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Summary

In July 2015, the Linux Foundation announced a new collaborative project called the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. The announcement reflects the evolution of the open source movement and the growing role of the Linux Foundation within it.

Open source has become mainstream, but needs to keep maturing

As The Cloud Foundry Foundation's CEO pointed out in his OSCON 2015 keynote in July, open source has become mainstream. It has woven itself into all IT levels, including hardware (the Open Compute Project), networking (Open NFV, Open Daylight), hypervisor (KVM, Xen), operating system (Linux), container (Docker), IaaS platform (OpenStack), PaaS platform (Cloud Foundry), and programming frameworks (such as Node.js). It has become a priority for all IT ecosystem players, as reflected by the variety of the new Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s founding members. They include IT incumbents (Cisco, IBM, Intel, VMware), a telco incumbent (AT&T), a telco supplier (Huawei), a colocation service provider (Switch SUPERNAP), cloud service providers (Box, Google, Joyent), start-ups (Core OS, Docker), and both internet-scale users (eBay, Twitter) and an enterprise user (Goldman Sachs).

In fact, open source has become one of the main mechanisms whereby suppliers cooperate not just with one another, but also with their customers. The growing role of enterprises in open source projects is a positive trend. This is the big difference between Linux and OpenStack, for example; many enterprises have contributed thousands of lines of code to OpenStack, which is not the case for Linux. However, too many open source projects are vendor-controlled, with enterprise participation often limited to being paraded on a stage at annual conferences, and to small, peripheral "user committees." This is an area in which open source still has to evolve much further.

Although it is early days when it comes to expanding from suppliers to enterprise users, the expansion of the open source movement from individual projects to getting these projects to cooperate with one another is well and truly under way. It is the focus, in a Linux container context, of the new Cloud Native Computing Foundation. It is one of about twenty collaborative projects that the Linux Foundation underpins in areas such as enterprise, mobile, and embedded software, and in vertical-specific software in markets such as automotive and life sciences. These collaborative projects include Open NFV, Open Daylight, Xen, Node.js, Cloud Foundry (launched in January 2015), and the Open Container Project (launched in June 2015). They enable the Linux Foundation to remain relevant by reusing the skills and resources put together to underpin the Linux project and ecosystem, to further the reach and importance of open source software.

Appendix

Further reading

"The Cloud Native Computing Foundation brings together open source projects to help Linux containers take off," IT0022-000477 (August 2015)

"Open source is accelerating artificial intelligence innovation," IT0022-000328 (March 2015)

SAS: IP and performance key to maintaining edge in an open source world, IT0014-002996 (March 2015)

"NHS England's Code4Health addresses the risks that come with open source opportunities," IT0018-001471 (March 2015)

Cloudify 3.0: An OpenStack-centric Rebirth, IT0022-000286 (January 2015)

Open Source for Telecom Networks, TE0006-000957 (November 2014)

"Microsoft free open sourcing of server-side .NET is good news for developers," IT0022-000269 (November 2014)

"Indiana University's Unizin initiative calls into question the future of open source LMS," IT0008-000203 (June 2014)

SWOT Assessment: OpenStack, IT0022-000053 (May 2014)

OpenStack Adoption 1: Understanding OpenStack, IT0022-000066 (May 2014)

Author

Laurent Lachal, Senior Analyst, Ovum Software

laurent.lachal@ovum.com

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