We’ve received a bunch of questions since our launch of Rackspace Private Cloud Software (code-named Alamo) about how we are using open source software. How is Alamo licensed? Are we adding restrictions to the components? What happens to the components if you stop using Alamo? And many more. If you have these same questions, this blog post is for you!
First, Alamo is a compilation of everything you need to go from bare metal to a production OpenStack-powered private cloud in 30 minutes or less. Boot from the free ISO, enter some IP information and set a password, go get a coffee and you’ll have a running cloud before you know it. Rackspace made all of the decisions regarding the operating system, hypervisor, version of OpenStack, automation and deployment tools, and all of the configurations for those components. The software is available for free and Rackspace offers optional support for companies wishing to have our experts on-call 24×7.
Here’s the breakdown on what is contained in Alamo and what their specific licenses are. In addition to the included components and their individual licenses, Rackspace wrapped a copyright around the entire compilation the same way folks like Ubuntu and Red Hat do with Linux and the packages of open source software they compile. There is a simple end user license agreement from Rackspace that grants the user free access to the Rackspace-branded compilation, but it’s important to remember that all of the components are already free and open source and we do not place any additional restrictions on them.
So are the components open? Yes! Think about it like this: just like a musician that uses a guitar chord from an electric guitar and a piano stab from a grand piano to create a song that they copyright and distribute, Rackspace has done the same with Alamo. A musician does not restrict other people from using or sampling a piano note or a guitar chord because they used it in their song, just like Rackspace doesn't restrict how people use the open source components of Alamo. The underlying licenses (GPL, Apache, etc.) define how and what people can do with those components. Although we've configured OpenStack to be deployed and usable, we haven't forked the code. In fact, we're using 100 percent "community" OpenStack code.
Bottom line: Rackspace Private Cloud Software uses open source components with large communities, and the end user license agreement from Rackspace for the compilation grants you the rights to use the compilation Rackspace has built and distributes. We have an end user license agreement to protect the Rackspace brand, and to protect the branded (but open source) software contained in Alamo that we redistribute.
Questions or comments? Let’s talk about it on Twitter: @scottsanchez