Jan 2019 OpenStack Board Notes

6 minute read

Chris Dent used to post regular, semi-subjective, takes on what was going on in the OpenStack Technical Committee. Even though I was there for most of the conversations that were being recapped, I found these very valuable. There were many times that multiple things were discussed over the course of the week, often overlapping, and usually competing for metal attention. So having these regular recaps helped me to remember and keep up on what was going on. I also found the subjective nature useful over “just the facts” summaries to be able to understand some perspectives on topics that I sometimes agreed with, sometimes didn’t, and often just hadn’t taken into consideration.

That was all while being actively involved in the TC. So I can imagine if there was someone interested in what was going on, but not able to devote the significant time it takes to read IRC logs, mailing list posts, and patch reviews that it takes to really stay on top of everything, these kinds of things are really the best way for them to be able to get that type of information.

This is my first attempt to take that kind of communication and apply it to the OpenStack Foundation Board meetings. The Board of Directors meet several times a year, usually via conference calls with a few face to face meetings where possible around Summits and other events. Hopefully these will be useful for anyone interested in what is happening at the board level. I’m also hoping they help me be better about taking notes and keeping track of things, so hopefully it’s a win-win.

January 29, 2019 OpenStack Foundation Board Meeting

The original agenda can be found here and the official minutes will be posted here. Jonathan Bryce also usually sends out unofficial minutes to Foundation mailing list. The January 29th notes can be found here.

Administrivia

Alan Clark started things off with the typical procedural stuff for meetings like this. Roll call was taken to make sure there was quorum. Minutes from the last board meeting in December were voted on and officially approved.

These meetings just recently switched from using WebEx to using Zoom. Apparently, as a result of that, the normal meeting reminders that folks were used to were not sent out, so there were a few absent and late. But I think overall there was a pretty good showing for the 28 board members. I believe there were only six board members not in attendance, which considering time zones, seems reasonable.

Alan thanked the outgoing board members for their time on the board. There were five of us, across Platinum, Gold, and Individual members, that were new to the board and we all had a few minutes to introduce ourselves and give a little background before moving on to business.

Policy Reminders

Especially useful for the new folks like me, there was a reminder about some of the policies that board members need to follow. I was aware of some, but definitely not all of these. I think it’s useful to include here:

Reading the Transparency policy was useful, and I especially liked seeing there is a heading title “General Policy Favoring Transparency”.

Meeting Schedule

Two face to face meetings are planned this year, one before the next Open Infrastructure Summit in Denvery in April, and another date to be determined before the following Summit in Shanghai, China in early November.

Speaking of which, up until that point we knew the Summit was planned in China but no official location was announced. It is now official that the Open Infrastructure Summit China will be held the week of November 4 in Shanghai.

Committee Updates

There are various committees within the board to work on different areas. The list of committees can be found on the Foundation wiki.

Most of the discussion was just making everyone aware of these. There are some listed on the wiki that are just there for historical purposes.

Since financial issues have a lot of impact on the community, especially now that there are less sponsors than there were a few years ago, I have decided to join the Compensation Committee. There are a few others that I find interesting and think are important, but I will wait a little bit before signing up for more. I know I have a tendency to want to sign up for anything I think I can help with without really thinking too much about the time commitment, so I am trying to be better about raising my hand too much.

OpenStack Foundation Pilot Project Guidelines

Allison Randall have a report on the effort to coming up with a set of written guidelines for new projects coming in as pilot projects under the OpenStack Foundation.

As the Foundation expands its scope to include more project beyond OpenStack to support “open infrastructure”, I think it’s important that we are careful about what we include to keep true to our existing community and our core identity. This group is working on writing a set of guidelines to help ensure that happens.

The current draft guidelines can be found here.

Some I would like to see a little more specific or reworded to be less subjective (following “Technical best practices”?) but I am happy to see things called out like “Open collaboration”. I am also a little concerned about how open governance is left.

To me, the Four Opens are what really defined the OpenStack community compared to other open source environments I had seen. I will have a hard time feeling really comfortable with adding any new projects that do not at least strive towards following the four opens.

Foundation Update

Jonathan and team wrapped thing up with a staff update. The slides can be found here.

It was great to see that there has actually been a 33% increase in community membership over the last year. But seeing the activity in the projects, this tells me that more and more involvement is casual or part-time. We have been working on making things more welcoming to new contributors and talking about ways to make contributing easier for those that aren’t spending a significant part of their work week on OpenStack and related projects. I think these efforts are very important and will be critical to our ability to getting more done going forward.

Following on from Allison’s update, there was a large part about the expanding role of the Foundation and the projects currently in the Pilot phase. Right now, these are Airship, Kata Containers, StarlingX, and Zuul.

There was some good coverage about where the Foundation can play a role in an expanded role of promoting open infrastructure. The main goals for this year were reported as strengtheing OpenStack (branch and community), helping expand market opportunities for open infrastructure, and evolving the business model of the Foundation to be this broader-scoped entity.

I’ll probably have more to say on some of those soon, but overall I think it was a good update and, all things considered, I think we are on the right track and at least paying attention to the things we need to going forward.