect the project technical leads who drive the project day to day. The developers build what they believe is critical to build, without interference.  The Foundation will enshrine this principle.

• With the formation of the Foundation, we are investing in community building activities, and continuing to build a broad base of commercial support.  The Foundation will focus on items such as trademark protection, furthering OpenStack’s mission and increasing the user base. And there is now a group of companies committed to funding it.

• Yes, this is a new structure. But we took the best of what worked for other open source projects, measured that against the needs of the OpenStack community and proposed a solution that we believe works; one that we are confident the vast majority of the community will support.

I am really proud to be associated with such an amazing community of individuals and companies focused on the mission of collaboratively building an open cloud operating system. We have much work to do still, but the pace will now quicken to an expected launch in the third quarter.

Many thanks to all of the companies and individuals who have made OpenStack into what it is today!


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Jim Curry is a Senior Consultant with Rackspace. He joined the company in 2006 to run corporate development efforts, which included new business incubation, venture investing activities, and mergers and acquisitions, including the acquisitions of, Slicehost, Jungle Disk and Cloudkick. Three years later, Jim led the founding of the OpenStack project on behalf of Rackspace and was responsible for developing the community until its transition to the OpenStack Foundation in 2012. He currently serves on the board of the foundation. Jim has previously held executive positions with several technology startups, including Bowstreet and Tivoli, which have since been acquired by IBM. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas and an MBA from Harvard University. Jim and his wife Laurie have a son and twins, a boy and a girl. Follow Jim on Twitter at @jimcurry and on his blog at: