Well, well, well – after all of that, it looks like Project Knative is about to join the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).
In 2019, Google caused some controversy when Donna Malayeri, product manager for Google Cloud Run and member of the Knative steering committee at the time, wrote in an update that Google had “decided not to donate Knative to any foundation for the foreseeable future.”
This week, the Knative project opened a draw request to join the CNCF as an incubation project, thus officially ending the so-called “foreseeable future”, with no reason given as to what had changed in the meantime. In a separate blog post, the Knative Steering and Trademark committees wrote that they were “very excited” by the news that Google had “just announced its intention to donate the Knative project. “
The Google blog post on the subject offers a brief history of the project, noting that it was first founded and published by google in 2018, before being “subsequently developed in close partnership with IBM, Red Hat, VMware and SAP”. As for the reasons for the change of mind, once again, it is especially mom who has the word. The only passage that could even apply offers bland platitudes about open source:
“Finding a home at the CNCF secures Knative’s long-term future and encourages continuous and open innovation. This donation recognizes community adoption and investment in Knative, and will encourage multi-vendor innovation, broader education and training, ”writes Google.
Chris DiBona, Google’s director of open source, explained that the reason boiled down to “maturity” in a tweet:
It would take a lot of tweets! The short form is @eric_brewer and other people who thought it was a good time for this codebase (we had mentioned maturity a few years ago).
– Chris DiBona (@cdibona) November 30, 2021
This, of course, is a far cry from what was said about a potential donation when we wrote about Knative’s independent future outside of a foundation in early 2020, when the former board member Jaïce DuMars said in a Ask me anything (AMA) that donating to Knative wouldn’t really offer the project or its users anything beyond what Google could offer.
“There’s a whole bunch of assumptions about what the CNCF does and doesn’t do and I think it’s a little dangerous to make those assumptions because if you assume that by donating you get these things. , this is not true. If we gave this project tomorrow, nothing would change in terms of governance, ”said DuMars at the time. “The CNCF would not make any changes. The only thing that would be different is that they own the copyright to the Knative name. “
It was around this time that Knative actually adopted an elected, officially cut off control of google of the project, which was perhaps the first step towards the independence of the project. Without any specific public word on the reasoning, however, there is only room for speculation.
One of those speculations could be that there had been some pressure on Google from the aforementioned “close partnerships” – IBM, Red Hat, VMware and SAP – which could just as easily branch off the project. With many original Knative players leaving Google for these other organizations, it appears that a distinct possibility that a forked version could be created and submitted separately to the CNCF, leaving Google to play alone with the original Knative.
But again, this is just speculation.
IBM, one of these partner companies, offered its own applause regarding the candidacy, writing that the news was “an important step in the right direction for Knative’s future”, again laying out the basics of what it means to join an independent foundation, summing it up as “a win-win”.
Of course, you might be wondering after all of this – what about Istio?
This is because Knative is at a stalemate financially.
– Lawrence Hecht (@LawrenceHecht) December 1, 2021
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“He makes a list, he checks it twice!” ??
Maybe if Santa Claus made a sorted list and used a binary search, he wouldn’t need to double check it.
– I’m Devloper (@iamdevloper) 25 November 2021
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The Knative project is now proposed to join the CNCF.
Like many Googlers, I wish this had happened a long time ago when the community asked for it. Better late than never, and there’s a lot to celebrate here!https://t.co/GOo3x8ELmN
– Ahmet Alp Balkan (@ahmetb) November 30, 2021
The New Stack is a 100% subsidiary of Insight Partners, an investor in the following companies mentioned in this article: Docker.