Bridging the gap to bring two Presto communities together: Welcoming Starburst Data to the Presto Foundation

Steven Mih, Co-Founder & CEO

This week at Ahana we announced our company launch and vision to further grow and evangelize the PrestoDB community alongside the Linux Foundation and Presto Foundation with founding members Facebook, Uber, Twitter, and Alibaba. Also this week, Starburst Data shared a blog announcing that they joined the Presto Foundation. 

As news of Ahana and PrestoDB circulated in outlets like ZDNet, Datanami, and many more, we kept hearing the same question come up, one that community members like Thomas Spicer at OpenBridge asked in his recent blog: Why are there two Presto projects and how many do we need?

To provide context, today there are two separate Github repos, two Slack channels, two websites for Presto, and two foundations. First, there’s the original PrestoDB with Linux Foundation’s Presto Foundation. Second, there’s the similarly-named fork PrestoSQL with Presto Software Foundation, which was started and controlled by the new co-founders of Starburst Data. Whoa. 

You may be thinking, “wow, what a hot mess!” And you wouldn’t be alone. I’ve talked with many developers who feel similar and just want to code without all the confusion! Gale Hashimoto & Chiara Portner at Hopkins Carly recently blogged about open source project naming conventions and how they often advise developers. 

Fortunately, the situation is looking like it will soon be resolved.  

The Linux Foundation is one of the most experienced organizations in helping bring together developer communities. Arguably Linux Foundation is the spiritual center of open source, along with Apache Software Foundation. And the Linux Foundation has achieved unity numerous times, some examples being with Linux itself and with container image formats via the Linux Foundation’s CNCF. 

While some of this may feel like “yawn-inducing inside-baseball”, in my view it matters a whole lot. Just look at what the Linux and Kubernetes projects have achieved for the greater good of developers worldwide. 

Transparency is one of the key tenants of the Linux Foundation’s Presto Foundation (see their three main principles in the image below). Underlying the principle of a united community is an idea that software development needs to thrive, and that isn’t the case when efforts are duplicated across multiple project code bases.

Since late December of last year, I’ve been aware of many meetings and continuing efforts between Linux Foundation’s Presto Foundation and the Presto Software Foundation to align with the above principles. Over the last few days however, a breakthrough in bridging these two communities has occurred. While we won’t know the reasons for some time, I suspect that Ahana may have been the catalyst.  

I look forward to welcoming Starburst to the Presto Foundation and for the benefit of the community, I hope we can see the confusion end with: 1 foundation, 1 primary code base for new development, and 1 community.