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As VMware’s Chief Open Source Officer, I spend my time thinking about and interacting with — no surprise — open source software and the people and processes that make it successful. Open source software takes on many forms and types, from the smallest script or library to entire platforms. And it’s more than just “what” the software does. It’s also the “how,” or  the process that builds the software. Today’s release of Tanzu Community Edition reflects that perspective.

Open source is a key methodology behind some of the most interesting technology developments and an ideal way to foster interoperability and cross-industry collaboration. From Kubernetes to Spring, these software innovations grew fast, gained adoption, evolved and matured at astonishing speed because of the community collaboration and ready access. Open source methods and community have been the “secrets of success” behind Linux. But looking beyond these marquee examples, you’ll find open source everywhere — it’s how modern software is built. Sometimes those are small parts of the software, and sometimes the software we are talking about is more or less all open source. 

But when people engage with software, very few of them think “source” first, and “what does it do” later. Software is first and foremost about “solving a problem” or “getting something done.” The goal should always be to find the best “thing” to solve the problem or create the opportunity that meets your business goals. At the same time, as enterprises become ever-more technology dependent, open source is increasingly important in every industry, and specifically the degrees of open-ness in the process of creating software are often hotly debated.  

But when we take a step back from our excitement about technology and social science (given that open source is very much the intersection of both), from a customer or user point of view, what matters most is whether the specific implementation of a solution that they deploy solves the problem at hand in a secure, timely and reliable manner. For users and customers, the biggest concern is that the software was carefully tested, documented, secured, integrated and that the vendor or project community has reached the point where the software they produce is fit for the purpose, or as we often say, is enterprise ready.

Different companies have different approaches to reaching that goal. And with the release of VMware Tanzu Community Edition, VMware adds another approach to our portfolio. Tanzu Community Edition, released as open source, offers the community an option that’s not a product, bound by the terms of a financial transaction — it’s free. And “free” here is in both senses of the word: free as in freedom and free as in free beer. 

Tanzu Community Edition can be downloaded and installed on your systems free of cost (there are transition paths to fully supported commercial offerings), and Tanzu Community Edition is free as in open source. There are no usage limitations, functional restrictions, no sales calls — you are in control of how you use Tanzu Community Edition. Download the latest version of Tanzu Community Edition, install and start interacting with the project maintainers and developers. Give us your feedback, send patches and become part of the team that makes Tanzu even better. 

Tanzu Community Edition also gives you access to the leading edge of our development, or the next “thing” we’re solving for. By its nature, it’s maintained and directed by the VMware Tanzu team, but the project is open to everyone and invites both existing customers and curious new users to explore and discover what’s inside and makes it tick. You’ll soon see that Tanzu Community Edition provides a fresh look at where we plan to take our enterprise class implementation of the Kubernetes platform.  

To learn more about Tanzu Community Edition, visit the site, download it and read the documentation. We look forward to seeing you in our community.