Open Community

As one of four core tenets of OpenStack’s open mantra, an “Open Community” is a critical and required component of an OpenStack project. Open communities enable an open development environment, and are a key component of a successful open source project. An OpenStack project should follow this model to ensure its success and growth in the OpenStack ecosystem.

Public Meetings on IRC

OpenStack projects are required to have their team meetings (if any) on the OFTC IRC network in one of the publicly logged channels managed by the OpenStack infrastructure team. As part of working in an open community, the logging of meetings allows those who cannot participate at the meeting’s designated time to read the logs and participate asynchronously.

OpenStack has a number of channels dedicated to meetings. Some project meetings are distributed among those channels that can be missed or delayed in joining by many members. Many other project teams schedule their meeting or office hour on the project channel, and it works well for them. Projects are encouraged to hold meetings on their own team IRC channels if that works best for them, which may make the meeting easier to find and increase attendance.

To schedule a team meeting, please go to the eavesdrop site and follow the instructions there. All meeting reservations are managed through gerrit in the IRC meetings repository.

Project IRC Channels

OpenStack projects may have a team IRC channel on OFTC. These channels should be logged, in keeping with the open community aspects of OpenStack. Project teams typically congregate in their IRC channels to discuss the project and build a sense of community amongst members. If a new project doesn’t yet have critical mass, the channel #openstack-dev on OFTC is available to use until such time as the project team decides to create their own channel.

Given the fact open source in general, and OpenStack in particular, are global communities, IRC is a great way for the geographically disparate teams to work together. Usage of IRC proxies (or bouncers) allow team members to access messages that were sent while they are disconnected.

Mailing Lists

OpenStack makes use of mailing lists for communication. Much like IRC, mailing lists are used to allow geographically distributed teams to communicate and share information, in this case asynchronously. In addition to team communication, mailing lists also provide an interaction point for cross-project communication. If an idea needs to span projects, the mailing lists is a great place for this to happen. And finally, mailing lists are used to interact with non-developer community members of OpenStack.

Because mailing lists are a form of asynchronous communication, they are the best resource the community has for sharing information with, and getting ideas from, the entire community. People who participate at different times of the day or less regularly have a greater opportunity to engage. People who read or write English with different levels of proficiency can be on a more (but not perfectly) level playing field with email than they might be with synchronous forms of text-based communication, such as IRC. When in doubt, prefer using a mailing list to other options.

For the openstack-discuss mailing list, where most usage, operations and development discussions take place, the following tags are recommended to better categorize topics (add as many to the beginning of the subject line as are relevant):

  • [$groupname-wg] Discussion within $groupname working group (example: [publiccloud-wg])

  • [$projectname] Discussion affects the $project project team (example: [nova])

  • [$signame-sig] Discussion within $signame SIG (example: [upgrades-sig])

  • [all] Topic is a general community discussion affecting everyone. Use with care.

  • [dev] Discussion is specific to development concerns, but otherwise affects all devs

  • [elections] Election-related communications

  • [docs] Any kind of documentation discussions that are cross-projects

  • [goals] Affects community goals

  • [ops] Discussion is specific to operators concerns, but otherwise affects all ops

  • [ptl] Topics needing the attention of PTLs

  • [release] Affects the upcoming release, all PTLs or release liaisons should read

  • [tc] Discussion around Technical Committee activities

There are many mailing lists in the OpenStack ecosystem. Projects should ensure they have subscribers on all of the lists relevant to their project.

Note that communications on OpenStack mailing-lists follow basic mailing-list etiquette rules. Getting familiar with those will make sure your messages will have the desired impact.

Community Support Channels

As a project in the OpenStack ecosystem, you will inevitably field requests for support from users of your software. These can come in the following ways:

A project must be prepared to provide best effort support for these types of requests. Recommended courses of action include:

  • Triaging bugs (on Launchpad or StoryBoard) at least weekly.

  • Responding to project queries on the various mailing lists.

  • Working in-channel on IRC to answer questions.

Planet OpenStack

The Planet OpenStack service was retired in April 2021.

Technical Committee and PTL Elections

All OpenStack technical leadership positions are elected. There are two types of elected technical positions in OpenStack:

  • Technical Committee (TC)

  • Project Team Lead (PTL)

The project team guide naturally focuses on PTLs. More information about the TC can be found on the Technical Committee website. You can reach out to TC members using the openstack-discuss mailing-list (including the [tc] “tag” in your subject line will make it more likely for them to see the message), or on the #openstack-tc IRC channel (especially around TC Meetings).

Each project team in OpenStack needs a PTL. The PTL is an elected leader who has final say over all things in that specific project team, and all the code repositories in it. The PTL typically leads the day to day operations of the project, and acts as a default ambassador of the project team in communications with other teams. The PTL is expected to have sufficient time available to dedicate to running the project. Responsibilities of the PTL include the following tasks:

  • Organizing the team participation to events like the Forum or Project Teams Gatherings

  • Interacting with the release team in the #openstack-release IRC channel

  • Engaging with and tracking cross-project initiatives, including OpenStack-wide goals.

  • Maintaining cycle and development milestone plans. The dates for milestones and releases are posted well in advance, make sure you have sufficient free time on those special weeks.

  • Targeting and maintaining targeted bugs

  • Working with the release team on milestone delivery week, feature freeze, release candidate weeks, and final release week

  • If an unexpected event occurs that doesn’t give you sufficient time to dedicate to the items above, it is your responsibility to step down and allow someone with more time to take over.

The PTL for each project team is elected on a 6-month term. Thus, the project will have an election every 6 months to determine the leader of the project for the upcoming 6-month cycle.

Projects without any nominated PTL candidates during a specified period will be considered leaderless and default to the technical committee for decision.

The electorate for elections (both PTL and TC) are the active contributors to a project or projects. If your project is a git repository and all active contributors submit patches to gerrit, their work will be automatically acknowledged for elections. Should you have any contributors who support your project in a way not reflected in gerrit, edit the extra-atcs file in the openstack/governance repo.

OpenStack uses a Condorcet voting system for all Technical elections. This includes both the TC as well as PTL positions. The elections are run by a trusted team of election officials from the community who make election announcements throughout the process, set up the election tooling and oversee candidate and voter eligibility.

Tie Breaking

Condorcet may result in ties, which should be broken in a fair and reproducible manner. To this end, OpenStack uses the hash of a string describing the tie results in a seed in a random generator to determine the tie winners. This way anyone may verify the fairness of the tie break. For more details, see the wiki page on tie breaking.

Election Schedule

The Technical Committee charter defines the rules for the election schedule. Dates are generally based on the release cycle (for PTL elections) and summit dates (for the TC elections).