Sometimes, you mix two trendy topics, and all you get is a mess. For instance, combine Mel Gibson and the Old Spice Guy, and you'd have one nasty set of viral videos. But other times, two buzzworthy themes combine perfectly, like the bacon craze and artisan ice cream.
OpenStack, a new open source cloud computing initiative, is like the porcine ice cream.
The new collaboration of 25 companies including large hosting service Rackspace and NASA is trying to open up cloud computing, which has been dominated by Amazon's extremely successful and proprietary EC3 service.
Tech heavyweights lined up behind the project for its launch today, including the influential Tim O'Reilly.
"If cloud computing is the future, then understanding how to make that future open is one of the great technology challenges of our day," O'Reilly said. "Rackspace and NASA are taking an amazing step towards my vision of an open cloud future."
Here's why this is important: cloud computing is the idea that people (or corporations or governments) purchase computation as a service instead of buying and maintaining computers has been one of the dominant themes of the last several years. To simplify: Gmail is hosted in the cloud. You don't store messages on your machine; you just retrieve them when you need them.