GitHub has over 42 million public repositories, but only a handful of projects have become widely used and adopted. One such project is the Open Policy Agent (OPA), which is used to write policies as code.
OPA is one of 16 projects to graduate from CNCF earlier this year and reach its status. In a recent episode of the SD Times “What the Dev” podcast, Torin Sandall, Vice President of Open Source for Styra, the first company to create OPA, discussed the process of donating the project to CNCF and leading it to graduation.
According to Sandall, this project was created in 2016 and, like many open source projects, took some time to gain traction and visibility. During its first year, the emphasis was on building R & D and integration with other projects.
“In the first year and a half, people came organically and started kicking tires when they saw this project solving something like a real problem in the native space of the cloud. It was starting to be called, so it started to gain some momentum, “Sandall said.
After discussing with many users and deciding that they needed a project home that wasn’t tied to the project, Styra started the process of donating the project to the CNCF.
CNCF has a three-tier program for the project. When OPA participated, it participated as an Inception project, which is now called a sandbox. The project then moves to incubation and eventually graduates.
“The idea of the sandbox or the original call was basically to act like a seed fund for an open source project,” Sandall said. “So the idea was to have a place like an incubator for these projects that looked promising, but probably didn’t have much adoption yet. So they have sound skills and are proactive. There was a good maintainer, but he didn’t spend the time and effort to raise awareness of the project, which is what an open source project that really wants to gain traction needs to do. “
In addition to providing vendors with neutral housing, CNCF offers benefits such as marketing and awareness, intellectual property and governance support. “In many cases, marketing, IP, and governance aren’t something developers think about on a regular basis, so it’s very useful to have an organization that can count on support and advice when the time comes,” Sandall said. increase. .. “The first day may not be necessary, but it is very useful if the project has grown and there are various contributors participating in the project.
After going through this process over the last few years, Sandall advised open source maintainers on the same journey: Things take time, people need to understand what your project is doing, where you are coming from, what you need to solve there is. After all, things generally go on and train, so just be patient and go through the process and things will develop the way you want. “
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Leading open policy agents through graduation at CNCF
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