Is the OpenStack Foundation All about Big Money?


From the ‘Apache Way’ files:

The OpenStack foundation is gearing up and figuring out how to organize itself. Part of the discussion involves money and membership class fees.

It’s a topic that is never an easy one with open source software and always draws critics. With the OpenStack Foundation, the plan is to have a super-member class that will cost $2.5 million.

Yeaah, I did a double take too. Reminds me of the old OSDL days when they charged anyone that wanted to associated with Linux $1 million.

With OpenStack there is at least one vocal opponent of the super-member plan – OpenStack co-founder Joshua McKenty.

If we have a simple pay-to-play model, then we can trust market economics and enforce transparency of spending,” McKenty wrote. “If we have a simple ‘meritocracy’, then we can expect the most skilled and dedicated to rise to the top, provided we’re extremely careful about how we measure skill and dedication. If we blend the two, I’m deeply concerned that we’ll see the worst of both systems play out over time – the selfishness of market-driven economics dominating our decisions with the petulant moralism of the meritocracy. “

An interesting argument and McKenty knows alot more OpenStack than I do. That said, I think that McKenty is wrong.

You need to look no farther than the Apache Software Foundation to see how this dual system of money and meritocracy can work. The Apache Software Foundation takes big money from vendors like Microsoft, who yield little influence on development. Development is managed by The Apache Way of meritocracy and it works. The Eclipse Foundation has a similar model that has also worked well.

So yes, you can have big money and a meritocracy for developers too.


Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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