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Guest Post: Protecting OpenStack

The following is a guest post by Tristan Goode, OpenStack Foundation Board member and CEO of Aptira.

I believe a key role of the OpenStack Foundation is to protect the brand that is OpenStack. I also believe that training is of key importance to advancing OpenStack.

Recently Rackspace advertised offering “Rackspace Certified Training for OpenStack“. In some media this was interpreted as certified OpenStack training, it was tweeted by Rackspace staff as “OpenStack Certified Technician”, and it was emailed to all summit attendees that Rackspace could “accelerate your career by becoming one of the first Certified OpenStack technicians”.

Lets be clear here. Rackspace DO NOT have any sort of official certification for OpenStack, from OpenStack. They are tying the words Certified and OpenStack together in PR, and quite frankly, it’s makes things grey and not black and white as it should be.

The main problems I see:

  1. The timing is unfortunate because there is no clear Board/Foundation policy as yet.
  2. I believe it is the Foundation’s right to determine what is certified and what is not under the terms of the Foundation’s trademarks.
  3. This type of activity is clearly open to abuse. Any operator regardless of size, integrity or professionalism could adopt a similar approach. Therefore it needs to be dealt with urgently.

Leaving Rackspace’s actions aside, I made a suggestion to the Foundation mailing list and Board mailing list for a certification process for training materials and deliverables that they be offered to an OpenStack community sourced committee for review and approval. If this proposal is accepted then it would be nice to see Rackspace offer up their course materials for this review, and that this might form a baseline for establishing the certification benchmark.

If certified qualifications are not valued in the USA, courses that present an official certification are highly valued in Australia, Asia and Europe as clear markers of achievement. Integrity of that certification is key.

If we cannot gather enough support to resist such opportunistic behaviour then we (as a community) risk letting this run away on us. The Foundation needs to formulate a considered and effective response on this very important topic. Anything else risks tarnishing OpenStack.

EDITOR’S NOTE:
Cross-posted, with original post published at http://aptira.com/blog on October 11, 2012; also published as a letter to the OpenStack Board. The full thread of correspondence in the OpenStack board may be found here.

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