AWS Firecracker is a great open source technology, but the best indication of its open source success is what Weaveworks built on it.
A clear indicator of open source "wokeness" is not always what a company brings, but what it allows others to build. This seems to be the message of the new and delicious Weave Ignite from Weaveworks, an "open source virtual machine with a UX container and built-in GitOps management". Turning on Firecracker, the AWS open source and lightweight virtualization technology to run multi-tenant container workloads, Ignite offers a major update to the virtualization experience for developers. It's an incredibly cool technology, but it's also a key indicator that, yes,could understand how the open source game is played, after all.
Updating the update
When AWS launched Firecracker, the developers responded with enthusiasm. Sure, it was open source, and that was (supposedly) a novel for AWS, but it was also amazingly cool . In a server-sided world, AWS "needed something that could provide us with security limits based on virtualization of virtual machine hardware, while maintaining the smallest package size and agility of containers and functions." " That is the good thing.
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The bad thing, as Weaveworks CEO Alexis Richardson told TechRepublic in an interview, is Firecracker, while an update on the current state of virtualization, is still too difficult to use. Why? Because the experiences of developers and users were "poor and unknown", in his words, and "key features of the ecosystem, such as networks, were missing". As described in a blog post, Weave Ignite solves these problems by using an API container and an ecosystem, similar to what Docker did for LXC. Basically, it brings the container developer experience now familiar to virtual machines. Anyone who uses Docker can use Ignite, since they use the same APIs.
It's a great update in a great update, from the technological point of view. But it's also a great update in an obsolete way to build software.
Opening of AWS
In other words, it is open source. Just as Google did with Kubernetes, AWS took the code it was using to run AWS Lambda and Fargate, and did the hard work to open it and make it consumable by third-party developers. At the six-month mark, AWS provided an update, demonstrating great interest and involvement in Firecracker:
During these six months, we have merged 87 confirmations from more than 30 external contributors into the main branch of Firecracker (representing ~ 24% of all engage in that time frame). These contributions covered compliance with the virtio specifications of the device model, compatibility with CPUs without single GiB pages and improvements to the memory model, as well as improvements in documentation, API specification, testing and the bug fixes
It's a surprising indication that interest in open source Firecracker was running, but the real test of how open this open source project is, however, is Weave Ignite. Or, rather, for things like Ignite.
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It's one thing to open source code, and quite another to have someone who actually builds on the. . This is when you know you're doing open source correctly. When I asked Richardson how he worked with AWS (and the associated documents / resources) to build Ignite, he replied: "Our experience was fantastic, we have no complaints." That is not simply a function of the code: it is an indication of good documentation, sample code, tutorials, live support (Twitter, Stack Overflow, etc.) and more.
Nothing of which is to suggest that AWS has mastered open source, but makes seriously question the tired meme that AWS does not understand from open source. As the AWS executive Matt Wilson said "As one of the first to adopt open source and free software (returning from Unix to Linux in 2002!), Amazon people have a broad Open source knowledge, and also how developer communities of all kinds grow around technology. "
With Firecracker, this shows, because Weaveworks, not AWS, built Weave Ignite. This is how good open source ecosystems grow.