Google remains the dominate source of code contributions to Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) projects, accounting for more than half of all code commits, according to a new report from Mirantis’ Stackalytics.
Stackalytics’ numbers show that Google was the source of nearly 53 percent of all code commits, which was seven-times more than the second largest contributor, Red Hat. Treasure Data, which was acquired last year by Arm for $600 million, was No. 3 in terms of commits from a specific vendor, followed by CoreOS, which Red Hat acquired early last year for $250 million.
Google’s domination is not a huge surprise as many of CNCF’s largest projects were sourced from Google, with the most prominent being Kubernetes. However, the Stackalytics numbers showed that gPRC had the largest collection of Google commits. GPRC is an “incubating” project at CNCF that was developed by Google and donated to CNCF four years ago. Kubernetes had the second most Google-based commits, according to the Stackalytics numbers.
Boris Renski, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Mirantis, said that Google’s dominance was significant when compared to contributions from its rivals. Renski noted that Microsoft, which he said is “generally a good open source citizen,” contributed around 2 percent of the code to CNCF, primarily around Kubernetes and Helm. And Amazon posted only 27 commits total.
“This shows how dominant and how serious Google is about trying to win the cloud by leveraging open source,” Renski explained in an email. “Essentially, they are trying to do exactly the same thing with Azure and AWS as they did with iPhone when backing Android. Just like any phone manufacturer became Google’s friend in the battle against Apple, every hardware manufacturer will become Google’s friend in the battle with Amazon. It is not an accident that the first GKE on-premises service is specifically Kubernetes based.”
Stackalytics was originally started as an open source project at the OpenStack Foundation. It was initially focused on analyzing code commits to OpenStack projects, but has more recently began to look at CNCF projects and other independent open source projects like Istio, Spinnaker, and OpenShift.
The Stackalytics numbers also showed that many of the CNCF projects continue to be driven by a single contributor. For instance, it found that Treasure Data accounted for nearly half of all code commits to the FluentD logging platform; that Uber accounted for 64 percent of all commits to the Jaeger tracing project; and that Buoyant was the source for 84 percent of code commits to the Linkerd service mesh project.
“In fact, the only CNCF project with less than 40 percent dominance by a single vendor is Prometheus, originally built by SoundCloud, but in the last six months virtually exclusively maintained by independents – and Red Hat,” the report noted.
“This is not to say that this is a bad thing, it is not – it is just a statement of reality,” wrote Fintan Ryan, an analyst at RedMonk at that time. “While the broad community around the projects may be large, the number of significant core contributors is relatively small, and the number of truly independent contributors is smaller still.”
Chris Aniszczyk, COO at CNCF, said at that time that the organization sees this pattern as common for many of its projects when they start. “We look to guide our projects through a lifecycle and help them get to a sustainable level of collaboration and development,” he explained.
Aniszczyk added that CNCF does have the ability to “archive” or remove projects that lose traction or are no longer being used.
CNCF also has its own DevStats tool to track project commits and community interactions. A Mirantis spokesman noted that Stackalytics was looking to merge its insight with that from CNCF and other projects to provide a broader industry view on the source of code commits.