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

Morgan Fainberg morgan.fainberg at gmail.com
Sun Feb 7 21:16:41 UTC 2016

On Sun, Feb 7, 2016 at 12:07 PM, Jay Pipes <jaypipes at gmail.com> 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.
I've had this discussion with a number of developers with mixed views, but
generally speaking it's been positively received. I would like to see this
split occur. It would allow the dev work be more focused and be less
overwhelming by also needing to deal with the Conference and Expo.

> 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.
++ 100% agree, I would hope this is in-fact the case. If it isn't, we need
to work to change that.

> 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.
> 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.
So this is more akin to the midcycles? I am in support of this as long as
we have enough support from the Foundation (also for things such as visa
letters, etc) to ensure we have large-enough-ish venues for the required
cross-project working, if this supplanted the mid-cycles as well I could
see it being a win. Reducing the travel for contributors to 1 or 2 venues
[especially for those cross-project], would be fantastic.

> 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.
> OK, there, I said it.
> Thoughts? Criticism? Support? Suggestions welcome.
> -jay
I, for one, am happy to see this discussion start on the ML.

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