[OpenStack Foundation] Foundation Structure: An Alternative

Mark McLoughlin markmc at redhat.com
Sun Mar 11 14:38:36 UTC 2012

On Fri, 2012-03-09 at 14:50 -0800, Boris Renski Jr. wrote:

> In my view the price tag for the sponsorship and the ultimate means
> for raising the money is not what drives OpenStack’s vendor
> independence principles. What matters the most is the degree of
> decoupling between the front-end, marketing  and the technical
> governance. Much of the OpenStack current momentum is due to this
> fairly unique way of doing open source where on one end you have an
> open, meritocracy-based technology community and, on the other –
> structured commercial interest that evangelizes it. As long as the two
> sides remain sufficiently decoupled (as they have been so far) – no
> OpenStack principles will be compromised.  
> I think that the community needs to do away with this geek, open
> source mentality of “all corporations are evil”

FWIW, I don't think I've noticed the "all corporations are evil"
mentality during any of the foundation discussions to date.

Then again, I haven't noticed the "petulant moralism of the meritocracy"
in OpenStack either.

So, perhaps those attributing such unreasonable behaviour to folks could
call out specific examples in future as they occur?

>  and harness the value in strong commercial forces evangelizing and
> battling for the interest of the independent technology community.
> This is what got OpenStack to where it is now. So far the line between
> technology and marketing been well maintained. The bottom line is that
> a) technical committee must be elected and driven by meritocracy; b)
> foundation board should have virtually no influence (which is the case
> in the current structure) on the technical committee. Everything else
> is noise. 

Rackspace and others have done an awesome job of evangelising and
promoting OpenStack to date. I'm sure no-one wants that marketing
success to falter.

However, you're overstating the current and proposed independence
between the project's technical community and the entity evangelising
the project (i.e. Rackspace currently, the Foundation in future).

Looking at:


the Foundation is responsible for "project management", community
management (including the technical community, I assume), release
management, "encouraging and rewarding contribution" and, importantly,
the governance structure of the project itself. Any power the technical
community has over the project is devolved to it by the Foundation.

In the proposed structure, the Foundation is ultimately in complete
control of the project just as Rackspace is now. It is not analogous to
the separation between Linux project governance (i.e. Linus) and its
evangelism (i.e. the Linux Foundation).

If the primary motivation for the current proposal's emphasis - decision
making by corporate appointees, very large corporate cash contributions
and a multi-million dollar annual budget - is purely on the evangelism
and marketing side, perhaps the notion of having two separate
organizations is worth considering.

However, to make that work, the organization responsible for the project
would have to own the OpenStack mark (so that e.g. it has full control
over decisions about what can be announced as an official OpenStack
project release), but perhaps delegate the responsibility for
administering that mark to the marketing organization.


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