[OpenStack Foundation] Updating the OpenStack Mission Statement

Allison Randal allison at lohutok.net
Fri Feb 12 16:37:56 UTC 2016

On 02/12/2016 07:25 AM, Thierry Carrez wrote:
> Boris Renski wrote:
>> Since we've decide to embark on this journey of changing the mission
>> statement, we better introduce a mission change that can at least be
>> viewed as a credible attempt to help OpenStack in a meaningful way.
>> Alternatively, let's leave it alone. Cosmetic changes we are
>> contemplating to broaden the mission further don't help OpenStack in my
>> opinion.

"The perfect is the enemy of the good." The new mission statement is
substantially better than the old one. Don't dither it endlessly. Make
the improvement, knowing that we can make further improvements in the
future as needed.

>> For instance, we all know that the container ecosystems have been
>> spinning their stories in a way that poses a threat to OpenStack. This
>> is also a lot of valid criticism around "all things to all people".
>> There is also AWS has won and OpenStack is just for NFV thing. How can
>> we use this "change of mission exercise" as an opportunity to address at
>> least some of those threats?

This is not a "change of mission exercise". It's isn't even a
"re-examine and recommit to the mission exercise". This is a "make sure
the mission statement accurately reflects the current mission exercise".

We would benefit from running some strategic exercises, since it's clear
that we aren't all on the same page. But, this is not the right time,
place, or way to start that. And more critically, that kind of
conversation has to start with the strategic ground-work of explicitly
laying out everyone's underlying assumptions. OpenStack serves a variety
of purposes for a variety of people and companies. Avoiding the trap of
trying to be "all things to all people", involves being very crisp about
the different expectations, and which we will or won't satisfy.

The beauty of open source, is that it's fine for users, operators, or
vendors of OpenStack to have goals for it that are outside the core
mission. But the mission defines where we at the heart of OpenStack
collaboration are investing our effort. It's the solid focus that
anchors the miasma of differing interests in reality.

> Back to where the idea of changing it started[1], the concern was that
> the mission statement was completely ignoring two major goals we have:
> interoperability and serving the end users. Hence the suggestion of
> slightly altering it to include those goals. The idea was not to change
> it... The idea was to add the missing pieces to it.

Nod, let's hold this exercise to the purpose.

> You can't completely change a mission statement for an open source
> project in the middle of the road -- you will basically never agree on
> what it should say now. And you should certainly not change it today to
> address the PR threat of the day -- otherwise you should prepare to
> change it every year.

One thing I can guarantee is that changing the mission every 5 minutes
to please the press is a sure path to failure.


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