Kinvolk was founded in 2015 in Berlin. We started as a team of four open source engineers focused on improving existing open source projects rather than creating new ones. Our founding project was building the rkt container runtime alongside CoreOS. Our contributions to rkt cemented our engineering reputation and led to us contributing to many subsequent open source projects together with many of the leading companies in the industry.
Early on, as part of our efforts to support and grow the open source communities we were part of, we started organizing community events. The first was systemd.conf in 2015, shortly after our founding. We continue to put on events. These include All Systems Go!, Cloud Native Rejekts, and the Cloud Native Computing Berlin meetup.
In early 2018, we launched the project that would become our first commercial product, Flatcar Container Linux. We have since announced our ambitions around Lokomotive, our Kubernetes distribution, and Inspektor Gadget, a collection of debugging and inspection tools. Keeping with our original idea, each of these projects builds upon existing open source technologies.
What's in the name?
Kinvolk is derived from the word “Kinfolk.” In fact, it's pronounced the same, being that in German the “V” sounds like an “F”. The word kinfolk is a term meaning extended family. And this is how we view the relationship between the Kinvolk team and the communities behind the open source projects we contribute to and interact with. When you do open source right, you don't do it alone, you do it in collaboration with the extended open source community.