The open-source ownCloud storage project has had a tumultuous 2016 so far, with the public exit of founder Frank Karlitschek from ownCloud Inc on April 27. Today in what really does feel like a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction, ownCloud Inc announced the formation of an ownCloud Foundation.
Contrary to the common trend of bringing an open-source project like ownCloud into an established model, like the Linux Foundation’s Collaborative Project approach, where the Cloud Foundry Foundation, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, node js foundation, OpenDayLight and so many other now live, ownCloud is building its own Foundation.
The initial documents setting up the foundation are live at: https://foundation.owncloud.org/ and look fairly innocuous. But there are a few key elements that are missing. Notably, with any major open-source foundation creation in recent years, there have always been multiple vendors at the outset that sponsor and support the effort. Looking at the ownCloud announcement today I see no such thing, only ownCloud inc.
Also missing is any included statement from Frank Karlitschek, which is critically important for the community to actually come together.
In some respects this move from ownCloud makes a whole lot of sense and it follows a well known path for popular open-source projects. By having a separate foundation that is distinct from the lead corporate sponsor, there is the opportunity for more participation, transparency and open governance.
Time will tell though if there is enough trust and goodwill though in the ownCloud community to actually make the Foundation work.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist