[openstack-dev] [all] Switching to longer development cycles

Zane Bitter zbitter at redhat.com
Tue Dec 19 18:07:43 UTC 2017

On 13/12/17 11:17, Thierry Carrez wrote:
> So... What do you think ?

Some points against that I haven't seen mentioned much yet:

* Following our standard deprecation policy, it would take up to 3 years 
to remove anything. For perspective, 3 years ago we had just shipped 
Juno. (I feel old now.)

* Other large, complex software distributions have moved to 6-month or 
shorter development cycles (e.g. Ubuntu, Fedora, Chromium, Linux, 
Firefox), with apparent success. What do we think is different about the 
context in which we work that makes it a good idea to go in the other 

* Upgrading OpenStack is painful for our users. Modern software 
development theory holds that you make painful things less painful by 
doing them *more* often, in smaller bites. (And preferably make the 
developers suffer some of the pain, so they're motivated to reduce it.) 
Less frequent upgrades with bigger changes is likely to provoke even 
more of our users to remain on old releases indefinitely.

* It's true that OpenStack is mature in the sense that the things it 
does are pretty stable. It's not true in the sense of it being close to 
fulfilling our mission, of implementing a full-featured cloud. (e.g. my 
pet bug-bear: applications can't use it unless they have economies of 
scale, are prepared to implement a bunch of stuff themselves, and are 
extremely motivated to use OpenStack over alternatives that are designed 
with application support in mind... so basically just infra.) We 
absolutely need to keep up a fast pace of innovation in order not to 
become irrelevant.

* Natural complements to OpenStack like Kubernetes also have rapid 
release cycles. If we're unable to respond rapidly to changes in them 
(by adjusting our integration points in a timely fashion) then they're 
going to be more inclined to put effort into working around OpenStack 
than into working together. (The fact that said integration points 
largely don't exist at the moment is also an example of the previous point.)

* As someone who will probably volunteer as a PTL again at some point, 
the prospect of having to sign up for an entire year is a major 
disincentive to do so.

I'm all for encouraging companies who are using OpenStack to contribute 
e.g. 20% of a developer to helping out upstream. I'm not at all 
convinced that regular releases are an obstacle to that - by the 'pace' 
of development I suspect they mean the constant code churn resulting in 
never-ending rebases of outstanding patches that they struggle to get 
reviews on (often, it must be said, because they are GIANT), and not the 
release cadence. So count me as -1 on this change.


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