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Red Hat tempts devs with OpenShift Origin upgrades

Moves all pull requests to GitHub for community equality

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Red Hat has instituted changes at platform-as-a-service OpenShift that put outside contributors on more equal footing with Red Hat employees.

The Linux kingpin and cloud-wannabe announced a set of features designed to increase community participation in its PaaS in a blog post by the OpenShift Team on Thursday.

The most significant change is moving to a pure GitHub pull request format for code contributions, so internal Red Hat developers will have to submit changes in the same way as community participants.

"We moved our entire team so every change that they make, you see them putting in pull requests," OpenShift's director of engineering Matt Hicks told The Register. "Our goal is to make this a very objective process and not a subjective process."

Along with that the company has made it easier for people to see where its priorities lie by publishing its planned code pushes on Trello, and has created a dedicated Google+ page for developers to hang out on.

"Some of the feedback we're getting from users is there are areas they want to dig in or change, [but they] didn't want to do that work if we were working on that area at the same time," Hicks said.

The company has also spun-up a Jenkins-based continuous integration environment to help test in isolation every pull request.

In traditional testing models you take a bunch of changes and test them together, but with OpenShift's new process "each unique pull request is pulled into its own machine and we run the battery of tests against that one change in isolation," Hicks says. "Sometime's it's really helpful to know it was just your change that was tested."

Red Hat opened up OpenShift in April 2012 as part of its commitment to create a truly open source platform-as-a-service.

The technology sits alongside the VMware-fostered Cloud Foundry PaaS.

Since the launch of Apache v2–licensed OpenShift, non-Red Hat developers have started to contribute proposals and code beyond the usual raft of bug fixes and stabilization patches, Hicks said.

"The variety of contributions has been impressive," he said, pointing to code for plug-in infrastructures atop OpenShift as well as suggestions for helping the platform support massively scaled-up apps as examples of developer enthusiasm.

"Our hope is that we've ceded enough to really give people a strong platform-as-a-service foundation," he said.

Red Hat knows that to have any chance of competing with the juggernauts of Google (App Engine), Microsoft (Azure), and Amazon (Elastic Beanstalk, among others), it will have to generate enthusiasm for its tech among the open source community. ®

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