Why CloudStack joining Apache is good news!

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.

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About Lars Kurth

Lars Kurth is a highly effective, passionate community manager with strong experience of working with open source communities (Symbian, Symbian DevCo, Eclipse, GNU) and currently is community manager for xen.org. Lars has 9 years of experience building and leading engineering teams and a track record of executing several change programs impacting 1000 users. Lars has 16 years of industry experience in the tools and mobile sector working at ARM, Symbian Ltd, Symbian Foundation and Nokia. Lars has strong analytical, communication, influencing and presentation skills, good knowledge of marketing and product management and extensive background in C/C , Java and software development practices which he learned working as community manager, product manager, chief architect, engineering manager and software developer. If you want to know more, check out uk.linkedin.com/in/larskurth. Personally, Lars has a wide range of interests such as literature, theatre, cinema, cooking and gardening. He is particularly fascinated by orchids and carnivorous plants and has built a rather large collection of plants from all over the world. His love for plants extends into a passion for travel, in particular to see plants grow in their native habitats.