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Shifting Gears to focus on Developer Enablement

I have the honor of writing this today as the new tech lead for OpenShift Origin. Krishna Raman has done an amazing job of leading Origin through the first 16 months of its lifespan, and as he turns his focus back to pure development, I am rushing to get my head around all of the work that he did to shepherd along the first three releases of this amazing Platform-as-a-Service system.

Developer Enablement and beyond

The tech lead role for OpenShift Origin was instituted as a cyclical role, and in this regard, the role shares some similarities with Origin itself. Krishna led Origin through a period when we were strongly focused on solving OS-level challenges. By contrast, I am starting in this leadership role at a time when we are changing our focus to the Origin application, and the challenges we face in making it a more polished system.

If you've followed any of the work on oo-install and, you may understand why I'm so excited to be taking on this role at this point in the cycle. I am driven to make products easier to use, and I'm driven to better understand the needs of the people who use them. I think that oo-install and the underlying Puppet framework for Origin have gone a long way towards getting Origin in the hands of operations, but what about developers? What can we do with Origin that is going to lower the bar on cartridge building and platform hacking?

The Road Ahead for OpenShift Origin

Here's what we hope to deliver with Origin 4.0:

  • Easier development and cartridge-building experience
  • More effective use of our public CI environment
  • Even easier system deployment
  • Polish and stability

Leveraging CentOS Stability

Now, just as we are changing our development focus from the OS level to the application level, we need to re-evaluate the tools that we use to support our efforts. During the OS-oriented period that culminated with Origin 3.0, it made sense to use the best platform for kernel level work, and that platform is Fedora. Fedora changes rapidly, but we were happy to absorb those rapid changes because they benefitted our efforts around SELinux and control groups.

Now that we are changing our focus to the application itself, it makes sense to align OpenShift Origin's lifecycle on a platform with greater OS-level stability. To this end, we will be reconfiguring our CI and build environments around CentOS. Whereas Fedora excels when there's kernel work to be done, CentOS offers us the consistency that we need for the enhancement work that lies ahead.

This is a really exciting time for Red Hat and CentOS, and OpenShift Origin is at a natural point where we can benefit from this collaboration. I want to leverage this partnership to give us the latitude to solve those user issues in the Origin application. I believe that this change will enable us to double down and focus our work on the kind of experience that we want Origin users to have.

Inevitably, there will come a point where it is time to change our focus back to OS-level improvements, and when that time comes, I believe that moving back to Fedora as our primary platform will be a logical move. But for now, I am really amped about taking on this leadership role, and about driving Origin towards improved usability and user focus on CentOS.

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