Summary:

The ‘Fund a Feature’ program aims to let corporate users accelerate the development of specific features while still feeding the result back to the open-source project’s community.

Are you an OpenNebula user with deep pockets? Would you like to see specific features fast-tracked within a set timeframe? Well, good news: the cloud infrastructure management project just launched a “Fund a Feature” program.

As OpenNebula director Ignacio Llorente explained to me today, the problem was this: when commercial customers request a feature, it gets prioritized but there’s no firm timescale. Corporate users who need a specific feature developed ASAP could do so themselves and contribute the feature back to the open-source project or, if they lack the time and expertise, they could pay C12G Development Services to develop it, in which case it wouldn’t be fed back to the community and they’d get no glory for it.

That’s where the new scheme comes in. From OpenNebula’s blog post:

“The Fund a Feature Program can be used to implement within a given time frame new functionality or enhancements in the code, new or enhanced drivers, or new integrations with existing management, billing and other [operations, administration, maintenance, and provisioning] systems. The development of new features occurs in the public repository of OpenNebula, and the new code undergoes the testing, continuous integration, and [quality assurance] processes of OpenNebula before its incorporation into the main OpenNebula distribution.”

Llorente also pointed out that the new program will allow corporations to “fund a feature as a way to show their support and commitment to the project, and to bring back the value that they get with OpenNebula”.

This is potentially a neat option for corporate users such as BlackBerry and China Mobile, but how does it fit in with OpenNebula’s super-open ethos? According to Llorente, there’s no conflict, and the move only highlights the difference between OpenNebula and rivals (OpenStack, cough cough) where vendors control the roadmap and may not open-source all features as their own distributions have proprietary components.

“I think it is in the spirit of open source,” he told me. “We are not changing our way to prioritize the roadmap. We have resources that we use to enhance OpenNebula according to the needs of our users, this will not change either.

“In some cases this new funding will speed up the development of the short-term roadmap, in other cases this new funding will accelerate the features that were planned in the longer-term roadmap. But in any case the OpenNebula community will completely benefit from these developments.”

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