[OpenStack Foundation] OpenStack Mission & Goals

Soren Hansen soren at linux2go.dk
Fri Jan 6 10:11:38 UTC 2012

2012/1/6 Ewan Mellor <Ewan.Mellor at eu.citrix.com>:
> 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.

I think you're missing my point.

Every time the process has been explained, it's gone something like "RAX
will publish some drafts, will accept feedback, and eventually the final
documents will be published". That's not a democratic process. What if
the feedback isn't unanimous? Noone has even suggested that any of this
will be put to a vote (neither the full documents, nor individual points
of contention), and if so, who would get to vote, etc.. No matter how
good the intentions are inside of RAX, the best way for the community to
accept the end result is for the community to own the process.

My point is that as soon as the foundation is established, all these
things might be rewritten completely anyways, so instead of spending a
lot of internal RAX resources on writing documents that has a very short
expected lifespan, I suggest we elect what is essentially a working
group that will do the same work.

Of course there needs to be legal frameworks in place, and regardless of
whether this is a process driven entirely by RAX or a process driven by
a community working group, it will need signoff by lawyers. That's only
natural when forming a legal entity. I just don't see why that means
that the process can't be community driven.

Would it make you happier if my proposal had said "This is the working
group who is tasked with capturing the mission and establising the
structure of a future OpenStack foundation."? It's insignificant to the
proposal what this first group is called.

> 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.

Rackspace doesn't necessarily need to give up these assets as soon as
the working group is established.

> 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.

Maybe it's just me (although I doubt that's the case), but being "kept
up to date a bit more often" just isn't good enough.

> Let's not pretend that this is easy though, and that all we've been
> missing so far has been six insightful sentences.

I've never suggested it's easy. I'm just suggesting that the process is

> The Rackspace management team need our support and constructive
> involvement, because what they're doing is *hard*.   Let's give them a
> break.

I'm just trying to save everyone some time.

* The establishment of the foundation will involve an election of some

* The foundation will be entirely self-governing and will be able to
  able change any and all parts of its bylaws/constitution.

(Granted, these are only assumptions, but I sincerely hope they're
correct. If not, it doesn't sound like the sort of foundation everyone
is expecting.)

So an election will take place anyway. Whether we have it now or after
all the documents have been "finalised", shouldn't negatively affect the
time to deliver. Also, if the community disagrees with the documents
that come out of the RAX-driven process, they'll be revised anyway, so
putting it into the hands of the community (in the form of a community
elected provisional board or working group) now also shouldn't
negatively affect the time to deliver the foundation that the community
wants, afaics.

Soren Hansen        | http://linux2go.dk/
Ubuntu Developer    | http://www.ubuntu.com/
OpenStack Developer | http://www.openstack.org/

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