Earlier this month at the OpenDaylight Summit, the software defined networking project announced its first code release, called Hydrogen.
Their open source controller is now available for download, published for everyone to see and use. But the structure and culture that got the project to this point, about one year after its formation, isn’t so readily available for outsiders to see and understand.
Executive Director Neela Jacques’ summit keynote is a rare glimpse inside how OpenDaylight functions, and more broadly how Linux Foundation collaborative projects work, even as members and industry competitors debate the best approach to the technology.
Jacques presented three observations he’s formed about the project since he started as director roughly 90 days ago. Here they are, in summary. For the full presentation, please watch the video, below.
1. The community has a tremendous vision that networks should change; they’re hard to manage and set up and the costs of deploying a new service are far too high. There may be disagreement and debate among members about the best way to solve the problem, but everyone agrees that the solution is software-defined networking and network functions virtualization (NFV).
“For the first time in the history of this industry, competing companies… are coming together and acknowledging that we need one platform… that’s interoperable,” Jacques said.
2. The project can handle debate and disagreement because it is a meritocracy. In OpenDaylight, “code is the coin of the realm,” so the way you win arguments is by writing better code, Jacques said. The project’s technical steering committee entertains all ideas, even when they’re solving problems in similar ways.
“There are plenty of individuals out in the industry who think that a community cannot work if you have differing opinions, that people will simply argue with each other, and nothing will get done. But this group has found a mechanism for overcoming that.”
3. The community is collaborative; developers help each other solve problems, even when it doesn’t benefit them directly. To support this observation, Jacques told several stories about how members of the community have given up their personal time, sometimes in the middle of the night, to help others succeed.
“People care about the end result and about each other,” Jacques said.