OpenStack spun out from Rackspace control

OpenStack developers plan to start a nonprofit foundation to guide the cloud technology's development

Responding to the rapid adoption of their software, the folks behind the OpenStack cloud software are planning to form a stand-alone nonprofit foundation to steward future development of the open-source software suite.

They will formally announce the foundation Thursday at the OpenStack conference, being held this week in Boston.

Hosting provider Rackspace, which currently owns the OpenStack trademark and copyrights, plans to transfer ownership of these resources to the not-for-profit foundation once it is operational.

Much like how the Linux Foundation provides a supporting structure for the largely independent development of the Linux kernel, so too will the OpenStack Foundation provide the support structure for the third-party development of OpenStack, the founders said.

Thus far, the organizers haven't determined the specifics of how the foundation will be run. They will solicit feedback from users and contributors about the best model to use, said Jonathan Bryce, chairman of the OpenStack project policy board.

"The moment we decided we wanted to do it, we wanted to tell everyone. Otherwise people wouldn't feel they were involved in the decision-making process," added Mark Collier, Rackspace vice president of business development.

Collier noted that the foundation probably would not radically change how the OpenStack software development process is managed.

Currently, OpenStack is actually made up of several different projects, each devoted to building a separate OpenStack module, for functions such as compute, storage and dashboard. Each project has an elected technical lead who manages the project. Re-elections are held every six months. All the project leaders also participate in the policy board, which decides on projectwide issues.

"There is not a lot that needs to be fixed," Collier said. "We just felt that [it was time to] give the intellectual property assets an independent home, and to not be tied to any one company."

Many OpenStack contributors expressed concerned that Rackspace controlled the intellectual property around OpenStack. They wanted to avoid the control issues that emerged when Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems, which had managed open-source technologies such as Java and MySQL.

People "actually called it 'The Oracle Problem," Bryce said. "They are afraid someone, like Oracle, would buy Rackspace."

Rackspace and NASA launched OpenStack in 2010. Researchers at the NASA Ames Research Center first developed the base components of OpenStack, called NOVA, to provide the U.S. space and aeronautical agency with a highly scalable private cloud.

Since the 2010 launch, more than 100 organizations have contributed to the code base or participated in the project in some other form. Both Dell and Hewlett-Packard are building commercial cloud products using OpenStack as a base. A number of startups, including Internap, Nebula and Piston Cloud Computing, have been created to vend OpenStack-based products and services as well.

Organizations such as Disney, Sony, Fidelity and the CERN European Organization for Nuclear Research all have used the software to build private clouds. Rackspace also uses the software to support pieces of its own operations.

"When you look at really successful open-source projects, the least common denominator is always a great governance process and an independent foundation that acts in the interest of the community," said Chris Kemp, who is CEO of Nebula and was the NASA Ames chief information officer who managed the development of NOVA.

The foundation should ensure that OpenStack remains an open platform, from which many companies can innovate and compete, he said. "The interests of the whole will effectively guide the project," Kemp said.

Piston CEO Joshua McKenty also praised the foundation as being an important step, as it should set clear guidelines for what third-party companies need to do to offer OpenStack-branded products and services.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags OpenStack Foundationdevelopment platformscloud computinginternetInfrastructure servicesrackspace

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?