Canonical and LXD. What does this all mean?

Are companies betting on a less free future?
Recent information about Canonical and LXD had less impact than it should. Of course, it is not a product that ordinary users, at least those of us who produce or consume content on Linux, have too much information.

I confess that sometimes I feel like Dumbledore trying to convince the Ministry of Magic that Voldemort is back. There are still many convinced that the good times when the control of the destinies of free software was in the hands of the community  continue, but the truth is that more and more big technology companies, particularly IBM, Microsoft and Google influence in decisions.

Canonical and LXD. What are you talking about, Diego?

First things first. The cloud, despite cloudophobes, is not simply using a computer remotely. It is to use several, but on the same hardware. The server can run Photoshop on Windows 11, LibreOffice in Flatpak format and VLC in Snap format at the same time and a user on their Chromebook can switch between them without having to change operating systems.

This is possible thanks to container technology.  Unlike the virtual machine, which is middleware that acts as an interpreter between the host operating system and the program being executed, the container is part of the operating system that allocates exclusive hardware resources to it so that it can run a program with the operating system that runs on it. corresponds.

So that the difference is understood. If I use Photoshop on Windows in a virtual machine installed on Linux, graphics processing is done using the corresponding Linux driver. If I run it in a container, it will use the Windows 11 driver. Same thing, but in reverse if I run LibreOffice and VLC on top of Fedora and Ubuntu in a Windows VM or on top of containers.

When one works with many containers, doing it manually can be cumbersome, so many automation solutions were created. One of them, the one proposed by Canonical is LXD. Its main competitors are Kubernetes (In the hands of a foundation made up of Google and the Linux Foundation) and OpenShift (Red Hat/IBM)

Until a few days ago, LXD was under the control of the LinuxContainers community. (The open source project on which it was based and also supported by the company.) However, an ad in the Web page (Which, as of this writing is down, reported that Canonical was taking over the project and both the repositories, documentation, and forums were being moved to their website.

It should be mentioned that LXD, which is yet another of the technologies that Canonical failed to make massive, it is a fundamental part of their plans to advance the use of the Snap package in their distributions. However, the company assured that the project will not be tied to an operating system or package format.

However, only Canonical employees will be able to be maintainers of the project.

Resignation

For his part, Stéphane Graber, leader and visible face of the LXD project resigned from Canonical. En a post in his blog (which at least I cannot enter) he explains the reasons for his retirement.

As I have told my colleagues and senior management, Canonical is not the company I enthusiastically joined in 2011 and it is not a company I would like to join today, therefore it should also not be a company I would like to join. I keep working.

On Canonical's decision he said:

I obviously wish that [change] hadn't happened, I see a lot of value in a project like LXD running in a more open community environment where everyone's input is valued and everyone's contribution, no matter the size, is welcome.

Graber, who plans to go into consulting, has promised to continue contributing code to LXD.

I may be wrong, but this is just the start of yet another move towards less cooperation and more competition in the open source world.


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