Tag Archives: linuxcon

The OpenStack Big Tent

I’ll be giving a presentation at LinuxCon next week about the ‘Big Tent’ at OpenStack. It’ll go something like this …

The OpenStack Big Tent

OpenStack is big and complicated. It’s composed of many moving parts, and it can be somewhat intimidating to figure out what all the bits do, what’s required, what’s optional, and how to put all the bits together.

The Problem

In the attempt to tame this confusion, the OpenStack Technical Committee defined what’s part of the Integrated Release and what’s not, so that you, the consumer, know what’s in and what’s out. One of the unintended side effects of this was that new projects were treated as second class citizens, and had trouble getting resources, developers, and a seat at the table at the developer summit.

As OpenStack continues to grow, this became more and more of a problem.

With the Liberty cycle, the Technical Committee has taken another look at what makes a project part of OpenStack, to make things better for the projects, as well as for the consumers.

Are You OpenStack?

The question that has been asked all along about any project wanting to be part of OpenStack was, is this thing OpenStack? To answer this question, a number of criteria were applied, including interoperability with existing bits, maturity, diversity (i.e., is this thing entirely developed by one company, or does it have broader participation?), and other things. This process was called Incubation, and once a project graduated from Incubation, it could be part of the integrated release.

As the stack grew, these questions became harder to answer, and more projects were getting left out of the tent, to everyone’s detriment, and to the growing confusion of the folks trying to use the software.

So, in recent months, the Technical Committee (TC) has decided to turn the question around. Rather than asking “Is thing thing OpenStack?” the new question is “Are You OpenStack?”

This changes how we look at making the determination on a few fronts.

OpenStack is People!

As Thierry Carrez Sean Dague said in their Summit presentation, OpenStack is composed of teams of people, working towards the betterment of the overall project. To that end, we’ll now welcome everyone to the table, if they are OpenStack.

So … how’s this defined?

Something is OpenStack if it:

1) Aligns with the OpenStack Mission: to produce the ubiquitous Open Source Cloud Computing platform that will meet the needs of public and private clouds regardless of size, by being simple to implement and massively scalable.

2) Follows the OpenStack Way – Open Source, Open Community, Open Development, and Open Design. (More here)

3) Strives for interoperability with other things that are OpenStack.

4) Subjects itself to the governance of the Technical Committee


But while this solves one problem, it creates another. As a user of the OpenStack software, I really still need to know what’s in and what’s out.

There is no longer going to be a single release that is defined to be OpenStack, how do I know which bits I need, and which bits I can live without?

To help sort this out, a system of community-defined tags will be applied to the various pieces of OpenStack, starting with “tc-approved-release” which will, initially, just reflect what was already the integrated release. These tags will indicate project maturity, as well as other considerations. Packagers, like the CentOS Cloud Sig, can then use those tags to determine what they want to include in distributions.

Who’s In

As a result of this change, we immediately have several new projects that are part of OpenStack, that were previously held at arm’s length:

What’s Next?

People are still going to expect a release, and exactly what that means going forward is a little unclear. Every six months there will be a release which will include stuff tagged ‘tc-approved-release’. It will be opt-in – that is, projects can participate, or not, as they like. Or they can release on their own cadence, as was discussed about a year ago.

There are still some details to be worked out, but the overall benefit to the community seems like it’s going to be huge, as we include more great ideas, and more passionate people, inside the Big Tent.

Paul Biondich keynote, LinuxCon Europe 2014

In his keynote yesterday, Paul Biondich mentioned a few numbers – OpenMRS has been in development since 2008, and is deployed in over 70 countries – but mostly, the number he focused on was one – individuals whose lives have been touched by the project. Doctors, patients, and Open Source developers.

I’ve been following OpenMRS for several years, since discovering the project while I was working at SourceForge, and learning that it was started by a visit to Kenya, to a hospital where paper-only medical records were hampering patient care. The trip, which Paul almost declined to go on, changed his life and the course of his career, and he began to devote his time to developing OpenMRS, which is now the standard medical records system in many countries, including Kenya.

Paul observed that medicine is, in large part, an information science. Having access to the right information at the right time can be the difference between the life and death of a patient. Of course, it’s only one tool in the toolbox, but it’s a critical one.

Paul, and all the other people at OpenMRS, have long been an inspiration to me, and represent all that is good and noble about Open Source. His keynote is well worth watching once the videos are posted.


LinuxCon Japan day 0

My flight out of Lexington was delayed an hour and a half, resulting in a very tight connection in Chicago. I ran from gate to gate, and arrived as they were sounding the gate closing alarm. And a gate agent said that she thought I shouldn’t go, because my passport expires in September, and they’re not going to let me through immigration. (Turned out to not be a problem at all.)

But I made it on board – last one through the gate door – and had a pleasant flight to Narita. I arrived at Narita at about 5pm, and went to buy train tickets.

First challenge was getting cash. My debit card doesn’t have a chip in it, which is how cards work everywhere in the world other than the US, so the ATM said it wasn’t a valid card. Fortunately, the other ATM accepted it, and I was able to buy train tickets.

I took the train to Nipponi, and then changed trains there to go to Mejiro, without incident. People were very helpful in telling me how to get where I needed to go, and my worry was for nothing. The train was cheap ($12 and $1.50 for the two trips) and the taxi from the train station to the hotel was cheap ($15) and fast, too. I expected the trains to be packed, but they were spacious and incredibly quiet. Apparently it’s rude to speak on the train – or at least to speak loudly.

The airport was really quiet, too. The noise level in public spaces is really surprising – soooo quiet.

I arrived at the hotel around 7:30pm, and it is beautiful. It’s easily the most beautiful conference venue I’ve ever been at, and probably the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed at. Check out the photos at http://www.hotel-chinzanso-tokyo.com/

My photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rbowen/sets/72157644738464202/
Conference website: http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/linuxcon-japan/
Hotel website: http://www.hotel-chinzanso-tokyo.com/

Day One at LinuxCon

Although much of yesterday at LinuxCon was spent in a jet-lagged fog, it was a great first day. I arrived at the Edinburgh airport at 8 in the morning (I know, I should have come a day or two early!) and took the bus to downtown, then walked up to the conference venue. It’s a lovely conference center located a short walk from numerous lovely pubs, bakeries, and shops.

I spent most of the day at the OpenStack booth, talking with people about what OpenStack is, as well as with people who have been using it for a long time and had deeper questions, or wanted to share what they’re doing with it.

In the evening, I met up with several colleagues – one of whom I had talked with online but never met – for dinner and discussion. I’m frequently impressed by my coworkers and their passion to solve problems, rather than simply jockeying for position and prowess. These guys really want to identify and squash bugs, both technical and relational. I love it.

After a very long day (I was up for nearly 40 hours, I think – time zones confuse me) I finally crashed around 9pm and got 11 hours of sleep. I feel much more human today and am really looking forward to the day. I have a few interviews I have tentatively scheduled for today and tomorrow to record for the RDO blog. Hopefully I can track these folks down.