It's true, Rackspace and Red Hat dominate OpenStack contributions

At the OpenStack Summit in Portland, I heard several large companies tell me that they were the largest contributor to OpenStack. That will be a tough claim for so many to make, with a new Stackalytics data visualization tool that analyzes contributions to OpenStack.

Mirantis’ vice president of marketing contributed a post to the OpenStack blog announcing the new tool and explaining a bit about how it works.

The data paint an interesting progression and could also confirm some criticism of OpenStack being too heavily influenced by one or two companies, although I think it shows a decent range of contributors.

I looked at the four most recent versions of OpenStack, including Havana, and searched based on number of commits across all projects.

It’s true that Red Hat and Rackspace make up a disproportionate chunk of commits over the three most recent versions. Combined, the companies contributed 43 percent of commits in Folsom. That’s down to 35 percent in Grizzly and 33 percent in Havana.

Even 33 percent is a bit heavy for a community project. But the needle is moving in the right direction. And the long list of contributors shows that there’s a good community of companies active in OpenStack.

The most notable change is the steady decrease of contributions from Nebula, the NASA group that, along with Rackspace, was the genesis of OpenStack.

In Essex, the earliest version of OpenStack in the Stackalytics tool, Nebula contributed 37 percent of commits, making it the number one contributor. It shrunk to 12 percent in Folsom, the next version, but stayed in the top five contributors until Havana, the current version, when it dropped down to the number 13 contributor based on number of commits.

Red Hat has been the top contributor in the past three versions, followed by Rackspace. HP has been in the top five all along steadily increasing its commits to 12 percent in Havana.

Some interesting names pop up low down on the list of some versions of the software, like The Guardian newspaper, University of Sothern California, Wikimedia Foundation, University of Melbourne, Huawei, and the National Security Agency.

ENovance, a French hosting company I’d never heard of, is surprisingly high on the list of contributors. The list of usual suspects is long, including Mirantis, IBM, Intel, Canonical, Cloudscaling, and many others.

This isn't the first available analysis of OpenStack contributors, but I haven't seen one like this that is an ongoing project that anyone can look at and drill into.

Update: Thanks to Stefano Maffuli for pointing out the OpenStack Community Insights page, introduced earlier this year. There's some good data there too, although Stackalytics has additional ways to view data.

You can play around with Stackalytics to look at contributions based on lines of code, rather than commits, and to narrow contributions based on projects or modules. You can also look at volume of contributions by name of the developer.

Mirantis vp of marketing David Fishman wrote that the plan is to add more stats to the Stackalytics view and will post the project on stackforge so that anyone can manipulate the data.

The tool is a great way to let anyone monitor contributions to OpenStack and adds a nice layer of transparency. Now the OpenStack Foundation just has to hope that a good variety of companies contributes to the project.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring and on Google+. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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