[OpenStack Foundation] Foundation Structure: An Alternative

Thierry Carrez thierry at openstack.org
Mon Mar 12 09:45:34 UTC 2012

Boris Renski Jr. wrote:
> While I like the simplicity and elegance of the newly proposed
> structure, I don’t see how it does away with the evils of the
> pay-to-play model…. Which is what you purport we are striving to
> achieve. What you, Josh, proposed is a simplified pay-to-play that
> arguably embraces the evils for the “market driven selfishness” in an
> even more obvious way than the model before it. In your case, all the
> seats are simply purchased for a fixed price of $200K.

Right, any pay-to-play model will create a threshold effect, and Josh's
proposal is just lowering the price to pay to get a reserved board seat
to something that a company like Piston Cloud can pay. Since a lot of
the 156 companies "supporting" OpenStack can afford such a price tag,
you end up with a board containing too many directors.

> [...] 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.

I tend to agree with that, which is why I focused on the Technical
Committee structure.

> Once we accept this, the question of structuring the board really
> becomes the question of how does one raise the maximum amount of money
> to continue to have a centralized body with a mission to evangelize the
> project. You can structure it by tiers to let the bigger guys pay more
> and get a bigger logo on the homepage. You can do a flat structure like
> Josh proposed. You can auction off the board seats etc.

I see four models for this:

All individual seats: All board seats are elected, you get one vote for
every foundation member. Sponsoring is done separately. This is likely
to raise the smallest amount of money, and the problem remains at
another level: "what is a foundation member ?".

Tiered structure: this is the current proposal, which is well balanced.
The only issue is that the board grows by 3 people when (if) a strategic
member is added.

Single-price: this is Josh's proposal, but I think it will result in a
board that is too big and unable to function.

Pay-to-vote: you have two classes: corporate seats and individual seats.
Individual members elect the individual seats (which represent 25-33% of
the total). Corporate seats are also all elected and corporations get a
vote for every ?$ they put in. One drawback is that large corporations
which are no longer guaranteed of getting a board seat will probably pay
less under this model.

Personally, I tend to prefer models that effectively prevent the board
from growing uncontrollably.

Thierry Carrez (ttx)
Release Manager, OpenStack

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