[OpenStack Foundation] OpenStack Mission & Goals

Ewan Mellor Ewan.Mellor at eu.citrix.com
Fri Jan 6 06:03:22 UTC 2012

> From: foundation-bounces at lists.openstack.org [mailto:foundation-bounces at lists.openstack.org] On Behalf Of Soren Hansen
> Can't we just define the basic, *initial* structure of the foundation
> and have an election? Something like:
>     This is the OpenStack foundation.  There's a board. The board has 9
>     members. The board's job is define the structure and mission of the
>     OpenStack foundation before June 1st 2012.  Anyone can be elected
>     for the board. Every individual who has contributed to OpenStack can
>     vote.
> ..and then have the election.

No, we can't just do that.

If you want the foundation to be able to pay the salaries of critical project staff, or you want it to be able to repeat the conferences that we all enjoyed last year, or even more importantly if you want it to be able to defend itself when the patent trolls come knocking, then it needs money.  That means that it needs to be legally founded, and I'm not talking about a checking account with a couple of signatures on it.  If you're expecting multinationals across the spectrum from the US to Japan to be able to throw money into a pot, then you need to have a properly chartered organization around it. 

If you want to stop that pot of money getting taxed before you've spent it, then you need an international, non-profit organization.  Unsurprisingly, you can't just set one of those up with six sentences in an email.

You need to do all of that very carefully if you're not going accidentally exclude NASA or other government or academic institutions, either in the US or internationally.

And probably most critically, Rackspace is a publicly traded company, with a board of directors and shareholders, and legal responsibilities towards them.  With all the will in the world, Jon Bryce, Jim Curry, Lew Moorman nor anyone else could hand over the OpenStack assets to an organization that isn't well founded with a well defined mission and an internationally recognized legal framework.  Not unless you want to start 2012 fighting a shareholder lawsuit, that is.

I'm very happy to see conversations about the foundation.  It's great that everyone in the community is keen to see this get done, and it's great that Jim, Mark, and Jon have recognized that they need to keep people up to date a bit more often.  Let's not pretend that this is easy though, and that all we've been missing so far has been six insightful sentences.  The Rackspace management team need our support and constructive involvement, because what they're doing is *hard*.  Let's give them a break.


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