CNCF to Expand Scope of SIGs

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation announced at the KubeCon + Cloud Native + Open Source China Summit today that it is expanding the number of special interest groups (SIGs) surrounding Kubernetes, as part of an effort to accelerate development of critical complementary technologies.

Dan Kohn, executive director for the CNCF, says it’s become apparent that the nine members of the technical oversight committee (TOC) for Kubernetes needs to be supported with expertise in specific areas. The first two SIGs to be formed will be focused on security and storage, followed by SIGs addressing network traffic, observability, governance, application delivery, core and applied architectures.

Kohn says the SIGs will act in an advisory capacity to the TOC, which will retain control over what projects are launched. One more member is selected from an end user organization. Those seven members then select the two final members, for a total of nine. However, once each project has launched, the leaders of those projects retain control over which updates make it into the project and their respective timetables. That neutral approach to governance, he says, is one of the things that differentiates the CNCF from other open source bodies. At present, there are more than 30 CNCF projects spanning a range of technologies, from Kubernetes to the Jager distributed tracing tool and Vitess, a database clustering system for scaling open source MySQL databases without having to rely on sharding.

As the number of projects increases, the TOC members need to be supplemented. The CNCF is especially keen to see the SIG positions be filled by candidates with diverse backgrounds, adds Kohn.

Kohn says as part of this initiative, one of the goals of the CNCF is to entice more developers to contribute to an increasing number of open source projects. Kohn estimates that well more than half the developers who leverage open source software don’t contribute to any project. Many of those developers are already creating forks to open source code every time they patch open source software on their own. Every time that software is updated—otherwise known as carrying your own patch—those developers have to reconstruct that patch. That issue would go away if the developers contributed their patches to the open source project, which would then ensure the issue is addressed as part of the life cycle of the project, he notes.

While some developers may never want to contribute for various personal reasons of their own, Kohn also concedes that many can be intimated by the process. The CNCF plans to address that issue through a new process that first encourages developers to contribute code to eventually becoming leaders of a project, says Kohn, noting there’s a natural burnout rate associated with open source projects that requires a constant stream of next-generation leaders to be waiting in the wings.

The scope of the projects CNCF is taking on is broader than any consortium in the IT industry has ever attempted. It remains to be seen, however, beyond Kubernetes how sustainable all those endeavors will really be.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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