Video: How OpenStack doomed itself

Video: How OpenStack doomed itself
Credit: John Atherton

OpenStack has lost its way, and key developer Andy Smith knows where it took wrong turns

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OpenStack once held such promise. But in his address to last year's OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, developer Andy "termie" Smith, who, as he puts it, "helped start this OpenStack thing," said that OpenStack is now done for. His session, shown below and titled "OpenStack Is Doomed and It's All Your Fault," describes a series of grave missteps.

For starters, OpenStack blew its stated mission to be "simple to implement." Creating and maintaining simplicity is harder than it looks. Feature creep, temporary fixes becoming permanent, and indecisiveness all conspired to create difficulty, confusion, and general kludginess.

Then there's the problem of having so many stakeholders. When multiple groups, each with their own (often opposing) priorities, claims ownership of a codebase, internecine conflict shortly follows -- not to mention the classic "too many cooks in the kitchen" problem, which contributes heavily to the aforementioned feature creep.

Ultimately, Smith traces a lot of OpenStack's problem to that root of all evil: money, though not in a pie-in-the-sky "everything should be free" way. OpenStack decided that bringing large corporations on board would give it more visibility -- which it did. But of course, doing so also introduces corporate control to the picture. "OpenStack isn't people," Smith says. "OpenStack is companies." Therein lies the trouble.

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