Dead of the great Openshift 2

Dead of the great Openshift 2 – as many of you may have known by now, Redhat is discontinuing Openshift v2 by the end of September 2017 for free users. They have already informed customers via email and publish the news on the site, click here.

The death of Openshift v2 was quite predictable as the new platform, Openshift 3, is more capable of doing things and are built on top of the most recent technology stack. Additionally, they have not updated the client app of v2, rhc, for more than a year and anyone who has tried to work with that experienced bunch of weird and annoying Ruby warnings due to use of deprecated libraries.

I personally tried the newer platform. It is amazing and very well structured. It uses Docker extensively and built on top of Kubernetes, further reading here. The new infra is suited very well for large businesses and not limited to start ups or SMEs. Its simplicity to provision instances can actually compete with AWS to some extends in my opinion.

Despite all of the v3 goodies, I will miss one and only one feature of Openshift v2 and that is the ability to run your app, service 24/7 on free tiers. The feature was one of biggest winning point of Openshift in my opinion when it has launched initially that attracted many open source developers. Developers could publicly offer their services for free backed by Openshift v2 and they just needed to do minimal housekeeping from time to time.
An awesome option for those passionate developers that do not have any sorts of income from their hobby projects and just doing things for the sake of making the world a better place to live.

Even though I don’t declare myself a real hacker and passionate developer, I had a couple of side open source projects running on the Openshift v2 platform and not paying a single cent for any of them since I am not making a single cent out of them either. This was quite natural for me as well as others. Now we all have to look for a new house for our open source projects or just abandon them.

Despite all the limitations of v2, I was quite happy and managed to handle great amount of load on free tiers with no issue. For instance, one my (most important) side project that was relatively successful is Simple Weather Indicator that its back-end, Eris service, was/still is running on Openshift v2 free instance and handling between 1.5K to 2K load per day pretty awesome. Now with the dead of v2 the project has no place to be hosted yet, thanks to all crappy sleeping strategies of PaaS providers, including Openshift v3 as well as Heroku, included in their T&C.
As a result, I am simply unable to run my service 24/7 and if I don’t find any free PaaS provider that allows me to run my open source project all the day, all the time, I guess I will eventually have to declare the EOL of Eris. However, Eris is not the only project that is going to affect, many others that have lighter use will be dead as well, you can see the full list at project page.

However, one can argue that free tiers may be abused for malicious activities such as phishing, and preventing to run an instance 24/7 reduces such chances.
I strongly disagree with such a mindset. First of all, I believe performing any illegal activities (spamming, phishing, cracking) does not require a 24/7 instance. Indeed the instance just needed to be alive on demand. Let’s think about a simple scenario of sending junk emails contain malicious links to people in order to crack their accounts via executing a bad Javascript code in the provided link. Such an activity does not need a live running instance by any means. The instance that hosted the malicious code can start up and response to a request, in this case user clicks on the link in the email, and then shutdowns automatically after a period of time of inactivity. Hence, disallowing to run an instance for 24/7 is not harmful at all for those who are using it for malicious purposes.
Secondly, misuse of a system does not mean the provider should limit the usage. This sounds ridiculous to me. Assume, all the email providers stop offering free email services because some people tried to abuse the system. Does it sound logical or rational? I don’t think so.

I find only a single reason behind imposing more limitations on free tiers in PaaS providers and that is MONEY. This can be seen from two angles. (1) Saving money (data center, energy consumption, computation power, etc.) (2) Earning money by perusing (pushing) free tier users to subscribe to paid schema. I have no point to argue against the above points because the first point is a common sense and the second one is a marketing strategy regardless whether a person like me feels good or bad about it. It is what it is. But, let’s not forget that we are all standing on the shoulder of giants who made sacrifices in their lives for us to have a better future and if any of them wanted to keep their own benefits in priority we wouldn’t have many things that we have now. To elaborate my point more precisely, everybody in their life should make some sacrifices to push the future of humanity to the next level, but when the giant companies merely think about their own benefits they make such a poisonous environment that nobody is willing to help anymore.

To conclude this post I believe the open source community is not in a good position today as it was previously. Many big companies namely contribute to open source projects or open source their projects but usually abuse the model in many ways for their own profit and has no moral compass or sympathy towards others’ hard work. It seems that open sourcing is a marketing and economical strategy to reduce cost and impact the market as open sourcing is a trend now. How to reduce the cost? By having some passionate people to contribute to projects for free out of their own time and the company doesn’t return back anything to the community.

At last, if anyone knows/can help me to host my Eris service and being able to run it 24/7, please send an email to kasra@madadipouya.com

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