Subutai: Peer-to-peer, private, secure, stable cloud software that gives you control


Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Sep 19, 2017 GMT
Jon maddog Hall

I have been using the equivalent of “Open Source” since 1969.   My entire time in the computer industry has been spent:

  • writing software
  • using software written by the companies that employed me (so I had access to the sources)
  • using code freely written by others for their own use, then contributed to software repositories for others to use

I have used software from the GNU project since the mid-1980s and since 1994, of course I used GNU/Linux.

I have never personally used software from Apple or Microsoft either at home or (unless circumstances forced me) at work.  I resisted using closed-source software of every type.

During the last twenty-three (almost the magic “quarter century”) years I have advised many companies and individuals on how to make or save money with Free and Open Source Software and Hardware (FOSSH).   More times than I can count, I have had people approach me and say “Thank you for helping me get started.  I followed your advice and now...”.  They go on to tell me how they are now the CTO of their company, or they started their own company using FOSSH and crowd-sourcing, or they simply are enjoying their work more because they work with the FOSS community.  One man told me that he was now a multi-millionaire because he listened to me.  Unfortunately they did not “show me the money”, nor did I expect them to do so.

Throughout the years I did have offers to work for various FOSSH companies, I always felt that having “maddog” work for that particular FOSSH company was not right.  I felt that much of my value to the FOSSH community has been because of my remaining a neutral, balanced voice, not recommending one distribution over another, advocating all of “FOSSH”, pushing the concepts.  So I earned my living as a consultant, with various companies over the years supporting my work in general, instead of my work specifically for them.  I gave up a lucrative, interesting job at Digital Equipment Corporation, and turned down many other lucrative, interesting jobs because I wanted to remain “neutral”.

Until about three months ago.

In June, Alex Karasulu, a long-time Apache developer, emailed me and asked me to be the CEO of his company, OptDyn™.   They had been working for a long time on an open source,  private, secure, peer-to-peer cloud software named “Subutai™” that used no central authority.  A cloud that embraced the “Internet of Things”, a cloud that allowed the end peer to sell, buy or barter resources.  A cloud that encouraged “Goodwill”.

It was this last part that was particularly fascinating for me.  For years I had been hearing from people that they wanted to “give back” to FOSSH, but did not know how.  They told me that they were not programmers, documentation writers or translators, and they felt they could not “give back” in any way.  I told them that they could submit bug reports or even simply use the code, but they did not feel that was enough.

Now these people can “give back” to FOSSH projects with “Goodwill”, which could buy those projects some needed computing resources (CPU, Storage, networking, special devices).  No longer would these projects have to pay centralized cloud services for disk storage or CPU capability.  In fact, since Subutai even looks at parts of a peer as a “resource”, these projects could access devices (Alex calls it a “virtual laboratory”) from the “Internet of Things”.

Another nice thing about the project is that a lot of the software was developed (just like Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) in the early days) under contract to an agency "whose name we dare not speak”.  The agency had two groups, one that had a lot of resources and one that did not.  Subutai allowed them to share the resources in a secure, private, stable way.  Once that agency had the private, secure, stable cloud which they needed, the agency made it Open Source so others could have it too.  The agency’s needs also provided the opportunity to have a mature product “a first public release” (as of this publication date, Version 6.0.1).

What also attracted me was the way Subutai could pull together several long-term projects I have been working on.  A project to create powerful, inexpensive computers in Latin America, a project to bring better education through the use of FOSS and Open Hardware, and a project to allow qualified students to earn their way to a university education at the same time building their own business.  Subutai (and its contributing company OptDyn) could be the glue to bring all of these projects (and more) together in Latin America and then the rest of the world, starting with my second home, Brazil.

Finally, the gung-ho attitude of the team, their mascots and the fact they grew out of the Open Source world told me that this project was worthwhile.   Subutai will reset the cloud business, allowing telecoms, small Internet Service Providers (ISPs), schools, hospitals, other organizations and even individuals buy, sell and share computer resources.  The opportunity was too good to turn down.

So install the software today.  Kick the tires, see what Subutai cloud software can do.  Our software and web pages are at

Carpe Diem!

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