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Solum: Open Development From Day One

The way businesses build and consume open source software is radically changing and we’re fortunate to be at the vanguard of that change with the Solum project.

Most open source projects start with the donation of some code by a single company, and then a small amount of tweaking tends to happen after it is “released” as open source. The company builds the software to solve a problem and then throws it over the wall and hopes a community forms to foster it.

Solum is different because it begins as a shared vision, not a complete product. It’s a vision that a coalition of contributors believes in and wants to contribute to. For this to work, everything has to be designed and developed in the open from the very beginning. We’re taking the OpenStack commitment to core values of open development, open design and open community right to heart. Nobody has tried this before.

Maybe we could have developed this in isolation. Cordoned off a dev team and sworn them to secrecy until the big unveiling a year or two later. And it might have worked, five years ago.

Today, we know how much faster and better we can build open source products when we find and engage potential collaborators from the beginning. We’ve found that a diverse set of experts working together in the design phase makes implementation faster and easier. Our experience in OpenStack projects such as Heat and Trove—and our missteps—showed us how much more efficient and effective it is to be open with ideas, open with plans and open with projects right from the beginning.

We see an opportunity to make OpenStack better for application development, lifecycle management and portability between both public and private clouds.

The domain is so compelling that a dream team of industry experts wants to work on it and it’s easy to imagine the potential for really impressive results. It will be based on the lessons learned of many companies that have all built similar software before in isolation. This time they can build it better, with the collective experience of many companies.

The specifics of Solum and its features are not fully formed. As with any idea, there will be plenty of revisions down the road. What is important is the collaborative nature of this work, and the thriving development community that will result from it. We feel very fortunate to be working with eBay, RedHat, Ubuntu/Canonical, dotCloud/Docker, Cloudsoft and Cumulogic to make it easier to integrate your application development process with cloud technology, and to move applications between public and private clouds. Please join us:

Project Wiki
https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/Solum

Lauchpad Project
https://launchpad.net/solum

IRC
Public IRC meetings are held on Tuesdays 1600 UTC
irc://irc.freenode.net:6667/solum

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Adrian Otto.

Adrian serves as a Principal Architect for Rackspace, focusing on cloud services. He cares deeply about the future of cloud technology, and important projects like OpenStack. He also is a key contributor for and serves on the editing team for OASIS CAMP, a draft standard for application lifecycle management. He comes from an engineering and software development background, and has made a successful career as a serial entrepreneur.


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