The future of Serverless

Hello all,

After I saw “the serverless platform” announcement on the homepage, I felt obligated to open this topic and raise my questions. I do not want to start a flame war, but I just request some transparency about the future of this project.

I was a good user of Serverless in JAWS times, I contributed to it a little, I put it into production in our 100+ developers company. Even I am a bit away from its active use because I changed my stack to JAVA, still I am following what is going on with this project.

Lately what is going on smells a bit weird to me. This project got popularity because it was the first serious attempt to build a deployment tool for AWS Lambda and it was covering some missing parts of the AWS offerings. However in any case, it was merely a deployment and build tool like Gradle, Maven or similars, and I believe that it should stay like this.

On the other hand, I feel that the founders of this project have some plans to leverage this popularity to build a profitable startup. From what I see, there is a funded company which is called Serverless, Inc. and this company is trying to dominate first of all an architectural software development approach, starting from its name. This company is backing an open source project which is supporting a bigger Cloud provider’s offering, and seems that now this company is trying to launch a similar service and maybe it will try to sell its own premium serverless service.

If the plan is like this, do you think it is perfectly ethical? I’d like to know about your plans and whether you are trying to be the next Redhat. Also I think the contributors have right to know if their contributions are being sold.


Hi Cagataygurturk,

Yes, I absolutely remember you from the early days, and I was also super sad when I noticed you left our community to build your own Framework because you are a VIP.

I understand your concern.

I am the original author of JAWS/Serverless Framework, and it was always a personal dream of mine to work on it on a full-time basis. But, doing open-source full-time is hard. Especially for me back then because I had very little resources - as I was living in a small studio apartment, coding the project on a laptop with a cracked screen.

Fortunately, the project had strong traction, which attracted investors, and after various grassroots fundraising efforts, it eventually became clear raising venture capital was the only way I could continue work on the project and scale it to meet the ambitious goals I believed it could achieve. So, I did.

As a result, there is a company (Serverless, Inc.) that is now the owner and maintainer of the Serverless Framework, which I founded and now run. We employ 12 people. Even better, we hired many of our open-source contributors and are improving the Framework faster than ever.

The Company plans to keep the Framework open-source forever. To be clear, we are making products to accompany it. Not just because we are a company, but because there are things that myself and the team wish to build to solve problems for serverless workflows and architectures which we believe can only be sustained as a product.

All of our planned products will be optional. It’s up to them to succeed by their own merit. Additionally, several other companies have discussed building their own products into the Framework as plugins, and that’s fine with us.

Regarding your question of whether this is ethical. That’s a big question. There are dozens of companies who have started through open-source projects, all of which have received tons of voluntary contributions, yet also benefit tons of end-users who pay nothing. I am personally unable and uncomfortable performing that ethical calculation.

But I am capable of empathy. And if you feel you have personally suffered an injustice, then tell me about it. My email is austen[AT]

Overall, it’s still early for products, and improving the Framework and its community is where the majority of our dollars are going. We’ve just hired a new, awesome person who is in charge of acknowledging contributors and making them more visible (as long as that’s something they desire).

Even though you have a similar project, you are still one of our VIPs and we’ll be reaching out to you regarding this effort. The contributions you made earlier on were meaningful to the project, and meaningful to me personally. Thank you :slight_smile:

Kind regards,
Austen Collins