[openstack-dev] [all] [ptls] The Czar system, or how to scale PTLs

Zane Bitter zbitter at redhat.com
Fri Aug 22 16:32:26 UTC 2014

On 22/08/14 11:19, Thierry Carrez wrote:
> Zane Bitter wrote:
>> On 22/08/14 08:33, Thierry Carrez wrote:
>>> We also
>>> still need someone to have the final say in case of deadlocked issues.
>> -1 we really don't.
> I know we disagree on that :)

No problem, you and I work in different programs so we can both get our 
way ;)

>>> People say we don't have that many deadlocks in OpenStack for which the
>>> PTL ultimate power is needed, so we could get rid of them. I'd argue
>>> that the main reason we don't have that many deadlocks in OpenStack is
>>> precisely *because* we have a system to break them if they arise.
>> s/that many/any/ IME and I think that threatening to break a deadlock by
>> fiat is just as bad as actually doing it. And by 'bad' I mean
>> community-poisoningly, trust-destroyingly bad.
> I guess I've been active in too many dysfunctional free and open source
> software projects -- I put a very high value on the ability to make a
> final decision. Not being able to make a decision is about as
> community-poisoning, and also results in inability to make any
> significant change or decision.

I'm all for getting a final decision, but a 'final' decision that has 
been imposed from outside rather than internalised by the participants 
is... rarely final.

I have yet to see a deadlock in Heat that wasn't resolved by better 
communication. Who knows, maybe the rest of the Heat team will say that 
I'm crazy and that we still need a tech lead to break deadlocks, but I'd 
at least like the team to have the option to try formalising what has 
been our long-standing practice of not doing it.

>>> That
>>> encourages everyone to find a lazy consensus. That part of the PTL job
>>> works. Let's fix the part that doesn't work (scaling/burnout).
>> Let's allow projects to decide for themselves what works. Not every
>> project is the same.
> The net effect of not having a PTL having the final call means the final
> call would reside at the Technical Committee level. I don't feel like
> the Technical Committee should have final say on a project-specific
> matter. It's way better that the local leader, chosen by all the
> contributors of THAT project every 6 months, makes that final decision.
> Or do you also want to get rid of the Technical Committee ?

Haha, I don't want to get rid of the TC, but I agree that having them 
stepping in to resolve technical disputes by fiat within projects is 
strictly worse than having the PTL do it. I think the TC's role is to 
offer guidance in the first instance, and if necessary say to a project 
"if you can't find a way to productively work together like adults, 
we're going to kick you out of OpenStack". I don't expect the latter 
power to ever be needed.


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