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

Narayan Desai narayan.desai at gmail.com
Thu Jan 10 20:59:41 UTC 2013

Dave, thanks for taking the time to respond. I think that it is clear
that there are a lot of opinions on this, and I think that it will
help us all to discuss them concretely.

On Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 4:03 AM, Dave Neary <dneary at redhat.com> wrote:
> So you're talking about the individuals deploying and operating OpenStack in
> test and production environments? To summarise in few words, sysadmins and
> DevOps?

I really think that the important characteristic is this group's
relationship with the openstack project. These are folks that are less
involved in the project, contributing in a formal way either rarely or
not at all.

While operations types are in this category, I am thinking of it as a
more expansive category that includes people that are casually engaged
with openstack. I think this is an important distinction.

>> Dave, I think that my formulation of the user category is somewhat
>> orthogonal to the categories that you're talking about; conceptually
>> it is the user/dev split.
> My main issue with the user/dev split in this context is that it does not
> cover the spectrum of the OpenStack community - it does not cover people who
> are not Python coders but who (for example) provide marketing expertise,
> organisational support and budget, co-ordinating local meet-ups, package
> OpenStack for various distributions, do some of the glue work to make it
> install more easily, write documentation, work on the website and wiki, and
> so on.

Thinking about the engagement continuum, all of the folks that you are
describing above fall into the "more engaged" end of the spectrum,

I'm not trying to suggest in any way that the user committee shouldn't
work with more engaged users as well; I currently see the gap being
largest in terms of casually engaged users.

> OpenStack users will, in general, be getting OpenStack from a third party,
> be it Ubuntu, Red Hat, Fedora, Suse, whatever. Or they might make an
> organisational commitment, and then the CIO would be the key decision maker
> and bridge between his DevOps team and the foundation.

I'm not sure that I agree with this. While many OpenStack users will
be getting packages from a third party, I think that it would be a
mistake for the project to assume that consumers will be completely
abstracted away from the upstream project here. Moreover, I think that
balkanizing what active user community we have by splitting it across
the different distribution is not the best move here.

I'm actually not so concerned about users when they get to the point
of making an organizational commitment. At that point, they will be
contributing in some fashion, they definitely have institutional buy
in, and the associated mandate to contribute to the community. I feel
like the existing processes seem to work pretty well for contributors.

> I think it would be useful for us to come up with a set of personas
> (personae?) covering the various types of "OpenStack user" - because I do
> not think that there is just one type. This would help us avoid the trap of
> using broad unqualified statements ("users often...", "these people
> usually...", "users tend to use...", "the focus of many users...").

This is a good idea, particularly in a group that is this large.

We can definitely start with:
 - adopters/deployers of openstack
 - institutional contributors of openstack
 - user group coordinators

I'm sure I'm missing others here. I wasn't intending to be exclusive
in the particular user classification I was discussing, I just see a
lot of issues in that particular ecosystem.

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