Congratulations Knative on Joining the CNCF!

Today, Knative officially joins the CNCF as an incubating project. As part of the Knative community, we’re excited to reach this milestone. A big “thank you” to all the contributors, community members, and end users who’ve helped make this possible!

You’ll recall that in November, the Knative community voted to submit Knative to the CNCF for adoption as an official project. The CNCF reviews all requests, evaluating each project they accept across a variety of dimensions. And in the past few months, the Knative project and its community have been working with the CNCF to complete that evaluation. This week, the CNCF completed that work and the members of the TOC voted to accept Knative as an incubating project.

“This is a huge milestone for the Knative team and the larger Kubernetes ecosystem. We’ve always seen Kubernetes as a system that is built to be built upon. Not only has Knative fulfilled that promise, it has also introduced new ideas and patterns that will have impact beyond the project itself.”

–Joe Beda, VMware Principal Engineer and one of the original co-founders of Kubernetes

As Knative begins this new chapter, VMware’s Knative contributors are excited for this next phase and the opportunity ahead. Here’s a quick recap of the project’s background and its future plans.

What is Knative?

Knative is a developer-focused serverless application layer which is a great complement to the existing Kubernetes application constructs. In this case, “serverless” means “avoiding routine toil associated with managing an application.” Unlike the core Kubernetes primitives, Knative aims to provide simple resource definitions which allow developers to ship applications without needing to engage deeply with Kubernetes. By simplifying the concepts but utilizing Kubernetes resource patterns, Knative also acts as an “on-ramp” for Kubernetes usage and can level out the learning curve for Kubernetes.

Knative consists of two components: an HTTP-triggered autoscaling container runtime called “Knative Serving,” and a CloudEvents-over-HTTP asynchronous routing layer called “Knative Eventing.” These components are each useful on their own, but they combine to enable a large number of scalable application patterns, including microservice implementation and event-driven architectures.

The Knative Community

Open source projects don’t grow on their own, and Knative is no different. Community has been important from the early days of the project, and today’s Knative community draws contributors and adopters from a broad range of companies including Google, Red Hat, IBM, Cisco, SAP, TriggerMesh, and, of course, VMware. Today, the Knative community has more than 50 active contributors, with room for more. With its new status as an incubating project in the CNCF, we look forward to welcoming new contributors to focus on production reliability, expanding feature sets, and managing the community with sustainable growth in mind. We’re also seeing more organizations who ship Knative getting involved in the contributor community, and adoption by other projects, such as Tensorflow’s kfserving.

Over time, the community also successfully opened up additional leadership roles and improved the governance of the project. Initially, Steering Committee seats were allocated by company to selected individuals, and the Steering Committee as a whole selected the Technical Oversight Committee. Through many discussions with the community and by building trust over time, both the TOC and Steering seats changed to a community election process, enabling community members to directly vote on and impact the day-to-day community leadership of the project.

The most powerful open source projects in the industry today are built around open governance principles, and we appreciate Google’s commitment to legitimate open governance and congratulate the Knative team and community in their inclusion in the vibrant CNCF ecosystem.

– Craig McLuckie, VP R&D, VMware Tanzu

The donation to CNCF will further enable the community to build and strengthen the project by simplifying the process of shared funding for future initiatives, including the inaugural KnativeCon at Kubecon EU in 2022. We’re looking forward to seeing those of you who can attend in person or virtually! This has been a community dream since 2019, so it’s hugely exciting to finally see it realized, and in a professional way as well!

VMware’s Commitment

VMware currently has more than a dozen engineers working full or part time on Knative, and is actively recruiting software development, community management, and project management roles. We’re invested in Knative for the long run, and we’re looking forward not only to KnativeCon, but many of the other benefits of CNCF being a neutral home for the project, where we can all participate on a level playing field. We’re also looking forward to completing the trademark committee’s work on a Knative Conformance process, and welcoming a host of new collaborations and contributors from across the industry.

And we’re hoping that we’ll be meeting you as a contributor or end user one of these days!

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