The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) today announced it has simplified the process it employs to enable open source software to become a sandbox project managed under its auspices.
Priyanka Sharma, general manager for the CNCF, said the organization is looking to increase the number of open source projects that make up the cloud-native ecosystem. While the CNCF is best known for its efforts to govern the development of Kubernetes, the organization’s mission spans a wide range of cloud-native technologies. Many of those projects are now applicable to both microservices-based and monolithic applications that can be deployed in the cloud or in an on-premises IT environment.
Key changes to the sandbox process include a simplified submission process using an application that asks the project owners how their project fits as part of the cloud-native ecosystem. Applications are listed in a spreadsheet available publicly for comment, with review by the Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) scheduled on a bi-monthly cadence. The existing Special Interest Group (SIG) recommendation and TOC sponsorship requirements for sandbox projects have been replaced by a simple vote for acceptance by the TOC.
There are currently 31 sandbox projects being developed under the auspices of the CNCF. The new process for approving sandbox projects has already been applied to 11 of them. Each sandbox project has signed over the rights to the intellectual property for that project to the CNCF, which then attempts to attract more developers to participate in the ongoing effort to increase the adoption of that project.
In some cases, CNCF projects will compete with one another for acceptance. The CNCF is committed to not becoming a “king maker,” said Sharma.
Obviously, the CNCF is not the only organization trying to advance the adoption of open source software. In addition to The Linux Foundation, of which the CNCF is a part, there are older organizations such as the OpenStack Foundation and the Eclipse Foundation, which, to varying degrees, compete with one another to become the entity through which open source projects are governed.
The number of open source projects being launched has increased exponentially in recent years as IT vendors transform their business models. Many now contribute their core software to an open source project in the expectation that increased adoption will lead to demand for commercial support services.
That shift in many ways has led to a change in terms of how innovative software is brought to market. Not too long ago open source software was viewed primarily as a way to create the free equivalent of an existing operating system or database. Today, the bulk of emerging software in the enterprise starts out as open source projects.
Much of that transition began when more IT organizations adopted “open source first” approaches to IT in the wake of the economic downturn that began in 2008. As the current downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic deepens, it’s probable the preference for open source software is only going to increase in the months and years ahead.