Google has found itself in hot water with the open source community by reneging on a promise it made regarding Istio.
Istio is a “mesh service,” a critical piece of cloud architecture that ensures all the various microservices that comprise a cloud platform work together. Google developed Istio, and it quickly became one of the most popular mesh services available, supported by a wide array of companies. Part of this popularity came from the boost IBM gave Istio, when they merged their own Amalgam8 mesh service into Google’s project and joined forces with search giant to promote Istio.
The controversy is surrounding Google’s 2017 promise to turn Istio over to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Instead, the company has decided to turn over control to the Open Usage Commons (OUC), a brand-new, open source organization Google created, and then announced on July 8. Needless to say, this bait-and-switch has not sat well with the open source community.
“Today’s announcement by Google of the creation of the Open Usage Commons (OUC) is disappointing because it doesn’t live up to the community’s expectation for open governance,” writes IBM’s Jason McGee. “An open governance process is the underpinning of many successful projects. Without this vendor-neutral approach to project governance, there will be friction within the community of Kubernetes-related projects.
“At the project’s inception, there was an agreement that the project would be contributed to the CNCF when it was mature. IBM continues to believe that the best way to manage key open source projects such as Istio is with true open governance, under the auspices of a reputable organization with a level playing field for all contributors, transparency for users, and vendor-neutral management of the license and trademarks. Google should reconsider their original commitment and bring Istio to the CNCF.”
These are strong words from Google’s Istio partner and should cause the company to reconsider its position. Google has spent years earning the goodwill of the open source community, something this debacle is quickly undoing.