March 2019 OpenStack Board Notes

5 minute read

This is the second report in a hopefully ongoing series of notes capturing OpenStack Foundation Board Meeting activities.

As a reminder (or in case you weren’t aware) the planned OSF board meetings are published on the wiki and 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.

I would encourage anyone interested to listen in. Or join us at the 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.

March 5, 2019 OpenStack Foundation Board Meeting

The original agenda can be found here and the official minutes are here. Jonathan Bryce also usually sends out unofficial minutes to Foundation mailing list. The March 5th notes can be found here.

Board Member Changes

The Platinum and Gold board member positions are tied to the sponsor organizations, with the Platinum members being appointed and the Gold members being selected as part of an election amongst that group.

Due to shifting job responsibilities, career moves, etc., representatives from this group do change from time to time. Brian Stein (Rackspace) and Mark Baker (Canonical) have left the board, replaced by Andy Cathrow and Ryan Beisner, respectively.

Confirmation Guidelines

Allison Randall has been leading the effort of formalizing confirmation guidelines for new projects coming in under OpenStack Foundation governance. The draft of these guidelines have been available for some time, so this was more of a final review to see if there were any further details that needed to be worked through.

Personally, I find section 3 (“Technical best practices”) to be a little vague in practice, but not enough to raise it as an issue in the meeting. These are guidelines afterall, not a legal rubric.

I am very happy with the detail in section 4 (“Open collaboration”). The items listed under here were the main points of concern I had with how new projects will be handled. I believe things like following the Four Opens and adhering to the community code of conduct are very important to make sure there is some sort of cohesion between the different groups that will make up the greater community. I’m also happy to see having an OSI license explicitly called out.

The main conversation around this topic ended up being the need (or not) to have non-public discussions about incoming projects. There were some strong opinions as to whether it was even appropriate for an open source organization such as ours should even have private board meetings to discuss these things and whether that would cause the appearance of making decisions on new projects behind closed doors.

Mark Radcliffe’s main point was there could be times where legal reasons would cause the need. The good example I saw was if a director worked for a company that somehow had a legal restriction that would prevent them from making public comments about a project being led by a competing organization.

Then further down the route of needing private board meetings, would it be better to have them for every project so it’s not as obvious that there are some concerns when they actually are needed for a new project.

I think it was Mark McLoughlin that raised the point that we do reserve the option to have an exclusive portion of our regular board meetings, so we could be discrete by letting Alan Clark know that we would like to use that time at the next board meeting to have a private discussion without making it too obvious that there are concerns about a project.

I could see some of the legal arguments for maybe needing this, but ultimately I think we need to stay open in these discussions. By being part of the board, we are taking on the obligation of publicly discussing matters of the OSF. If someone has a legal reason to not discuss something in the open, then I think it’s probably better they either recuse themselves from the discussion or have a direct conversation with the team or Alan to raise their concerns.

We are pushing for the Four Opens for the community. I believe the Board needs to operate as openly as possible too.

We will be planning another meeting in April to give everyone time to think through some of the concerns and then hopefully agree on how this will be handled going forward.

The good thing is that the confirmation guidelines themselves were approved and we now have something in place as we evaluate new OSF projects.

Compensation Committee Update

Alan presented the current draft of the compensation committee’s work on setting goals for the OpenStack Foundation staff for 2019. I am not able to find a public reference to that at the moment, but I will see about posting a future update.

Basically, this sets the goals for Jonathon Bryce for directing Foundation staff activities for the year. It includes things like the new project confirmations, promotion of OpenStack activities, and other efforts for the staff to work towards.

India Events

Prakash Ramachandran raised this topic to get some awareness of efforts he is leading to promote OpenStack and Open Infra events in India, and the desire to at least have a discussion about a potential future Open Infrastructure Summit in India in the future.

Unfortunately we ran out of time. I would have liked to have had more discussion on this topic. We have a very large contributor base in India and many Indian companies using OpenStack. I think it would be great to help connect with this community by having a Summit there and I was glad to hear about some of the smaller events Prakash and team have been organizing in different regions.

(side note: I had a great experience going to an OpenStack Days event in Bangalore a few years ago.)

Hopefully we will hear more on this in the future.