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Rackspace open-sources cloud APIs

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A week after adding API access to its Amazon-esque cloud, Rackspace has now open-sourced these APIs.

On Wednesday, the company said it had opened up the specs for both its Cloud Servers APIs and Cloud Files APIs under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Meant to encourage the development of open standards for all so-called infrastructure clouds, the move is in stark contrast to Amazon's much-discussed silence over its own API philosophies.

With Amazon leading the fledgling cloud market, many have suggested that the company's APIs should serve as a basis for industry standards. But Amazon is unwilling to even discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, Rackspace has made its intentions clear. "Rackspace is dedicated to bringing a coordinated effort to cloud development," Rackspace Cloud general manager Emil Sayegh said in announcing the opening sources of the company's APIs.

"We are working directly with our ecosystem of developers and the broader industry to share what we create with the open source community. We believe open source APIs are an enabling factor in making interoperable non-proprietary cloud solutions a reality."

The move was hailed by Rick Wolski, the brains behind Eucalyptus, an Ubuntu-loving open source service for mimicking Amazon's public cloud inside your own private data center. Eucalyptus is built around Amazon's published APIs, though Amazon won't say - one way or another - whether it's comfortable with the arrangement.

"We welcome Rackspace’s decision to provide their client-side tools as open source to the community," Wolski said. "It builds confidence among developers to know they can 'see' how the APIs function at a programmatic level. Moreover, by providing their API tools as open source, Rackspace is assuming a leadership position in helping to achieve cloud interoperability."

Like Amazon, Rackspace offers a public web service that serves up scalable access to compute resources, including processing power (Cloud Servers) and storage (Cloud Sites). Today, the company also open-sources Cloud Files language bindings for Java, PHP, Python, C#, and Ruby. These were opened up under the MIT license, and they're now available on GitHub here. ®

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