How will OpenStack find the next generation of leaders?

How will OpenStack find the next generation of leaders?

Even in a healthy open source community, it's important to take the time to assess where you are and where you're headed next.

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OpenStack has evolved over the past several years to serve as the de facto standard for open source cloud computing. But what makes an open source project deserving of a superlative?

Recently, the various groups that govern OpenStack—the Technical Committee, User Committee, Board of Directors, and the staff of the OpenStack Foundation—gathered to have a conversation about the future of the project and assess its health. To begin, they took some time to analyze the status of the current community. Is it growing or shrinking? Is it sufficiently diverse? And is it cultivating the next generation of technical and non-technical leaders who will keep the project evolving and adapting to tomorrow's challenges?

Here are some of the data points that the group had to consider.

  • The OpenStack community itself has grown to include over 72,000 members from over 650 companies and representing 185 countries from around the world.
  • Last year, almost 3,500 individual developers contributed to the OpenStack code base, resulting in 26% more changes being merged than the year before.
  • 1,631 new contributors joined the project last year. Although the most recent code cycle, Ocata, was shorter than usual, over 500 contributors joined in this release alone.
  • 116 local user groups around the world meet to support regional OpenStack communities.
  • Corporate sponsorship of the project has continued to grow, with seven new gold members joining the OpenStack Foundation, and many new sponsors joining the upcoming summit.

The numbers paint a healthy picture. When coupled with the results of the recent user survey, showing more production deployments than ever before, it's clear that the OpenStack community is large enough to weather the bumps that may come along in the road of any large project.

But this size comes with its own challenges. In order to support OpenStack into the future, projects making up OpenStack need to constantly bring in new developers and mentor current developers into project leaders. At any given moment, dozens of new developers are navigating the process of onboarding and preparing to make their first commit.

The OpenStack project leadership is seeking to find ways to lower the barrier to participation in the project, nurture new contributors into regular committers and eventual leaders, encouraging corporate involvement of OpenStack developers and users alike, making project support tools as easy-to-use as possible, helping existing projects to scale up, and more. To this end, several sessions taking place at the OpenStack Summit next week in Boston are helping to support these goals:

With these sessions and several others in the community building track at the summit, OpenStack leaders hope to continue the conversation with the wider participants about how to ensure that OpenStack is a healthy, diverse community for years to come.


About the author

Jason Baker - I use technology to make the world more open. Linux desktop enthusiast. Map/geospatial nerd. Raspberry Pi tinkerer. Data analysis and visualization geek. Occasional coder. Sysadmin. Web maker. Red Hatter since 2013.