QubesOS' Continued Use of Saltstack

Since QubesOS 3.1 Salt has been used as the configuration management engine. At the time of this decision in 2016, Saltstack was was an independent private company. Since then it was bought by VMware in September 2020. More recently VMware has itself been bought by Broadcom in November 2023.

After the acquisition Broadcom discontinued 56+ standalone VMware products that are used in almost every datacenter. These are software products that are more widely used than their inherited Saltstack software. So I’ve grown increasingly concerned that Saltstack will eventually be put on the chopping block, or at least be neglected due to the way management is done at Broadcom to push for profits.

According to the Saltstack GitHub:

The original sponsor of our community, SaltStack, was acquired by VMware in 2020. The Salt Project remains an open source ecosystem that VMware supports and contributes to. VMware ensures the code integrity and quality of the Salt modules by acting as the official sponsor and manager of the Salt project. Many of the core Salt Project contributors are also VMware employees. This team carefully reviews and enhances the Salt modules to ensure speed, quality, and security.

Sounds like VMware plays/played a big part in Saltstack. No mention of Broadcom and if they still plan on having their acquired VMware employees focusing on Saltstack. This is in light of the first round of VMware layoffs after the Broadcom acquisition.

Does anyone else share these concerns, and what more “independent” configuration engine could QubesOS replace it with? I honestly don’t know the financials involved for Saltstack and if they have enough of a volunteer base to continue to push out releases if their primary sponsorship funding and administration is pulled.

1 Like

I dont share your concern. The Salt project is larger than Saltstack,
and the community will outlast any changes in sponsorship.

1 Like

It’s not just losing a sponsorship, but that VMware is the one who manages the Salt Project. Finding a replacement sponsor is easier than finding suitable replacements to properly manage the project for the long-term. In addition, these replacements would be community volunteers opposed to VMware employees. That makes a huge difference in the amount and frequency of contributions and management we could expect going forward.

I hope you’re right, because I’ve seen too many projects suffer at the hands of corporate takeovers to not be at least concerned. Yes, the community will still go on, but at what expense? Salt has many competitors, many with much larger communities. Communities shrink as people leave to better maintained and managed alternatives. The reason for this post is to ask ourselves is this the direction the Salt Project may go if Broadcom axes their VMware employees who work on and manage the project?

Completely share your concerns. Broadcom is one of the worst possible owners, it is still a pain to have their hardware, including wifi, on many devices running Linux-based OSes.

Basically, it is a company that hates GNU/Linux, Linux users and FLOSS the most, according to my fillings.

Related good news: Qubes OS is deprecating use of salt in the updater and moving to own updater in place of salt (1).

As stated in the last comment in the issue, it’s only in the updater and there are no plans to move away from Salt except for the updater.

i am sure there is so many people relying on salt if things change, a wild community fork will appear.