RED HAT HAS REACTED to claims that its implementation of Openstack isn't as open as it should be.
A report at the Wall Street Journal this week suggested that Red Hat was blocking customers from using alternatives to the bespoke version of Openstack that it offers.
Red Hat provides Openstack with extended support by the company, however in spirit of open source, users should be entitled to use another vendor's Openstack software, the generic Openstack, or create their own fork.
In reality though, the Wall Street Journal report suggests that Red Hat customers have been advised that Red Hat will not support mixed vendor software, that it has claimed it would cost the company too much to support multiple Openstack distributions and that Red Hat Linux and Red Hat Openstack are too closely intertwined to be separated.
Openstack's open character is part of what makes it what it is, it's embedded in the name, and Red Hat has been quick to distance itself from the report, though it does hedge a bit.
In a blog post, Paul Cormier, president of the company's Products and Technologies division said, "Red Hat believes the entire cloud should be open with no lock-in to proprietary code. Period. No exceptions. Lock-in is the antithesis of open source, and it goes against everything Red Hat stands for."
However, he went on to warn, "[Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform] requires tight feature and fix alignment between the kernel, the hypervisor, and Openstack services. We have run into this in actual customer support situations many times."
In other words, its advice to customers is seemingly 'of course you can do it, but you'd have to be a bit daft'.
He went on to explain, "Enterprise-class open source requires quality assurance. It requires standards. It requires security. Openstack is no different. To cavalierly 'compile and ship' untested Openstack offerings would be reckless. It would not deliver open source products that are ready for mission critical operations and we would never put our customers in that position or at risk."
Which suggests that Red Hat will let you use your own version, unless it's not happy with it, in which case it won't.
In a swipe at HP, Cormier concluded by attacking its rival, saying, "We would celebrate and welcome competitors like HP showing commitment to true open source by open sourcing their entire software portfolio."
HP, which recently launched its HP Helion brand for Openstack, would probably argue that it has already done this, so the war of words might just be beginning. µ