OpenStack Foundation rebrands as open source software becomes ubiquitous

2020-10-20

The OpenStack Foundation has been reborn as the Open Infrastructure Foundation, or OIF. Explaining the move on a press call on Friday, executive director Jonathan Bryce said it was in recognition of the way that open source software has changed over the decade since the OpenStack project was started by NASA and Rackspace to provide an alternative to proprietary cloud software.

These days, the vast majority of new software is open source, and developers combine libraries and modules from multiple different sources. Therefore, while communities that support specific areas are important at the project scale, the renaming signifies a broadening on horizons, he said.

"We need to make sure we're focusing on the use case and the solution and not just a specific project. If you look at our users, not a single one is writing a single open source project for their needs," he said.

While the organisational structure of the Foundation will remain largely unchanged and OpenStack will still be at its core, the altered emphasis will enable it to raise its eyes above the horizon of low-level infrastructure to consider the layers that sit above and also overall mission of supported projects

COO Mark Collier gave the example of , a Dutch operation offering cloud services from low-energy data centres.

"They are using 50 different open source components from 50 different open source projects. If we were to say, 'don't talk about 49 of those, just talk about ', that wouldn't be very useful to anybody, because that's not how you build a modern cloud. The landscape is so much broader now."

Implicit in this more open approach is a closer connection with other open source foundations, such as CNCF, home of Kubernetes.

"Most OpenStack deployments have Kubernetes running on them, and containers require compute, storage and networking, so they fit together," said Bryce, adding that the 22nd release of OpenStack, Victoria, includes increased integration between OpenStack components and Kubernetes.

Exactly what form such cooperation will take, and how the foundations will avoid poaching each other's paying members was less clear, but Bryce said there's been increasing cross-fertilisation between communities at the developer level, adding that OIF is affiliated with other foundations.

"We're trying to evolve with the times" said Collier. "It's amazing looking from ten years ago to today. Open source was seen as a way to deliver a cheap knock-off of a word processor and now it's recognised as the best way to innovate and deliver the best ideas to the market."

Bryce and Collier announced support for two new projects, , an open-source software platform supporting 5G, LTE, WiFi and carrier-grade networking as a low-cost alternative to proprietary offerings from telcos, and a collaboration between universities and industry aimed at making it easier to launch complex open source projects. They also boasted of four more platinum members: Ant Group, Wind River,  FiberHome and Facebook Connectivity, where Magma originated.

So, OpenStack retains its presence within and contributors from many large organisations. However, last year a former Platinum member Suse demoted itself to Silver, with CTO Thomas di Giacomo explaining it is "" and that customers are moving to Kubernetes, a sign, perhaps that the move to embrace that technology is a timely one.