JAX London 2014: A retrospective
The species of Origin

Red Hat open sources its PaaS Openshift – welcome OpenShift Origin

ChrisMayer
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A little over a month after intimating its open source intentions, Red Hat reveal OpenShift Origin to the masses to use as they see fit

Red Hat have indeed lived up to their open source pledge from a month ago, announcing the release of OpenShift Origin, the open source codebase for their Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

The move marks a seminal moment in the history of Red Hat’s PaaS, a little over a year since OpenShift emerged at Red Hat Summit as a service that ran on top of Amazon’s EC2. A quick change of pace established OpenShift as an enticing enterprise option amongst the flurry of cloud platforms, defining its merits against the others quickly.

Unsurprisingly, this was down to its openness and friendliness to developer communities – links to other services like MongoDB and Node.js helped, as did the support for applications written in PHP, Perl, Ruby, Python and Java. Its three different options of OpenShift Express, Flex and Power (before a recent unification occurred tying them all together) allowed enterprises to select the plaftorm most relevant for them, giving a ‘pick and choose’ element for a variety of technologies.

Friends within JBoss helped make OpenShift the first PaaS to offer JavaEE 6 integration with JBoss Tools and other Eclipse-based IDEs, as well as offering Maven and Jenkins options alongside this.

It wasn’t exactly surprising that OpenShift took off with its all-encompassing nature and the community grew from there. This initiative to give something back should cement an already strong group of developers behind the project and now is certainly the right time to go fully open source. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that a closed source project doesn’t gain traction in today’s environment, as VMware’s Cloud Foundry are also showing at the moment.

Some may be surprised by Red Hat’s decision to open up OpenShift entirely, but the specs show the entire stack is there.

In the announcement, the team behind OpenShift noted that ‘Origin is intended to serve as the upstream for code and enhancements for Red Hat’s OpenShift PaaS service’ (following the Fedora model closely) but this gesture was much more than that. Taking inspiration from JBoss and the Apache Software Foundation, Origin is set to be a ‘meritocratic community project’ cut free from developer affiilation and vendors, with a community process detailed. The codebase is also licensed under the Apache License, v2 which will help its cause.

This is especially encouraging as OpenShift realise that vendor lock-in or perceived vendor control can be particularly damaging to an open source initiative. 

The project will use GitHub as its code repository, with support like bug trackers provided by Red Hat. Interested in Origin? Why not check out this Get Involved page to join the community. This post by OpenShift Evangelist Mark Atwood helps you get started by outling the different components of OpenShift and how to get them running. There’s also this informative post on the differences between OpenShift Origin and OpenStack.

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