April 2019 OpenStack Board Notes

6 minute read

These are just some of my notes from the OpenStack Foundation Board of Directors meeting that took place on April 8, 2019.

Upcoming and past OSF board meeting information is published on the wiki and the meetings are open to everyone. Occasionally there is a need to have a private, board member only portion of the call to go over any legal affairs that can’t be discussed publicly, but that should be a rare occasion.

This meeting was added to discuss some of the incubating project confirmations ahead of our next face-to-face “joint leadership” meeting with the Technical Committee and User Committee on April 28, the Sunday prior to the next Open Infrastructure Summit in Denver, Co.

April 8, 2019 OpenStack Foundation Board Meeting

The original agenda can be found here and Jonathan Bryce sent out some unofficial minutes to the Foundation mailing list. The April 8th notes can be found here.

Project Confirmation

After the typical roll-call and approving prior meeting minutes administrative activities, our first order of business for the day was to review proposals from the two pilot projects that are ready for confirmation to become full OpenStack Foundation top level projects: Zuul and Kata Containers.

This was initially supposed to be a walk through of the presentations with part of the goal of seeing what other information we might need to be able to fully evaluate them before making anything official. At least in the case of Kata Containers, we felt there really wasn’t anything more needed. So after some quick discussion of whether to defer until the meeting in Denver, we decided to hold the vote today. More details below.

These presentations by each team were driven by ansering the factors called out in the OSF Project Confirmation Guidelines. This was our first time going through a real world case of answering these, and I think they held up well and ended up being a good way to cover most areas of concern and guide the discussions.

Kata Containers

Eric Ernst from Intel presented for Kata Containers.

Mission Statement

Openly collaborate across a diverse, global community to define and implement secure, versatile container solutions that combine the benefits of virtualization with the performance and ease of containers.

Basically, Kata is a container runtime that leverages lightweight virtual machines to provide the isolation and security of VMs with the speed and flexibility of containers.

Governance

The Kata Containers community is made up of Contributors and Maintainers, with an Architecture Committee responsible for overall architectural decisions and making final decisions if Maintainers disagree. This seems roughly equivalent to OpenStack’s Contributors and Core Reviewers, with the Architecture Committee equivalent to what some have argued the OpenStack Technical Committee should really be.

Really great to hear that they do have policies in place that no more than two members of the AC can be from the same company and that they have already been holding elections every six months using the same condorcet method CIVS voting as used in the OpenStack community.

Technical Best Practices

Kata has documentation available and it is considered an ongoing and active focus.

Code contributed to the project goes through peer code review before being accepted.

Test and CI/CD is enforced on code changes to help ensure quality.

Bug/issue tracking is in place and security VMT is in place.

Open Collaboration

I was really glad to see the Kata Community is following the “4 Opens”:

  • Open Source
  • Open Design
  • Open Development
  • Open Community

I think this is really the cornerstone of what has united the OpenStack Community, so my concern with expanding the umbrella of the OpenStack Foundation was making sure the new projects coming on also believed in these principles. It’s really great to see the Kata Community believes in them too and considers all four as important elements to an open source project and community.

Active Engagement

Big kudos to the team for the level of involvement they’ve had with trying to get out and get active engagement from contributors and users. They’ve had a presence at the past OpenStack Summits and will be at the upcoming Open Infrastructure Summit. They will also be holding sessions at the Project Teams Gathering following the Summit in Denver.

They’ve also made an effort to get out to other communities. They’ve been attending OpenStack and Open Infra Days events, but have also been active at Kubecon, KVM-Forum, Open Source Summit, and DevSecCon. All great areas for this type of project.

Voting

All questions were answer openly and clearly, and there really didn’t seem to be much reason to wait to do a vote. Concern was raised by some board members that we had said we would be doing the vote at the end of the month so we should stick to what we had said, but after a quick poll of the board members it was decided to move ahead with the approval vote.

With one abstaining (due to the change in our stated voting plan) we did approve the Kata Containers confirmation. Kata is now an official full top level project of the OpenStack Foundation.

Zuul

The Zuul CI project grew out of (and in many ways helped shape) the OpenStack project and community, so this seemed like it would be even less of a discussion.

Presentation

Monty Taylor presented the slides that the Zuul team has made available. I believe the plan is to keep that available, so I won’t go over each section here. I think it’s enough to say, all the areas that the board is concerned about for confirming a project have been followed and shaped by the Zuul team well before we even starting talking about other top level projects.

Voting

Voting did hit a snag for this project though. One piece of Zuul, the zuul-preview component does get compiled with some GPLv3 libraries. The OpenStack Governance Bylaws do specifically call out the Apache 2.0 license.

I think it may be a matter of properly phrasing things, but since no one had a clear answer if the use of GPLv3 was acceptable in this situation, we plan on working through the legal aspects of this and regroup for further discussion at the face-to-face meeting in Denver.

Bylaws Change

A potential change in the wording of another bit of the bylaws was brought up, with the plan to actual vote on the change in Denver.

4.16 Open Meetings and Records. Except as necessary to protect attorney-client privilege, sensitive personnel information, discuss the candidacy of potential Gold Member and Platinum Members, and discuss the review and approval of Open Infrastructure Projects, the Board of Directors shall: (i) permit observation of its meetings by Members via remote teleconference or other electronic means, and (ii) publish the Board of Directors minutes and make available to any Member on request other information and records of the Foundation as required by Delaware Corporate Law.

This was in reaction to past meetings where it was brought up that some board members may have some reasons where they can’t speak publicly about a project or backing company being considered and would need a private “closed door” session to be able to raise their concerns.

Setting aside for now that I’m against doing any of the new project evaluations behind closed doors, I did raise on the mailing list before the meeting that I would really rather this be reworded to make sure it is clear that these meetings would only be an exception basis, and as much as possible all discussions about new projects should be done in the open for all to see. The way this is worded now, to me at least, reads like these meetings are expected to be done in private. I know that is not the intent of everyone involved right now, but I would rather have that intent made clear in the way this is added in the bylaws versus just leaving it open for interpretation.

I’m sure there will be plenty more discussion around the wording, and even the for this before we meet in Denver.