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Open Source as a process, not an event (or What type of community do you want?)

On October 1st, 2103 I officially joined the Open@Citrix team as the XenServer Community Manager.  Since joining, I’ve been hard at work behind the scenes trying to ensure that our “XenServer is Open Source” effort from June is able to realize its full potential.  As you might expect, taking a product which was developed using closed source methodologies and mindsets and making it open source and transparent isn’t easy.  That source for portions of XenServer were already publically available did help, but there is considerably more to this than just putting some source files on GitHub and calling it a day.  Details like how transparent development relates to revenue recognition in a global public company, how closed source efforts which incorporate or embrace XenServer can continue without themselves becoming open source, ensuring all sources are posted and buildable, how EULA operates when you “upgrade” from an open source installation to a commercial license, creating a public bug database and project wiki, and how contributors engage with the project are all crucial; and not all that much fun. 

Of course it would be ideal if everything was live on Day 1, but that isn’t realistic.  XenServer has been under development as a Citrix product for over six years, and you can’t simply shift that inertia overnight.  The good news is that we are making progress, and you can follow that progress in my xenserver.org blogs.  I intend to post a status report for each month detailing what occurred in the previous month, good or bad, and that brings me to the type of community I hope we get.

This past year I’ve attended a number of open source, industry and vendor events.  Some were very developer focused, some community driven, some related to specific products, and others were populated by executives.  Each had its own vibe, and each was important to their respective community.  We’re not likely to ever have a “XenServer conference”, but we are likely to be at many conferences in one form or another.   At each event I attended, there was always at least one attendee who was enthusiastic about their use of XenServer.  They were proud with what they had accomplished using XenServer and wanted to share.  Some had experienced issues, and were happy to relate the problem, but also that they’d successfully found a solution.  These are the enthusiasts I want to form a cornerstone in the XenServer community.  I want them to encourage their vendors to support XenServer, and I want that same vendor eco-system to flourish around a solid base.  I’m also prepared to do what I can to facilitate just that.

Here is how I define the XenServer community:

The XenServer community is an independent group working to common purpose with a goal of leveraging each other to maximize the success of the community.  Members are proud to be associated with the community.

Participating in the community is easy. 

-          Register on xenserver.org

-          Join a conversation on the support forums

-          Join the development list

-          Download XenServer and run it

-          Support the vendor eco-system and encourage vendors to support XenServer

-          Promote your personal successes and workarounds in blogs and videos

-          Join local virtualization and cloud meetups, and encourage open discussion of how XenServer can be used

We all have a role to play in the future success of XenServer, and while I have the twitter handle of @XenServerArmy, I view my role as supporting you.  If there is something which is preventing you from adopting XenServer, or being as successful with XenServer as you intended, I want to know.  I want to remove as many barriers to adopting XenServer as I can, and I am your voice within the XenServer team at Citrix.  Please be vocal in your support, and vocal with what you need.

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Tim Mackey is a corporate evangelist for XenServer within the Citrix Cloud Platforms Group and focused on server virtualization and cloud orchestration technical competencies.
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Guest Saturday, 19 July 2014

Open@Citrix

Citrix supports the open source community via developer support and evangeslism. We have a number of developers and evangelists that participate actively in the open source community in Apache Cloudstack, OpenDaylight, Xen Project and XenServer. We also conduct educational activities via the Build A Cloud events held all over the world. 

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