OpenShift Will Survive Because of More Than Stubbornness

clouds

One of the most balanced things I’ve seen written recently about OpenShift in the media was from Red Hat’s Stubbornness Will Keep OpenShift Alive,

There won’t be one form of PaaS, but several, each with distinct advantages. PaaS will survive, not as a feature of infrastructure, but as a distinct form of cloud computing that eases access, development, and deployments to public cloud. Go, Red Hat.

As a part of the first group of people to work on OpenShift when it launched in May 2011, it’s amazing to look back at how far the product has come. I was the scrum master and program manager to the development team before moving over to the marketing team in 2012.

In the past year there’s been a definite uptick in the news about OpenShift and it’s been amazing to me to watch all the media attention around it compared to when it first launched.  One thing that is puzzling to me is how much drama some of the pundits have tried to create by calling it the “PaaS Wars.” The funny thing is that it’s cast as a war between two providers in space that has many more providers than that.

The idea that seems to have taken hold is that there can only be one Platform as a Service (PaaS) provider and that it will automatically not be OpenShift in this alleged zero-sum game.  Time will tell who the prevailing players are, but there are many providers in the PaaS space. It’s early days too, so it’s puzzling to me why people are so anxious to call a clear winner so soon and why some competitors are so condescending towards others. It’s also pretty unusual in the software space for there to only be one successful provider so the idea of only one winner doesn’t stand up.

I think OpenShift can survive because of much more than stubbornness. Here are some other reasons it will survive that have been overlooked or unmentioned :

  • It’s a great product that solves a problem people have
  • Customers find that OpenShift is a better fit for them
  • Despite all the hype around some providers, OpenShift actually has a lot of features other providers doesn’t have
  • OpenShift is backed by a great software company with a deep history of reliable open source stewardship

Leave a comment with what you’d add to the list.

On Monday it was fun to publish a post about our latest product release and help spread the word about why contributor license agreements are often overblown in open source projects.  There’s lots of good stuff happening in OpenShift even if you aren’t reading about it on Twitter or in the news.

Want the OpenShift side of the story? Follow OpenShift Twitter and see what we are up to or join our mailing list for periodic updates and news of substance for getting the most out of PaaS.

Less Quack More Fly

Launch already

Some months ago I ran out of patience when someone asked for my advice on an open source project I’d already given lots of advice to. They were trying to help a fledgling project grow it’s “open source wings” behind closed doors (which rarely works).

Here’s what I said, and I still believe it.

Like I keep saying on the REDACTED devel list… my suggestion is to stop discussing and thinking about this internally (immediately) and switch over to doing 99% of anything REDACTED related on the external list and in public places–allowing for that 1% that doesn’t make sense.

I truly believe (from my own experience) that the only way this is going to catch on and grow is if you:
1) Do everything in public
2) Be consistent about whatever you do in public.
— If you say “we are going to have IRC meetings,”
then have IRC meetings each week at the same time
until people are dismayed and up in arms when you skip a week.
— If you say “we are going to do periodic REDACTED releases,
do period REDACTED releases that people can count on.”
— If you say, “We’re going to have a G+ group,” advertise the heck out of it, everywhere, and then do stuff, every day.
— If you say, “We’re going to build REDACTED and enable anyone to do anything they want” then do it!

You can’t do any more “planning”… it’s time to “do,” where people can see stuff happening and build trust that when REDACTED says they are going to do something, they do.  The key is building trust and respect.  And that’s only going to come from consistently delivering and doing “something” where “something” doesn’t have to be very big.

I know it’s hard to get started.  I’ve been there.  I want to help, I also think it’s time to “do it!”

Lessons From Github

github HQ picture

I listen to a variety of podcasts and currently I’m on a start up kick.  Andrew Warner produces a constant stream of interesting interviews at mixergy.com.

One such interview was with Tom Preston-Werner, one of the founders of GitHub.  The interview is almost a year old so you have to be a member to watch or listen, however a full transcript of the interview is still available.

Preston-Werner also appears to be responsible for inspiring Daniel Bachhuber’s recent post on open sourcing everything in a post titled Open Sourcing (Almost) Everything.

Here’s what struck me:

  • User experience decisions about how GitHub looks and functions–projects are organized by user (people), not be project name
  • Approach to their revenue model using open source software
  • Preston-Werner founded Gravatar and sold it to WordPress
  • If you’re looking to start a successful project, focus on solving a problem that frustrates you– that is a really great question to ponder.
  • To keep a project interesting and fun, start thinking early on what your revenue model will be–not so you can become a billionaire or immediately charge people, but so that the cost or success of continuing the project doesn’t put you in debt or become a financial or emotional burden.
  • Good passionate and constructive discussion is more valuable than voting to make a decision
  • The people that don’t like something are usually more vocal than the people who do.  You can’t automatically consider them the loudest people to be right or the majority.
  • GitHub has native a native Mac client that sounds like it does lots of cool things
  • GitHub can version images and show diffs between versioned images
  • GitHub has a whole vision for making versioning available to people that don’t understand versioning and its value to businesses, etc.

 Photo credit apas

Open Source Everything

Wordle from Open Source Book Picture

One notion of open source software that often surprises people not familiar with it or its culture, particularly in business settings, is to make the source code completely available for free.

Open sourcing everything may not be a familiar conversation at your company, but it is a good conversation to have.  It’s always a fascinating conversation to watch.  It’s usually an interesting mix of people and  their personalities combined with varying degrees, usually at the extremes, of idealism versus pragmatism.

Here are some of the different arguments I’ve heard.  I don’t believe any of these are the “one true way” and as is often the case, the reasons for or against may not be clear cut.

  • We are obligated by our core values to open source everything
  • We must hold something back that we can charge for or we won’t able to stay in business
  • Our business isn’t the code, it’s the services we provide
  • The “Community” expects us to open source everything and if we don’t someone will complain and that will make us look bad
  • We will open source the code that people can really use
  • We will open source the code that people can contribute to and help make better

What kind of criteria do you use to determine whether or not to open source code?  Have you ever regretted open sourcing everything?

Photo by nengard

WordPress Browser Cache Clearing

I have no technical backing for this suggestion except that I’ve seen it work on two different operating systems with the Google Chrome web browser.

Accessing my self-hosted WordPress blog to add posts and do site maintenance, page loads were taking FOREVER.  The media uploader was hanging too.  I thought it was a plugin hogging resources so I disabled a bunch of them and it still didn’t really help.

Finally I cleared the browser cache and cookies and now everything is back to normal speed.

Ideas anyone?  I’m running plugins only provided by wordpress.org and the latest  version of WordPress and everything else.