Organizational stabilization has been more of an urgent task for OpenStack than most community, open-source projects because it has grown to fast and so much is at stake in the computer industry. I reported on the creation of OpenStack a little more than two years ago and on the announcement that a foundation would be set up a little less than one year ago. This past Wednesday, the OpenStack Foundation came officially into existence.
Up until the creation of the foundation, the myriad technical and organizational components of OpenStack were coordinated by Rackspace, one of the contributors of the original software (the other contributor was NASA). I imagine that Rackspace’s management was as eager as anyone to hand over official control to a neutral body, because they had to take a lot of the heat for decisions and directions that sometimes verged on the chaotic.
Jonathan Bryce from Rackspace, executive director of OpenStack, talked to me recently and explained that the foundation is starting out with a strong investment of several million dollars, which will enable them to hire four or five full-time staff and get on a firm legal and financial footing. Technical decisions will remain in the hands of the committee currently handling them.
I also talked to Brian Stevens, CTO and vice president of Worldwide Engineering at Red Hat. He says that he has seen many companies step up their participation and commitment to OpenStack since the promise was aired to start a foundation. Red Hat itself was the third-largest contributor to the most recent release and plans to do even more. They have also committed considerable money recently, as well as time from senior management to serve on the OpenStack board. OpenStack enables Red Hat’s products to handle much larger deployments.