[openstack-dev] [all][tc] Proposal: Separate design summits from OpenStack conferences

Joshua Harlow harlowja at fastmail.com
Sun Feb 7 20:46:15 UTC 2016

On 02/07/2016 12:07 PM, Jay Pipes wrote:
> Hello all,
> tl;dr
> =====
> I have long thought that the OpenStack Summits have become too
> commercial and provide little value to the software engineers
> contributing to OpenStack.
> I propose the following:
> 1) Separate the design summits from the conferences
> 2) Hold only a single OpenStack conference per year
> 3) Return the design summit to being a low-key, low-cost working event
> details
> =======
> The design summits originally started out as working events. Developers
> got together in smallish rooms, arranged chairs in a fishbowl, and got
> to work planning and designing.
> With the OpenStack Summit growing more and more marketing- and
> sales-focused, the contributors attending the design summit are often
> unfocused. The precious little time that developers have to actually
> work on the next release planning is often interrupted or cut short by
> the large numbers of "suits" and salespeople at the conference event,
> many of which are peddling a product or pushing a corporate agenda.
> Many contributors submit talks to speak at the conference part of an
> OpenStack Summit because their company says it's the only way they will
> pay for them to attend the design summit. This is, IMHO, a terrible
> thing. The design summit is a *working* event. Companies that contribute
> to OpenStack projects should send their engineers to working events
> because that is where work is done, not so that their engineer can go
> give a talk about some vendor's agenda-item or newfangled product.
> Part of the reason that companies only send engineers who are giving a
> talk at the conference side is that the cost of attending the OpenStack
> Summit has become ludicrously expensive. Why have the events become so
> expensive? I can think of a few reasons:
> a) They are held every six months. I know of no other community or open
> source project that holds *conference-type* events every six months.
> b) They are held in extremely expensive hotels and conference centers
> because the number of attendees is so big.
> c) Because the conferences have become sales and marketing-focused
> events, companies shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for schwag,
> for rented event people, for food and beverage sponsorships, for keynote
> slots, for lavish and often ridiculous parties, and more. This cost
> means less money to send engineers to the design summit to do actual work.
> I would love to see the OpenStack contributor community take back the
> design summit to its original format and purpose and decouple it from
> the OpenStack Summit's conference portion.

+1 in a way it seems like midcycles are starting to become... aka the 
'original format' and the every 6-month summits are just the other 'big' 
thing developers need to get *more* approval to go to.

> I believe the design summits should be organized by the OpenStack
> contributor community, not the OpenStack Foundation and its marketing
> and event planning staff. This will allow lower-cost venues to be chosen
> that meet the needs only of the small group of active contributors, not
> of huge masses of conference attendees. This will allow contributor
> companies to send *more* engineers to *more* design summits, which is
> something that really needs to happen if we are to grow our active
> contributor pool.
> Once this decoupling occurs, I think that the OpenStack Summit should be
> renamed to the OpenStack Conference and Expo to better fit its purpose
> and focus. This Conference and Expo event really should be held once a
> year, in my opinion, and continue to be run by the OpenStack Foundation.
> I, for one, would welcome events that have no conference check-in area,
> no evening parties with 2000 people, no keynote and
> powerpoint-as-a-service sessions, and no getting pulled into sales
> meetings.

Me to.

> OK, there, I said it.
> Thoughts? Criticism? Support? Suggestions welcome.
> -jay
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