Now that OpenDaylight has arrived, it’s time to explain why I made the Open Source choices eventually embraced by its Founders and the community at large. One doesn’t often see such leaders as Cisco, IBM, Intel, HP, Juniper, RedHat, VMWare, NEC, Microsoft and others agree, share and collaborate on such key technologies, let alone the latter engaging in a Linux Foundation based community (some thought hell will freeze over before that would ever happen, though it got pretty cold at times last Spring).
For those of you not familiar with OpenDaylight (see “Meet Me On The Equinox”, not a homage to Death Cab for Cutie or my Transylvanian homeland), IBM and Cisco have actually started this with an amazing set of partners, nearly that ephemeral Equinox this year (~11am, March 20th) though we couldn’t quite brag about it until all our partners saw the daylight, which by now, we’re hoping everyone does. It was hard not to talk about all this as we saw those half baked, speculative stories before the Equinox – amazing how information flew, distorted as it were, but it did; I wish source code would be that “rapid”, we’d all be so much better for it…
The Open Source model for OpenDaylight is simple, it has only two parts: the community is hosted in the Linux Foundation and the license is Eclipse. The details are neatly captured in a white paper we wrote and published in the Linux Foundation. Dan Frye, my friend and fellow counterpart at IBM and I came up with the main points after two short meetings. It would have been one, but when you work for such giants as our parent companies and soon to be OpenDaylight partners, one has to spend a little more time getting everyone to see the daylight. It boils down to two things, which I am convinced are the quintessential elements of any successful open source project.
1) Community. Why? Because it trumps everything: code, money and everything else. A poor community with great code equals failure (plenty of examples of that). A great community with poor (or any) code equals success (plenty of examples of that too). Why? Because open source equals collaboration, of the highest kind: I share with you, and you with me, whatever I have, I contribute my time, my energy, my intellectual property, my reputation, etc.. And ultimately it becomes “ours”. And the next generation’s. Open Source is not a technology; it’s a development model. With more than 10 million open source developers world wide, it happens to be based on collaboration on a scale and diversity that humanity has never experienced before. Just think about what made this possible and the role some of the OpenDaylight partners have already played in it since the dawn of the Internet. Dan Frye and I agreed that the Linux Kernel community is the best in the world and so we picked the closest thing to it to model and support ours, the Linux Foundation.
2) Fragmentation, or anti-fragmentation, actually. Why? The biggest challenge of any open source project is how to avoid fragmentation (the opposite of collaboration). Just ask Andy Rubin and the Android guys what they fear the most. Just ask any open source project’s contributors, copyright holders, or high priests, how much they appreciate an open source parasite that won’t give back. Though we would have liked to go deeper, we settled on Eclipse, largely because of the actual language and technology we dealt with in the OpenDaylight Controller: most, if not all the initial code is Java, and though some are worried about that, I’m sure Jim Gosling is proud (btw, I’m not sure the Controller has to stay that way, I actually agree with Amin Vahdat), but we had to start somewhere. Plus having a more friendly language NB (northbound, as in the applications run on top of the Controller) is such a cool thing, we think that the #1 open source (Eclipse) and the #1 commercial (Microsoft) IDE’s are going to be very good to it, so why not? There are more reasons that pointed in the Eclipse direction, and other reasons for such wonderful alternatives (as APL or MPL, perhaps the subject of another post, some day). But when it comes to understanding the virtues of them all, no one understands them better than the amazing founders of these license models, most of them from IBM, of course (I wish they did that when I was there).
What happened between the Equinox and Solstice is a fascinating saga within the OpenDaylight community which I think played its course in the spirit of total and complete openness, inclusion, diversity, respect of the individual and the community, and most of all, that code rules – we do believe in running code and community consensus. I tip my hat to all my fellow colleagues that learned these two things along the way, the enormous talent at the Eclipse and Linux Foundation that helped us launch, and even the analysts who tried (and did incredibly well at times) to speculate the secret reasons why these partners came up with the model we did: there is no secret at all, my friends, we’re simply creating a community that is truly open, diverse, inclusive, and never fragmented. Just like a big, happy family. Welcome to OpenDaylight, we hope you’ll stay!
As we continue to expand on the conversation of the Cisco Open Network Environment (Cisco ONE), this week provides yet another educational opportunity (Register here) to discuss a topic that has become some what top of mind to customers, partners and even investors alike. This is the topic of open source in networked environments. While Cisco has always been known for open standards, it has now stepped up into the open source conversation in a fairly big way over the couple of years with its contributions to both OpenStack and the more recent OpenDaylight project under the Linux foundation.
Join me and my good friends Dan Frye and Jim Zemlin, Tuesday June 18th at 8:30 am Pacific, in a webcast as we discuss open source, networking, communities and projects, the opportunities entailed, the win-win-win model (or win-cube model as I like to call it, for the Authors, for the Community and for the Enterprise), and the recently announced Open Daylight project hosted by the Linux Foundation. Thank you, Shashi Kiran, for organizing a wonderful event and opportunity to talk about one of my favorite subjects, Open at Cisco.
While the topic of Open Source is not new, the topic of using open source in today’s networks has gained momentum in recent times, which, not surprisingly, coincides with the broader conversation of open networking. While there is considerable interest, there is also a lot of confusion. Several questions pop-up:
- What is Open Source vs. an Open Standard?
- How do Open Source consortiums work? What is the governance model?
- What are the security implications of Open Source based implementations?
- What are the likes of Cisco and IBM doing in this space?
- What is the Open Daylight project?
- Is open networking the same as open-source networking?
If you would like to get an overview of not only mechanics behind open source projects and communities, but also get a great overview of the recently announced OpenDaylight project from the Linux Foundation, I invite you to register for the 4th session of the Cisco Open Network Environment webcast series “Using Open Source in Networked Environments – Discover the Possibilities and Benefits” broadcasting on June 18th at 9 a.m. PST.
Joining me in this webcast as I host three industry luminaries in the Open Source community including Michael Enescu, Cisco Chief Technology Officer for Open Source Initiatives at Cisco, Daniel Frye, Vice president of Open Systems Development from IBM joining and Jim Zemlin the Executive Director of the Linux foundation.
Congratulations to all OpenDaylight founding partners, contributors, users and supporters. I am convinced this ambitious endeavor will redefine the meaning of “open source = collaboration”. This is a historic event, the coming of age of networking partners driving in the open source world, companies which until now, have been primarily preoccupied with driving open standards, though in many ways, resonating with the tenet of “running code and rough consensus” almost a generation before Open Source did. Perhaps this is, back to the future.
The announcement details are on the Consortium website at the Linux Foundation, contributions come in three categories, a multi protocol Controller platform contributed by Cisco, northbound (NB) applications on top, and southbound (SB) protocol drivers to support them from below. We expect that with such diverse community from the start, we will have a very open, diverse and collaborative development that will accelerate the growth and adoption of these projects for years to come.
Having been in this project from the very beginning, I would like to tell you exactly how and why we reached the open source model that we did, my own perspective in what I think is the key to getting that balance right. But later, not today.
Today is the day to celebrate all those diverse partners that were brought together by one singular desire to grow the market for application centered networking, to grow our collective ecosystem of users, developers, partners and customers, so that we can all win. With a rise in applications NB, more SB vendors will come and with a rise in SB support, more NB applications will arrive – the promise of the infinite feedback loop. I do not believe anyone out there should look for who wins and who loses; in this endeavor, this is a positive move for the industry, this is a win-win for everyone!
I think I’m going to play that “Meet Me On The Equinox” music and get into the OpenDaylight. It’s time to move forward and I hope everyone will.