The ranters are out in force this afternoon about Red Hat announcing the preview of its OpenStack distribution. It’s like OpenStack inserted a lightning rod into my TweeetDeck stream.

OpenStack really pisses people off.  You either despise it or love it. And that’s why the open cloud effort will survive. Anything that polarizing is bound to make it in the end.

The news had been expected for some time that Red Hat would release its own distribution. But when the news came out today, it was like pundits and partisans posturing about a political road show.

What is it about OpenStack that divides people? Here are my top five reasons, with assist from my friend and colleague Klint Finley:

  • OpenStack is a threat. And when people are threatened they attack.
  • OpenStack has had too much hype. Geeks don’t like hype.
  • The battle has moved from vendors (Apple v. Microsoft) to the perception of what is open and what is closed.
  • OpenStack is at once heartening and disappointing. Believers hope that OpenStack will become a federated environment. The disappointed see it nothing more than a fractured, industry coalition, controlled by large vendors such as Red Hat, Dell and Rackspace.
  • OpenStack is entirely unique. It is a new model that is like other open movements but different, too. It is compared to the Linux movement. But it really is not like it at all. Linux was created by Linus Torvalds. He still has final say what goes into the Linux kernel. OpenStack was created by Rackspace and NASA. Technical working groups decide what to include in OpenStack releases.

But overall, I am reminded what Guy Kawasaki said about Apple. Make something that some people will love and forget about the rest.

And that’s exactly what OpenStack is doing. It appeals to a group of people who believe in it. And that’s all that matters.

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