[OpenStack Foundation] Thinking about the mission of the user committeee

Narayan Desai narayan.desai at gmail.com
Thu Jan 10 03:35:00 UTC 2013

Hi Mark.

I think this would be fantastic, particularly if it was done as a
plenary-style session, where there wasn't much conflicting with it
schedule wise, at least on a project by project basis.

This might even be a good opportunity to start soliciting reference
architectures for deployments of various types. These might make for
interesting sessions and might help to incubate the community around
system design discussions.

On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM, Mark Collier <mark at openstack.org> wrote:
> One idea I discussed with Thierry was to kick off each "topic" within the Design Summit every day with a roundtable to share user pain points or other areas that users might see as priorities going forward.
> IMHO this would be a positive step, and is something we could implement in April.
> On Friday, December 28, 2012 11:11am, "Narayan Desai" <narayan.desai at gmail.com> said:
>> I originally sent this mail to Tim Bell, on the subject of a document
>> that he (and the other members of the user committee) are preparing.
>> Tim suggested widening the discussion to this mailing list, so I've
>> forwarded the message here. I'm particularly interested in others'
>> opinions about the mission of the user committee, and aspects of the
>> openstack community culture that this mission reflects.
>>  -nld
>> =====================
>> Hi Tim.
>> Thanks for the update on the user committee.
>> When Lauren (Sell) originally mentioned the user committee to me, I
>> was most excited about the addition of user advocacy into the
>> openstack community. From early on in the project (at least back to
>> Bexar when I started paying attention), openstack has primarily been a
>> developer-focused community. While this culture has been excellent for
>> encouraging contribution of code,  I think that this is a tendency
>> that needs to be moderated in order for openstack to grow to its full
>> potential.
>> I have a few comments; these aren't so much comments about the
>> document that you're circulating; rather, they speak specifically to
>> the mission of the user committee, which is only discussed briefly at
>> the end.
>> This mission of the user committee should (IMO) flow from a few basic questions:
>>  - How do users engage in the community?
>>  - How do we incentivize these participants to help fill the current
>> gaps that exist in the community?
>>  - How do we best integrate the perspectives of users into the design
>> process of openstack code?
>>  - How can the user committee facilitate a more productive engagement
>> between these two parts of the openstack community?
>> To the first point, there is often a tone of "patches welcome" in the
>> community, that is somewhat unwelcoming to users that can't or won't
>> develop code. This suggests that engagement solely on the development
>> terms is probably not a sustainable solution for the heterogenous
>> community that is developing around openstack. I think that it is
>> important to give these folks (ones that build systems, not so much
>> software) a role that they can identify with as a contributor to the
>> project.
>> I think that there are a large range of gaps between the coding and
>> deployments today. Openstack supports a wide enough range of functions
>> (and IMO it is necessary, not incidental complexity) that it is
>> difficult to boil down to simple configurations. I think this poses a
>> serious difficulty for both documentation and testing. These issues
>> have been discussed at length, but make me wonder if a different
>> structure would address these gaps as well as the social split as
>> well.
>> As I've written this, I'm realizing that the one thing that doesn't
>> sit well with me about the current structure you're proposing for the
>> user committee seems to institutionalize the current split between
>> developers and users, where I think that the committee should be
>> trying to figure out ways to blur the divisions between the groups.
>> I'd suggest adding in an explicit mission for the group at the top of
>> the document, in addition to the mandate. I think that might set the
>> tone for the rest of the document in a productive way. Considering my
>> lack of standing on the committee, I think that it might be
>> presumptive for me to suggest its mission, but I think that the four
>> questions above capture many of the things that I think are important.
>> I'm happy to help in any way you'd like. let me know if you'd like
>> additional comments, or participation in the documents in some
>> fashion.
>> Happy holidays.
>>  -nld
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