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Google first released Kubernetes to the world in 2015, and with it started the cloud native movement as we know it today. With that 1.0 release, Google ceded control of the project and handed it over to the newly formed Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), a move that some argue has been cause for regret within the company and continues to taint its approaches to its other cloud native pursuits. Whether or not that argument is true, it tends to color the perception of many in the cloud native community around the company’s intentions with its other cloud native projects, such as the Istio service mesh and the Knative platform for running serverless workloads on Kubernetes.
In the case of Istio, for example, Google has avoided taking the same route as it did with Kubernetes, instead creating the Open Usage Commons to handle trademark considerations, with Istio as one of the founding projects, and shortly thereafter restructuring the steering committee to avoid a single vendor control. In essence, the Istio project worked to make clear that it was free of Google’s singular control, without ceding itself over to the CNCF, despite earlier promises to do so.
Earlier this year, we looked at a similar situation with Knative, wherein Google had clarified its position around the project, noting that it had “decided not to donate Knative to any foundation for the foreseeable future.” The announcement was met with hand wringing from some, who worried that the project’s majority control by Google would inhibit both its adoption and momentum, but the steering committee said at the time that it would be looking at different ways to open up control of the project and provide open governance without relying on handing over control to a separate foundation, such as the CNCF.
This week, reporting from Protocol indicates that Knative is following a similar path to Istio, with Google giving up direct control of the project. Protocol’s Tom Krazit writes that Google plans to “announce sweeping changes to the project’s governance structure” which will arrive in the form of “a steering committee structure in which no single vendor can hold more than two seats on a five-seat committee.” Moreso, the change moves seats on the steering committee from being explicitly connected to companies to individuals instead, with an expansion in the number of members possible for the future, which would then include end users as well.
The Knative project actually announced the changes weeks ago on Twitter, and steering committee member Brenda Chen noted that the momentum for this change began with those first in-person steering committee meetings in late 2019.
I felt it would be appropriate to share where all these governance ideas first began. In Dec 2019, we hung out in NY and discussed how we might grow the @KnativeProject community. Thank you to all the past and current steering members for helping kick start this effort! https://t.co/TU6z9O0INo
— brenda chan (@bsnchan_) September 24, 2020
With the article highlighting this change, conversation around the future of Knative has some renewed energy, though some still question what the hesitation is around handing over the project to the CNCF, which is seen as a de facto home for such cloud native open source projects
Why is Google afraid of the CNCF for Knative is the real question that needs to be answered. https://t.co/drj2XgR68M
— Sean Kerner (@TechJournalist) October 8, 2020
While Google will retain trademark control over Knative for the time being, one steering committee member notes that even there, the company has relinquished its dominance, providing veto power to others involved. While this move may not appease those who see the CNCF as the only avenue forward for a successful cloud native open source project, it certainly is a step in the right direction, argues Evan Anderson, another steering committee member.
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Static Analysis Results Interchange Format: https://docs.oasis-open.org/sarif/sarif/v2.0/sarif-v2.0.html
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