Node.js community looks toward an open future

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This week finds me and a good number of the IBM OpenTech team at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco for this year’s Node Summit Conference. In case you haven’t heard, this morning at the summit, the community announced that Node.js is going to move into open community governance and a Node.js Foundation is in its future.

This announcement is the outcome of the Node.js Advisory Board‘s diligent work. The board was created last year to “advise Joyent and the Node.js project leadership on matters related to supporting the long-term governance, structure, and roadmap of the Node.js project.”

While the announcement is worthy of celebration, it’s only one of the reasons to celebrate Node.js this week.

The Node.js community is coming together

First and foremost, the Node Summit brings together the Node.js community to talk about—what else—code.

When you think of of high performance, low latency applications, you are probably thinking of Node.js. It’s one of the technologies that’s made it’s way into the IT systems across thousands of organizations.

This community collaborates to solve real technology issues. They build quality code and they unlock exponential value for app developers, enterprises, and software providers who all count themselves as part of the growing Node community.  Many of them are here at this year’s summit.

The technical talks run the gamut. I’m going to insert a plug for  Steve Loomis here. Steve, one of the members of the IBM team, is talking about internationalization and the tools available to build global Node.js applications. Other members of our team will discuss the IBM SDK for Node.js, which provides Node.js across IBM server offerings to take advantage of platform-specific reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features. Rounding out the team are Cloudant and Bluemix SMEs, who will talk about how our CouchDB and CloudFoundry efforts align with Node.js.

There are many other sessions. Our Node technology leads are hoping to spend quality time with developers from StrongLoop, Netflix, NPM, Flurry, and NodeSource.  In the last year alone, the combined speakers at this years summit have thousands of commits to various open source projects. They are here to share their tips and their innovative ideas.  This is what open source developers do. This penchant and talent for inclusive collaboration is already built into the Node community culture.

I’m passionate about open technology and I’ve been passionate about Node even before I started working with the community last year. I’m not alone. Yes, IBM is one of the platinum sponsors of the event. There are many others, including PayPal, Intel and GoDaddy. This demonstrates that even before Node moves into open governance, the community has recognized the value it can provide to today’s leading open cloud efforts.

The benefits of open source

This brings me to today’s open governance announcement and what it means for the Node.js community. Node enjoys the contributions of some of today’s top open source developers, and an innovative, collaborative community.  It has a rich ecosystem of adopters. What was lacking was open governance, the one critical requirement to ensuring  it lives up to its potential as a first class citizen in today’s Open Cloud Architectures. And here’s the beauty of it – It was the worldwide community of developers who recognized its own limitations and sounded the call for Open Governance.

At IBM we talk about the benefits of open governance everyday. Our software is open by design.  We are active contributors to some of the world’s most innovative open technology communities, and we’re committed to ensuring a level playing field so we can deliver market-leading interoperability to our customers. 

Being invited to serve on the Node.js Advisory Board along with representatives from small and large companies, end users, and top individual contributors, has been exhilarating. Together, we’ve put today’s leading open governance models—OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, and Apache—under the microscope. It’s paid off.  The AB tailored a  recommendation for change and Joyent has accepted the recommendation. We have a path forward. It’s a good start.

This is only the start

Today’s announcement is about unlocking the potential of an open-tech culture. We all agree, open and transparent governance administered by a foundation should employ a contributor-led model. In other words, you earn your stripes in the community via your contributions regardless of the size of your company.

It’s about creating quality code.  It’s also about enabling an innovative community to continue doing what they do best: collaborate. That’s why IBM is working with the community and Node’s current steward, Joyent, to see that an open foundation is established. The next few months will be very exciting as partners gather to form the new foundation. IBM will continue its efforts to contribute to the technical project and to the community as we make the journey. I encourage you to get involved, too.

The hard work is not done. Working together we can unlock Node’s full potential with open governance.

“Open by design” is a trademark of the International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both

IBM Cloud

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