Last Thursday, on May 30, the OpenStack Foundation Board met over the phone for two hours to discuss a number of topics. The date for the meeting was set well in advance, the call was open to anyone who cared to listen in and agenda was posted in advance to our wiki page.
Below is my summary of our discussions. The official summary was posted earlier by Jonathan Bryce.
For this meeting, Lew Tucker acted as chairman in place of Alan Clark.
The first big topic on the agenda was an update from Mark Collier on the Foundation’s work-in-progress plans for official OpenStack training and certification programs.
The idea is that, with the huge interest globally in OpenStack, we’re hearing consistently that there is a shortage of people with OpenStack expertise and training. The Foundation would like to address this in a way that adds new Openstack experts, grows our community and establishes a base knowledge set that everyone is united around.
The OpenStack ecosystem is already ramping up its training offerings and classes are available today from a number of companies all over the world. The Foundation wants to encourage this and help accelerate the availability of training.
Crucially, the Foundation proposes to introduce a new trademark program which would require all OpenStack training and credentialling providers to include a base set of training material and tests which would be developed by the Foundation itself. The hope is that we would protect the OpenStack brand by ensuring that all official training courses would have the same basic content and quality levels.
This proposal of a new trademark program triggered a significant amount of debate which continued on over email after the call. On the call, Jim Curry and Boris Renski kicked off the discussion by expressing similar concerns about whether the trademark program would actually hinder the growth of training offerings in the ecosystem. Jonathan clarified that intent isn’t to prevent training programs from competing with additional content, but rather to ensure all programs have a common baseline. Others like Nick Barcet and Todd Moore chimed in with the view that OpenStack really needs this and Nick drew an analogy with Linux Professional Institute certification.
After much discussion, the conclusion was that the topic needed further discussion before any concrete steps could be taken. Mark Collier closed out the topic by making the point that the “Built for OpenStack” trademark was currently being used for OpenStack training and this would continue until an alternative plan was put in place.
Expect to see plenty more discussion about this soon on the foundation mailing list!
Next Board Meeting
We had some discussion about when our next meeting should be held and, based on the availability of board members, it looks like it will be held on Thursday, June 27 between 9am and 11am Pacific time.
Gold Member Committee
Next up, Simon Anderson discussed a new committee that we agreed to set up at our previous meeting – the Prospective Gold Member Committee.
The idea with this committee is that when companies approach the Foundation and express an interest in becoming a Gold Member, the Committee will work with the Foundation staff and the prospective member to ensure their application is properly prepared before it comes before the board.
The committee will essentially act as a mentor for prospective new members and help them understand what is expected of Gold Members. The hope is that this will result in applicants being better prepared than we’ve seen previously.
One concern expressed by Lauren Sell and others is that the committee shouldn’t become a vetting committee. The committee doesn’t have the mandate to turn away unsuitable candidates. If a candidate chooses to ignore the committee’s advice and mentorship, they should still be able to have their application heard by the board even this ultimately means the application is likely to be received unfavourably by the board. This point was accepted and everyone was in agreement on the mandate for the committee.
The members of the committee will be Simon Anderson, Devin Carlen, Rob Hirschfeld, Joseph George, Sean Roberts and Nick Barcet.
Update from the Executive Director
Next, Jonathan gave the board a quick update.
Jonathan talked about his attending a number of OpenStack events internationally recently and how there is still tremendous opportunity to grow the OpenStack community and engage new people. He also talked about how he met with a number of significant OpenStack users and hopes to be able to use their stories to illustrate the truly global nature of the OpenStack user community.
He also talked about the success of the OpenStack Summit in Portland and how we had 2600 attendees compared to the 1300 attendees six months previously. Feedback on the summit has been overwhelmingly positive with the most common negative comments related to the Wi-Fi network and how some of the breakout sessions were massively over-subscribed. The Foundation will continue to invest significantly in networking infrastructure at the conference and there is work underway to restructure some of the room layouts at the upcoming Summit in Hong Kong based on the feedback from Portland.
Jonathan also talked about how our financials are in good shape. We had a surplus from the Portland Summit which will allow us to make the Hong Kong Summit a kick-ass event. The Foundation is also well advanced in completing its first audit and we expect to see fully audited financials for 2012 published in August. Apparently this will be a good milestone in our progress towards non-profit status.
Role of Core
After Jonathan’s update, board members had an opportunity to briefly raise topics of interest.
First of those was Rob Hirschfeld who wants to bring together a group of board members to discuss the what “Core” project status means and should mean in future.
Rob talked about how he feels that the issue of whether core projects need a plugin architecture will be the key to unlocking the discussion and making progress.
Working With Standards Bodies
Randy Bias mentioned that he had been approached by someone from the IEEE who talked about the possibility of the IEEE working together with OpenStack on interoperability and standardization issues. Randy was mostly just passing on the message but also made the point that we can probably use the the experience of other bodies to help us ensure interoperability between OpenStack clouds.
Joshua McKenty quickly took a firm and contrary view to Randy’s – that standardization bodies are typically pretty ineffective and would actually slow down our progress on OpenStack interoperability.
The discussion concluded with general agreement that while individuals are welcome to talk to and learn from whoever they wish as part of their efforts to help make progress on OpenStack interoperability. Josh also agreed to provide the board with an update on his work on refstack.
The final brief topic was a joy indeed. As had already been discussed on the mailing list, Josh felt that my previous meeting summary breached a policy agreed by the board (before my joining) that directors would make no public comment board meetings until after Jonathan had published an official summary of the meeting. Josh also felt that my reference to the agenda of the executive session had breached the confidentiality of the session.
Jonathan and I repeated the point that Jonathan had not gotten around to doing an official summary in a reasonable time and explicitly given me the go-ahead to post my summary. In some follow-up emails, I also made the point that – in this case – we actually made no effort to keep the agenda of the executive session private during the public part of the meeting so it was completely appropriate to mention it in my summary.