[openstack-dev] Proposal to recognize indirect contributions to our code base

Stefano Maffulli stefano at openstack.org
Thu Nov 14 01:20:46 UTC 2013

On 11/13/2013 04:34 PM, Colin McNamara wrote:
> Not to be contrarian, but 92% of the commits in Havana came from
> non-individual contributions. The majority of those came from big name
> companies (IBM, RedHat, etc). 

ow, that's harsh. Despite what US Supreme Court Judges may think,
Companies are not people: in the contest of this discussion (and for the
purpose of reporting on development activity) companies don't *do*
anything besides pay salaries of people. Red Hat, IBM, Rackspace, HP,
etc happen to pay the salaries of hundreds of skilled developers. That's
it. I happen to have started reporting publicly on companies activity
because I (as community manager) need to understand the full extent of
the dynamics inside the ecosystem. Those numbers are public and some
pundits abuse of them to fuel PR flaming machines.

> In the operator case, there are examples where an operator uses another
> companies Dev's to write a patch for their install that gets commited
> upstream. In this case, the patch was sponsored by the operator company,
> written and submitted by a developer employed by another. 
> Allowing for tracking if the fact that an operator/end user sponsored a
> patch to be created further incents more operators/end users to put
> funds towards getting features written. 

I am not convinced at all that such thing would be of any incentive for
operators to contribute upstream. The practical advantage of having a
feature upstream maintained by somebody else should be more than enough
to justify it. I see the PR/marketing value in it, not a practical one.
On the other hand, I see potential for incentive to damaging behaviour.

As others have mentioned already, we have a lot of small contributions
coming in the code base but we're generally lacking people involved in
the hard parts of OpenStack. We need people contributing to 'thankless'
jobs that need to be done: from code reviewers to QA people to the
Security team, we need people involved there. I fear that giving
incentives to such small "vanity contributions" would do harm to our

> This is a positive for the project, it's Dev's and the community. It
> also opens up an expanded market for contract developers working on
> specifier features. 

I also don't see any obstacle for any company to proudly issue a press
release, blog post or similar, saying that they have sponsored a
feature/bug fix in OpenStack giving credit to developers/company writing
it. Why wouldn't that be enough? Why do we need to put in place a
reporting machine for what seems to be purely a marketing/pr need?

> My perspective - I work at and operator / integrator. I have my teams
> working on multiple projects including OpenStack. Peers of mine in
> Silicon Valley who have funded major OpenStaxk development Efforts have
> required that code to be released, but have had trouble verifying. The
> sponsored by tag would provide an easy way of tracking, as well as
> further incent the behavior of funding improvements. 

I think you're raising a different problem here: can you specify better
what your (peers) sponsors have trouble verifying?


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