Cloud Foundry: Laying the foundation

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Today marks the culmination of a nearly year-long journey with some really special people at Pivotal who had the vision to take Cloud Foundry to an open governance model. I’d like to be one of the first to say “Congratulations!” on the launch of the new Cloud Foundry Foundation.

We’re proud to officially announce today that IBM is a Platinum Sponsor of the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

Take a look around the open source landscape, and you are sure to find a few examples of projects that are languishing because of poor independent software vendor (ISV) adoption, or that are suffering from community stress and threats of forking. One characteristic that such projects tend to share is predominant control by a single company. Regardless of how open they try to be, there is always the underlying concern that the controlling company will act exclusively in its proprietary interests. This tends to keep other companies from fully committing to collaboration on the development of the project, and contributing to its success.

(Related: Angel Luis Diaz discusses why the Cloud Foundry Foundation is a game-changer)

Cloud FoundryOpen source initiatives that meet with the greatest success and longevity tend to be those that have adopted open governance, such as Apache, Eclipse, Linux, and OpenStack. It is this insight that Pivotal embraced when it announced this past February that it would transition Cloud Foundry to an open governance model under the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

An analogy that has been used is that of parents of a teenager who is heading off to college. The parents gave the teen a solid upbringing, sent them to the best schools, taught them right from wrong, etc. But the time has come to let the teen blossom and become the successful young adult the parents had always dreamed their teen would be.

Like that teenager, Cloud Foundry is about to embark on its own. Its parent, Pivotal, gave the project all it could. Now it’s time to let Cloud Foundry blossom on its own, and hopefully take its rightful place in that pantheon of truly successful open source initiatives.

Throughout this past year, IBM and Pivotal, along with some incredibly talented and experienced representatives of the other five Platinum Sponsors (EMC, HP, Intel, SAP and VMware), worked to develop the foundation’s mission statement, governance model, bylaws, articles of incorporation, member agreement, CLAs, IPR, trademark policies and the foundation for a certification program.

The team also collaborated on evolving the development processes of the open source project to make it more open and receptive of community contributions by establishing public story trackers and publishing new development proposals for discussion on the community wiki. The group also established an incubator program and grew the Community Advisory Board to what has become a very effective means of keeping the community tuned into what’s going on with Cloud Foundry.

We also collaborated on the Cloud Foundry Dojo process to adapt the program’s ideals to the reality of engaging its participants from around the globe. I’m proud to report that to date, 11 IBMers from the US, UK and China have been through the Cloud Foundry Dojo to accelerate their progression to committer status. They are now working full time, as committers, on Cloud Foundry across most of the projects, often pairing either face to face or remotely with other Cloud Foundry developers. As they work side-by-side, either literally or virtually, they help Cloud Foundry and IBM Bluemix (which is built on Cloud Foundry), IBM’s enterprise class platform as a service (PaaS) offering. Everyone wins. This is the true value of open source under an open governance model.

I strongly believe that the governance model the team has created will provide a solid foundation (pun intended) to enable Cloud Foundry to head off on its own, blossom into the open PaaS industry standard that we all hope that it will become.

Come join us on this incredible journey as we head into the next phase for this important open source initiative.

IBM Cloud

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