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Glyn Moody

Glyn Moody's look at all levels of the enterprise open source stack. The blog will look at the organisations that are embracing open source, old and new alike (start-ups welcome), and the communities of users and developers that have formed around them (or not, as the case may be).

Linux Foundation Celebrates with a Quadruple Scotch

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My last two posts about the Linux Foundation have been about how it is broadening its scope to embrace open projects well beyond the Linux kernel. For example, there was the OpenDaylight Project, and then the OpenBEL. Now we have this:

The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux and collaborative development, today announced the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA) is becoming a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.

More than 250 companies are members of OVA and will contribute to and guide the Collaborative Project at The Linux Foundation. Governing board members include HP, IBM, Intel Corporation, NetApp and Red Hat, who will be joining other community members this week at KVM Forum in Edinburgh.

OVA was originally founded two years ago to help advance adoption of the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor by providing education, best practices and technical advice to organizations. Since then KVM has become one of the fastest-growing virtualization technologies with 50 percent growth in deployments last year, according to IDC. As a core component of the Linux kernel, KVM has grown in popularity among businesses and open source communities such as OpenStack in just the last couple of years.

Here's what that means in practice:

As a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, OVA will continue to advance KVM through increased marketing, education and advocacy. The Linux Foundation is recognized for its functional expertise in helping to educate users and developers about advanced technologies, and its neutral and established position will further support KVM and the companies that support it. The move for OVA to become a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project will maximize reach and further increase understanding of KVM for companies looking to adopt open virtualization technologies.

I think "functional expertise" is quite a good way of encapsulating what the Linux Foundation is doing increasingly: passing on its knowledge about how open projects function to those who wish to apply the same principles elsewhere, often in quite distantly-related areas like life sciences with OpenBEL. As I've written before, that seems both sensible and necessary.

Another role that the Linux Foundation plays is producing useful research and guides, and it's just come out with another, this time on cloud computing (freely available, but requires an email address to be provided.) This is rather different from the usual breathless predictions that cloud computing will take over the known universe (but please don't mention the NSA....) Here's what the Linux Foundation says on the subject:

Cloud computing, like Linux, is fueling dramatic enterprise innovation and growth, which in turn is spurring a worldwide transformation of the technology space. As a result, there are many open source projects emerging to support the cloud and more being created every day. The Linux Foundation's new report aims to help users and developers understand the open cloud ecosystem, including what is the open cloud, what are the projects that comprise it and how to get involved.

As that suggests, the cloudy ecosystem is full of open source projects operating at various levels. The new Linux Foundation report adopts the following systematisation:

The approach of this paper is to provide a general background on some of the fundamental building blocks of an open cloud, rather than serving as a comprehensive survey of all potentially related projects. Projects profiles are listed into five general categories: Hypervisors & Containers; Iaas; PaaS; Provisioning & Management; and Storage.

What then follows is a simple listing of key open source projects in each of those categories. Here, for example, is the entry for Open Stack:

€¢ Description: OpenStack is an open source IaaS platform, covering compute, storage and
networking.
€¢ History: In July of 2010, NASA and Rackspace joined forces to create the OpenStack project,
with a goal of allowing any organization to build a public or private cloud using using the same
technology as top cloud providers.
€¢ Website: http://www.openstack.org/
€¢ Key Contributors: eNovance, HP, IBM, Intel, Mirantis, Rackspace, Red Hat, SUSE, VMware
€¢ Commercial Support: Canonical, Cisco, Cloudscaling, Hastexo, HP, IBM, Mirantis, Rackspace,
Red Hat, SUSE
€¢ Project License: Apache 2
€¢ Primary Programming Language: Python (63%)
€¢ Lines of Code: 1.69M
€¢ Key Users: Best Buy, CERN, Comcast, eBay, Deutsche Telekom, HP, MercadoLibre, PayPal,
Rackspace, Sony, Wikimedia, Workday

Although the listing is quite dry and matter of fact, it nonetheless contains some extremely useful information. For example, things like key contributors, commercial support and key users have never been brought together in this way as far as I know. As such the new Linux Foundation report is an invaluable reference for companies who wish to explore the open cloud in more depth.

The report is being launched today to coincide with the opening of the CloudOpen Europe conference, which is taking place in Edinburgh, alongside this year's Linuxcon Europe. Following these there is the Automotive Linux Summit Fall, and the Embedded Linux Conference Europe, also in Edinburgh. The presence of no less than four such conferences, taking place more or less simultaneously, shows the vigour of the GNU/Linux world. In fact, when I spoke to the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, Jim Zemlin, he told me that the Edinburgh conference is the largest event that they are doing anywhere in the world this year. He also noted that there was a real shortage of programmers in this area – another reflection of the buoyant state of the open source ecosystem.

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