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Contributing Organization Guide

What is the Contributing Organization Guide?

A guide outlining the base requirements and recommendations for employees looking to contribute to OpenStack.


Developer Involvement

Why we need to send technical people into the community?

With technical people in the community, you will find it’s easier to trigger development tasks or discussions in the community to get the best chance of integrating with your business/product plan.

You need people to maintain your product, just as the community needs people to maintain projects in each release cycle to keep development going.

There are multiple chances in each release cycle to trigger development tasks in the community. Bringing more technical decision to the community will help you get more feedback and guidelines from developers and operators globally. Also, help them to make better cycle goals which also be a benefit for you.

How many people you should send?

Depends on your own plan, but try to cover the range of project services that you’re using or plan to use for your services.

Getting involved in these projects means you can:

  • Monitor the health of the project.

  • Be involved in design and direction of the project.

  • Being involved in and shape implementation discussions.

  • Avoid carrying downstream patches.

The more people you have working upstream, the better attention your feature will get. Providing more reviewers will definitely help merge your implementation to projects. Code review is a bottleneck for landing patches, more good reviews the faster code can land.

How long they should be there?

The ideal answer is to give the technical people as much percentage of their time as you can give, and for as long as possible.

If your company is large enough to have the choice, giving engineers more time to specialise and concentrate on specific areas tend to be more efficient than having engineers continually context switching as they have to wear multiple hats.

Having engineers spending more time upstream helps everyone by providing continuous input and feedback to tasks that you set as high priority. But it’s more then that, OpenStack relies on peer review. From landing code to its governance, to function the project needs people in the community reviewing.

Further, having engineers in the community long term will also keep the company ahead of the curve as they are embedded and engaged in the community rather then popping in and out.

To put more simply, the more invested a company is in the community, the more likely they are to earn a place of influence.

Why you need to sync with the technical community?

The community upstream is filled with passionate and intelligent people who all want what’s best for the project. Being involved means you can help shape and improve the project.

Better yet, instead of forking or adding downstream patches in your own products that you’d then need to carry, support and maintain, which can be very costly. You could push it upstream and get benefit from an entire community of developers improving and maintaining it with you. Effectively removing most, if not all of the additional cost and risk of maintaining it downstream.

It will also be better tested than anything developed internally because it will be tested by the community and used more widely than just your customers.

All these extra developers means more eyes on code finding, fixing, and improving the code. This means having a community of developers helping in the development and improvement of your own infrastructure.

Remember many hands make light work.



Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

  • Access to chat.oftc.net port 6697/tcp (IRC communication)

    • If utilizing an IRC bouncer port 443, to the bouncer, may be used.

    • See Setup IRC.


There are browser based IRC services, like irccloud, that will keep users connected and use the standard HTTPS (443/tcp).

If connectivity to certain ports are locked down or are a problem, a SOCKS server can be used to provide access.

Email Consideration

  • Ability to receive E-mail from and send E-mail to addresses at lists.openstack.org (mailing lists)

    • Mailing list can be high traffic, consider permitting use of external mail services to handle the intake from community mailing lists.

  • Consider an exception for standard email footers on emails being sent to the community mailing lists

  • See Mailing Lists (ML).

Operating System (OS) Considerations

There are many components and projects related to running and developing OpenStack all of which run on top of Linux. So a developer will need:

  • Permission to run Linux and install other open source software on employer-supplied hardware.

Technical Events

There are a number of technical events that are held where community, project, and cross-project planning and networking happen in person. Although this planning and networking does happen online outside these events you should consider sending developers along to be involved.

Some technical events include:

  • Project Technical Gatherings (PTGs)

  • Summits and Forums

  • Operator meetups

For more information on such events see: https://www.openstack.org/community/events/


OpenStack is a global community. Interaction with the community means working and interacting with people from different timezones and cultures, as such there are other non-technical recommendations that help facilitate engagement in the OpenStack community, these can be broken down into three areas: communication, culture and expectations.


Being a global community, with members from across the globe being available to occasionally work, talk or meet outside of typical office hours is paramount.

Some asynchronous communication mediums, such as email and gerrit, are heavily used, but at times these discussions can to be sped up by using more synchronous mediums such as:

  • IRC conversations

    • Working if developers from a different part of the globe may mean finding a time to chat on IRC when all parties are available.

    • Likewise, when reviewing patches, talking with a patch author in channel can greatly speed up reviews especially for more complicated patches.

  • IRC meetings

    • All projects have regular meetings on IRC. Most these meetings alternate between two different timezones. Sometimes however, it is advantageous to get all developers working on a certain feature or project to be in one place at the same time.

  • Other

    • Other projects may choose other ways of communicating depending on the developers in question. But transparency is important. Anything discussed should be logged or minuted for the rest of the OpenStack project and world to see.

Community Culture

  • Timezones

    • The OpenStack community is spread across the different timezones, so always try be transparent to the greater community and if using a synchronous communication system to make feature/project decisions, make sure you make it possible for asynchronous input from members in other timezones.

    • Different timezones means different cultures, so be sensitive to these cultural differences. One example is to give non-native English speakers a chance to think and speak and if using a voice medium, please slow down.

  • Titles held by community members are temporary and activities are not really linked to titles.

    • Everyone is in this together and are working for a better OpenStack.

    • Everyone who holds a title, such as PTL or a part of the technical committee are elected in. So titles are temporary.

  • Forks are bad, contributing upstream is much better.

    • citing articles about how maintaining forks is generally an expensive and painful process (via links to further reading on effective open source community involvement)

  • The community does not officially endorse Stackalytics, a contribution statistics gathering service hosted by Mirantis. The community does not encourage attempting to boost one’s contribution statistics by proposing large quantities of low-value commits or voting on large numbers of change proposals without providing thoughtful reviews. Activities like this appear to other members of the community as an attempt to game the system and contributors who engage in this will often lose credibility for themselves and their employers in the community. Instead, contributors should try to engage deeply with a single project or a small number of projects to gain understanding of the software component and build relationships with the other contributors for that project.

  • Focusing staff on particular project areas, or towards particular goals is more effective than asking them to track activity over many projects.


  • Permission to agree to the OpenStack ICLA (required)

  • Permission to occasionally work outside typical office hours

  • A process to clear contributions from IP point of view

  • Permission and budget to send contributors to events

  • Expectation of travel to at least some events - does not need to be all

    • Should be prepared to write permission letter/visa letters/necessary letters for getting visas

    • The letters/decisions made on travel should be given out, ideally weeks or more, in advance

    • Permission to agree with terms of becoming an Open Infrastructure Foundation Individual Member

  • Consider signing up as a contributing organization member