The Four Opens, otherwise known as ‘The OpenStack Way’ are a set of fundamental guidelines that were created by the OpenStack community for the OpenStack community. They are in place to ensure that users receive all the benefits associated with open source software, all the while engaging with the cloud computing community to contribute to innovations in the future of OpenStack.

Since the inception of these four principles, OpenStack has grown into one of the three most active open source projects in the world. Alongside Linux Kernel and Chromium, OpenStack continues to be one of the most influential open-source cloud software available today.

The vibrant OpenStack community has taken on The Four Opens as guiding principals. Today we’re going to break down what The Four Opens are and what they mean for the global community of OpenStack.

Open Source

The OpenStack Foundation commits to creating open-source software that is both usable and scalable. What does this mean? OpenStack does not produce “open core” software, but rather a software that is not limited by performance.

It’s crucial that any developed software under The Four Opens must be released under an open-source license. This ensures that users can study a program, make necessary changes to improve it and once approved, redistribute the original or modified version depending on the changes. This is important because it allows other users in the community to benefit from the work. A community that works together only creates a body of work that is stronger.

Open Community

A community means a feeling of connection with others as the result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and passions. The OpenStack community is no different. OpenStack focuses on one of the core goals of maintaining a healthy and vibrant user and developer community. They work to ensure that the community is inclusive as it is diverse. It’s important that anyone can rise to a leadership position with the right skill and work ethic.

It’s crucial to establish common goals in the Open Community so that this principal creates strong connections between users and developers. It makes for better open-source software and harmony amongst the varied individuals within the community. It’s complex as it is dynamic. The community is what has made OpenStack what it is today.

Open Development

OpenStack does public code reviews and has public roadmaps. This means that participation is transparent as well as simpler. Thus allowing users to follow the development process and participate from the earliest stage possible. Transparent and inclusive development enables everyone to participate on equal footing. Since publicly accessible services are visible to the public, everyone is able to overview development activities without needing to sign up for a service. This keeps the community accountable and open to new developments. These high standards in Open Development mean that the process of evaluating contributions is egalitarian and fair.

Open Design

OpenStack is deeply committed to an open design process. This means that Open Design helps to enable a transparent and open process for planning and designing software. Open Design is not about one individual designing software and its feature road-map, but accepting that OpenStack is community-driven and so should its software.

When something as important as the design comes to the table it’s difficult not to have an opinion. Despite difficulties in the process, it’s better to create a slower, long term process. Especially when working with a larger group. The community works together to agree on a design that will lead to a better product that’ll benefit all users of OpenStack.

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