Rackspace donates OpenStack to community foundation status

News has circulated last night and today concerning Rackspace’s ‘donation’ of the Intellectual Property (IP) pertaining to the OpenStack project to a newly formed community-based foundation level status.

The cloud computing provider has used its appearance at the OpenStack Conference in Boston (held today) to announce its intention to form an OpenStack Foundation in 2012. From its formation, the foundation will be responsible for project governance and also own the trademark for this open source cloud operating system.

Launched in July 2010 by Rackspace, NASA and over 20 other companies, OpenStack has already grown to represent a community of over 100 firms and has so far produced four so-termed “milestone” software releases.

So is Rackspace displaying true open source philanthropy with this move, or it is a shirking of responsibility where the community might have benefitted from the company’s continued stewardship?

In truth, Rackspace appears to now move forward with “hundreds of developers” still existing as members of the OpenStack community, so from a democratic point of view one might argue that this is a more equal base to move forward politically.

Speaking exclusively to Computer Weekly’s Open Source Insider, Stuart Simms is Rackspace’s UK-based VP of international corporate development. “We’ve seen incredible growth and breadth in the diversity of contributions; this now makes the timing right to create the OpenStack Foundation in 2012,” he said.

Simms continues, “OpenStack is maturing and rapidly gaining traction toward becoming the industry standard. Over the past year, OpenStack has seen great momentum in the open source community with more than 110 companies backing the mission and contributing to the recent launch of OpenStack Diablo — a significant milestone for OpenStack.”

“The OpenStack Foundation is important because it provides clarity on the investment, role and responsibility of Rackspace and its ongoing contribution to the path and goals of OpenStack, ensuring the community development and innovation remains outstanding,” said Rackspace’s Simms. “Rackspace will continue to play a leading role in the rapidly growing community as more companies bring additional resources and innovation to the project. The formation of the OpenStack Foundation will be a hugely positive move for both Rackspace and the project,” he added.

According to the official OpenStack blog, Rackspace will now be gathering feedback from others in the community on the best structure and processes to adopt as the OpenStack Foundation is established in 2012 — individual developers and corporate groups can share thoughts by sending an email to [email protected]