Red Hat Open-Sources OpenShift PaaS And Calls For Cloud Without Vendor Lock-In

It’s official. Red Hat has open-sourced the code to its Platform as a Service (PaaS) product OpenShift as of Monday. The commercial Linux distributor open-sourced the code for its OpenShift Origin product under an Apache License version 2. Developers can now download OpenShift Origin for free and deploy applications on their laptop or behind a firewall. Developers can also deploy OpenShift Origin on top of OpenStack, the open source IaaS platform that has the support of over 160 organizations including Red Hat itself, which is a Platinum member of the OpenStack Foundation that presides over its governance.

OpenShift Origin is open-sourced within the context of a “meritocratic community project, regardless of developer affiliation.” Red Hat’s commitment to a meritocratic governance model for contributions to OpenShift Origin’s code base recalls the OpenStack Foundation’s pledge of a “technical meritocracy” with respect to OpenStack’s software development.

Red Hat will serve as the principal contributor to OpenShift Origin in the early stages, but invites input from the developer community at large. Red Hat’s wiki on the OpenShift Origin community reminds readers of the company’s historical commitment to “the open source way” as follows:

Red Hat is the initial main contributor to OpenShift Origin, and is the initial donor to the community. Red Hat does not intend to unilaterally dictate roadmaps, to institute self-serving governance models or to censor critical commentary. Please remember, the people who work at Red Hat do so because they also believe in the open source way.

Red Hat underscores its intention not to “unilaterally dictate roadmaps” or “institute self-serving governance models” but rather to foster a development environment marked by “good faith, merit, open development, working community, and well written code.

Red Hat’s blog post announcing the open-sourcing of OpenShift Origin elaborated on its philosophy of meritocratic code development by taking a thinly disguised jab at VMware and its control over the open source Cloud Foundry PaaS platform:

The cloud in general, and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and PaaS implementations specifically, should not be vehicles that promote vendor lock-in, nor should they be under the control or “guidance” of vendors. For the cloud to remain open and vibrant, implementations should be truly open, not only in license, but in governance. The OpenShift Origin project sets a high bar for PaaS offerings, developed and governed by developers, for developers.

Here, Red Hat implicitly questions the open-ness of VMware’s Cloud Foundry given the disproportionate influence had by VMware over the Cloud Foundry project. With these notes about the importance of true open source cloud computing, Red Hat appears to be quietly gearing up for a major entry into both the PaaS and IaaS spaces. OpenShift Origin is intended as the product that will lead developers and organizations “upstream” to its commercial variants of OpenShift such as OpenShift Power, which runs on Red Hat’s IaaS platform CloudForms. Moreover, Red Hat’s commentary about IaaS and PaaS platforms that avoid vendor lock-in hint at the beginnings of a marketing platform that positions the Raleigh-based Linux giant as a major player in the OpenStack space.


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