Sam Ramji takes lead at the open-source Cloud Foundry Foundation

Ramji, best known for being the first head of Microsoft's Open Source Software Lab, has just been appointed to be CEO of the Cloud Foundry Foundation.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

In 2015, many Linux and open-source vets still distrust Microsoft's conversion to open-source. In 2006, no one believed that when Sam Ramji, who oversaw BEA Systems move to open-source software, became Director of Platform Technology Strategy for Microsoft's Open Source Software Labs, that Microsoft was doing more than paying lip-service to open source. They were wrong. Now, years after leaving Microsoft, Ramji is returning to play a major open-source leadership role as the new CEO for the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

Sam Ramiji, new CEO of the Cloud Foundry Foundation
The Cloud Foundry Foundation was created a year ago to form an open-source industry consortium to back Pivotal's Cloud Foundry, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) project written in Ruby and Go. It was then reorganized in December as a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project. It operates under a system of open governance by open-source experts from founding Platinum Members EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, Pivotal, SAP, and VMware.

The Linux Foundation claims that Cloud Foundry is "the fastest open source project in history." With Ramji at its head the Linux Foundation believes that his appointment will speed it up even more "as companies look to open source software to accelerate their shift to the cloud."

"Cloud Foundry has quickly become the way applications are built on the cloud," said Ramji in a statement. "Major corporations on the supply and demand sides of the cloud market are putting significant resources behind what we're doing. They're doing so because they know they can commit to Cloud Foundry as their cloud platform with confidence."

"The growth of the Cloud Foundry project is really phenomenal," said Jim Zemlin, The Linux Foundation's Executive Director, in a statement. "When an open-source project is experiencing this kind of growth, it is critical to have a neutral leader in place who can support the project and community and facilitate that momentum. Sam's experience in the application development market and open-source community makes him the perfect fit for helping to drive this project into the future."

Not everyone is sold on the Cloud Foundry. Joe Fernandes, Red Hat's Director of Product Management for OpenShift PaaS, recently wrote that Red Hat's OpenShift is simply a better PaaS platform.

In particular, Fernandes believes Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a better base operating system for a PaaS than Ubuntu and that Docker and Google Kubernetes are superior container technologies. Last, but most damning, Fernandes accused Cloud Foundry of having an "open core model [which] can leave the door ajar for industry fragmentation, proprietary vendor-designed add-on solutions, and ultimately vendor lock-in."

Who's right? Who's wrong? Which open-source PaaS technology will come on top? We don't know yet. I'm sure though that with Ramji running the Cloud Foundry show, the PaaS race has become much more interesting.

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