The Register – by its own admission the carrion picker of the IT segment – is off on a rant about the Rackspace acquisition of Anso Labs, a boutique cloud foundry that collaborated with NASA to develop the Nebula compute cloud that is now the basis for the OpenStack Nova compute platform. Here are the unsubstantiated rather ridiculous pronouncements that el Reg makes:

  1. Rackspace’s project leaders are coming under pressure from their board to show that OpenStack has some value to the company.
  2. It will be at least another year before the compute fabric is in a state where it can be considered mature enough to brought in house and sold as part of Rackspace’s cloud.
  3. When it came to the power behind OpenStack, Anso and Rackspace dominated the governance board and project oversight committee. In buying Anso, Rackspace will control both. That will alarm those in the OpenStack community already worried Rackspace has far too much control of a project that’s supposed to be run by and for the community.

So there must be a real crisis in the OpenStack community then? No. Notice one factual statement that the Reg did make: “The Reg has learned that Rackspace is buying Anso Labs, the tiny software and services specialist…”. Talk about storm and teacup.

This reminds me of the exactly the same sort of nonsense we used to hear regularly at XenSource, when we were the leader in code contribution, and were developing Linux components for Hyper-V. Allegations that XenSource had a secret plan to make Xen proprietary, or to kill it for Microsoft and “take it away” from the community. It’s somewhat disappointing that The Reg fails to understand the value of Open Source and the community driven model. Specifically why any move toward overt control on the part of RackSpace would end in disaster – for RackSpace. Let me quickly list the virtuous benefits of open source that Xen enjoys, and that are emerging for OpenStack:

  1. Many collaborators throw their development efforts at one platform, advancing it quicker than any proprietary effort could ever move
  2. A single code base that implements the best possible feature set, enables every vendor to consume the best feature set, at all times, learn more quickly from it, and feed back an increased pace of innovation as a result
  3. A single code base that implements a de-facto standard for the cloud layer will inform the development of open standards far better than multiple proprietary efforts. Moreover OpenStack will be the leading platform for the implementation of any relevant standards
  4. A single code base and a powerful brand in the hands of the open source community has an ability to win customers / users more quickly, and drive the adoption of cloud benefiting all vendors
  5. A single open source code base as an alternative to (the only other viable code base, namely) vCloud, that is freely available to all, that embraces portability, compatibility, no lock-in, and all hypervisors shows the industry a clear alternative to a proprietary model that is expensive, locks customers in, and quite honestly cannot keep pace in innovation.

Now, El Reg, consider what would happen if RackSpace back-tracked on this promise? They’d be done. Their customers would abandon them, the community would walk, Cisco and other industry giants would pour scorn on them, and AWS would dance happily on their grave. Now I happen to know the OpenStackers, and I can tell you they are very smart people. So this is not going to happen. The ANSO team are a great asset to OpenStack, and will really help quicken the rate and quality of development, and allow RackSpace to achieve its openly acknowledged proprietary goal: Getting OpenStack into production sooner.