Today, Citrix and the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) announced that it will relicense the CloudStack open source project under the Apache License and contribute the CloudStack code to the ASF. Before I explain why this is good for the Xen community and the Open Cloud, I wanted to congratulate CloudStack to become the first cloud platform in the industry to join the ASF.
CloudStack has always been open source, with Citrix as the vendor behind the project. Moving from a privately operated open source community to the ASF has a number of implications: Citrix is giving up control over the project and it is moving to a collaborative and meritocratic development process, which values community, diversity and openness. For a community guy like me this is really exciting!
So why is this good news for Xen? In fact, the internal discussions preceding this decision already made a big impact: more staff within Citrix are engaged with open source and are actively supporting and understanding projects such as Xen, Linux and of course CloudStack. My experience as open source guy in various organisations is that open source and community can be easily made the responsibility of a few people and then be forgotten about. However, to be truly successful in the long haul, knowledge and support for open source in an organization needs to be broad. In the last few months the level of understanding and support for Xen across Citrix has increased hugely. You may not yet see the impact of all this: good initiatives and change need planning and take time. Don’t get me wrong: on many counts Xen is a very successful project. We have an active developer community, we have a huge user base, many successful products and businesses were built on Xen, etc. But the project could have done and can do better!
When I was at Scale 10x earlier this year, Greg DeKoenigsberg from Eucalyptus said in his keynote that most cloud projects are open source today, well sort of! To me that said it all: the more cloud related projects move from single vendor driven projects to independent and community driven projects, the better for the user and the “Open Cloud”. Why? Simple: independent projects increase the user’s ability to be in control of their infrastructure by influencing the projects they care about. Thus, CloudStack becoming an Apache project, is a major milestone for achieving a better and more open cloud. Of course, the same thinking lies behind the creation of the OpenStack Foundation, which we will hopefully see later this year.