[OpenStack Foundation] OpenStack Foundation

Mark McLoughlin markmc at redhat.com
Thu Jan 5 22:19:03 UTC 2012

Hi Mark,

On Thu, 2012-01-05 at 15:16 -0500, mark at openstack.org wrote:
> As Jim mentioned, I'm going to focus on establishing the foundation
> this year and am really excited to be able to dedicate the time and
> attention it deserves, alongside Jonathan, Stef, and many others.
> I've found myself spread a bit too thin the past few months, as I'm
> sure we all have in the crazy whirlwind of the OpenStack universe. 
> To kick things off I've created a Foundation page on the wiki and
> published a "Foundation Mission" draft for comment

Nicely done on the Foundation Mission. It covers a lot of ground
concisely. Great start. Really.

At first glance, one thing that seems missing is "OpenStack is a
self-governing meritocracy". Compare with the GNOME Charter, "How the
ASF works" and the Document Foundation Manifesto.

There's lots of ways we could reflect this principle of meritocracy -
e.g. to highlight that the foundation is not an entity separated from
its members, but rather its members are the foundation. Members are
empowered beyond the points you list; they are empowered to
fundamentally shift the direction of the foundation itself. Influence in
the foundation is based solely on what one is doing to drive the project
forward. etc.

Another thing I wouldn't be too keen on is the overly negative "defend
the trademark" references. I'd go for "determining the appropriate use
of the trademark". The trademark is an asset of the foundation that
needs to be fairly shared amongst the foundation membership, not some
precious jewel to be locked in a basement and jealously guarded.

But, again ... great start.

In some ways the mission statement is fundamental to the foundation, but
in other ways it won't nearly have as much impact on the success of the
foundation as its structure, governance and culture. For that reason,
I'd tend to say "the mission statement looks fine, let's get on to the
meaty stuff".

RAX have a lot to be commended for and will be worthy of high praise
indeed if this is done right. The feedback below is purely my little bit
to help make that happen.

>  as well a a rough timeline for the next couple of months:
> http://wiki.openstack.org/Governance/Foundation
> The first thing you'll notice is that I tried to keep it simple and
> stay out of the questions of HOW the foundation will achieve the
> mission, because I think it's good to start with an idea of the
> purpose before debating the many ways in which a foundation could be
> structured to achieve it (as several people pointed out on the list).
> So much of the HOW is too be discussed, debated, and ultimately
> determined, but if you look at the timeline you'll see that in about a
> month our goal is t have a draft structure to review with everyone.
> I'm hopeful that we can rally around the Mission between now and then
> and get it finalized.

Having to wait another month before any discussion of the structure is
very disappointing.

It sounds like there are "numerous other" RAX employees who have the
privilege of some insight into the ongoing drafting. That may have been
intended to convey RAX's commitment to establishing the foundation, but
it comes across to me like there's a party going on that the rest of us
aren't invited to.

I assume some basic principles for the structure of the foundation have
been settled on in the months since the announcement. I really don't see
why those principles can't be shared and debated on in advance of the
full blown verbiage.

> Jonathan and I will host a webinar in the next week or so as an
> additional method of gathering feedback.  We are also thinking an in
> person meeting in February in Santa Clara might be helpful, and can
> add other forums.

IMHO, the mailing list is the one forum available to us which enables a
truly open debate.

I think the emphasis should be on encouraging that debate here on the
mailing list for all to see, archived for posterity.

The previous thread here that I contributed to felt a little like
Thierry and I chatting alone in a giant cavern.

That concerns me for two reasons - (1) the silence of all those
excellent RAX OpenStack developers suggests that those folks are either
afraid to publicly speak their mind on these matters, or they are
ambivalent about them and (2) there are obviously many other discussions
happening away from the transparency of this mailing list.

> And of course we'll have lots of time dedicated during the Conference
> in April, details of which are coming together so stay tuned for an
> update on that from Lauren & Stef very soon.

I look forward to the foundation planning these events openly and
transparently :-)


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