The OpenStack Technical Committee met for two three hour sessions during the vPTG, covering a handful of topics. This email serves as an extremely high level recap of those topics. If you want full information on the discussions, please review the full etherpad notes.
The TC will be tracking long-term projects, related to these discussion items and otherwise, in the 2024.1 TC Tracker.
As always; no official TC policy changes can be made via a meeting. PTGs and other synchronous meetings are useful for rapidly gaining context and consensus, which then must be reflected in a resolution and merged when that consensus results in a policy change.
*Leaderless Projects* The TC discussed the multiple projects who did not have a PTL elected, and the various reasons that could cause that. A few interesting items were discussed which may need future action by the TC.
First, concerns were raised over the ec2-api PTL candidate not being an Active Contributor in title, despite showing stewardship over a relatively "complete" project. This is an example of how our process of identifying active contributors can be flawed. A workaround in the interim of a PTL in this situation nominating themselves as an extra-AC was identified.
Secondly, the recurring issue of smaller projects missing elections, and generally being less active, was a topic of discussion. The TC decided that as a regular course of action, any project that did not successfully participate in electing a PTL would also have the activity of its project reviewed as part of the PTL appointment process -- with a default towards marking such projects inactive unless they have clear signs of activity.
*Follow-ups from 2023.2 TC Tracker* There are some ongoing items which the TC has continued to work on cross cycle. Their status was evaluated and discussed; items which needed additional tracking were pulled forward to 2024.1.
*Managing Divergence between documented runtime and reality* This was a session originally inspired by a mailing list post from Herve about how the listed versions of some libraries on the releases page for bobcat were not the versions compatible with bobcat.
After significant discussion, it became apparent that there was confusion and lack of communication around a change that was not intended to merge yet, and did anyway, breaking project compatibility which had not yet done the SQLAlchemy 2.0 migration.
The TC agreed that proposing a new step in the release schedule where we integrate and test libraries with projects before cutting library releases is a potential solution to this problem.
*More predictable python minimum supported version* Currently, our documentation indicates we drop support when there is "a solid reason", but recent mailing list discussions make it clear that is not a clear line.
After significant discussion, the consensus was that unit testing the minimum supported version of python does very little harm but provides a benefit. While it was desired to have a general pattern we could follow, the realities of testing on LTS platforms make it so that we should continue to look at python version support on a case-by-case basis, comparing support lifecycles in python upstream, our current tested LTS, and the OpenStack release in question.
Similarly for new python versions, selecting what new ones to support is a technical concern rooted in library, distro, and ecosystem support moreso than what we'd desire OpenStack to support.
*Communication* Communication to/from the TC was raised as a topic due to a misunderstanding around language used around a TC action decided on in a meeting. For OpenStack community members who don't frequent TC meetings, or interact with the TC process often, it can be confusing, but we should always be clear: binding decisions are not made in synchronous meetings.
Other items discussed around this communication topic included how more virtual communication methods, such as vPTG, may be limiting our cross-project communication and ability to reach larger groups.
*Election Retrospective* This topic also covers many items covered in the communication topic; but essentially, many projects have missed elections -- the TC wants to find a root cause and address it if possible.
During the discussions, it became clear there was a significant cultural disconnect. Many pieces of documentation needed for OpenStack leaders -- including election reminder emails, governance docs, and this summary(!) -- are only available in English. Additionally, there is a concern that there are cultural conflicts that extend past language.
One set of solutions discussed were alternative PTL models, such as DPL. Some attendees indicated a dislike of the DPL model due to it potentially masking inactivity issues by removing the periodic check-in inherent to the elections process. An idea of electing a PTL for multiple cycles was raised as well, but did not gain wide consensus.
Additionally, we discussed how to get new leaders onboarded. A suggestion was made for the TC to send an incoming PTL email, with information and expectations for incoming PTLs. This is a process that traditionally has been handled well, albeit ad-hoc, in larger projects, but is often missed in smaller projects, especially if there is no handoff from one PTL to another.
Finally, there was a discussion about the size of our electorate being artificially small. Despite having 580 contributors in bobcat, OpenStack TC only had 309 eligible voters (AC+Foundation Member), and of those 309, only 91 people had opted-in to receive a ballot. Some suggestions were to revise our definition of who is eligible to vote in elections to include OIF non-members, but still require PTLs or TC candidates to be OIF members.
*Shadowing Program* There was some discussion as well about the OpenInfra Diversity working group piloting a shadowing program. Many TC members indicated a willingness to be shadowed, but a lack of people willing to take on leadership roles. (Along these lines; if you're reading this and want to shadow someone; ask!)
There were suggestions that perhaps the prestige of being a TC member or PTL has gone down, making it difficult to take on those responsibilities or justify them to management. We discussed several ways to try and re-engage people into leadership and contribution with OpenStack.
*Footnotes:* 0: https://etherpad.opendev.org/p/tc-ptg-october-2023 1: https://etherpad.opendev.org/p/tc-2024.1-tracker 2: https://etherpad.opendev.org/p/2024.1-leaderless 3: https://governance.openstack.org/tc/reference/emerging-technology-and-inacti... 4: https://etherpad.opendev.org/p/tc-2023.2-tracker 5: https://lists.openstack.org/pipermail/openstack-discuss/2023-September/03518... 6: https://releases.openstack.org/bobcat/index.html 7: https://firstname.lastname@example.org.... 8: https://etherpad.opendev.org/p/diversity-leadership
If you made it this far; thanks!
-- Jay Faulkner OpenStack TC Chair