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

Amrith Kumar amrith at tesora.com
Sun Feb 7 22:40:47 UTC 2016

Jay and others,

I’m not able to understand how the decoupled events will produce the desired outcome. Here’s why. There will still be a limit on expenditure that companies will be willing to undertake. If you were to decouple the two events, it isn’t as though companies won’t do the “Conference and Expo”. That is a business focused event which they will still likely attend.

When it comes time for design summit, won’t the same budget constraints be in place? And this time it is for a developer meeting.

Jay writes, “This cost means less money to send engineers to the design summit to do actual work”. I very much doubt that the economics are going to be “Hey look, we saved X by NOT having two Conference and Expo’s a year, let’s spend that X on sending developers to the design summit”.

Given that OpenStack is now large enough, and there are enough projects around, one would have to get a rather sizeable venue even for the design summit. And a large venue would likely end up being a large event. I’m not able to see how you’d get away with two events being less expensive than one.

I fear that the consequence of this proposal will be that we’ll be forced to project based mid-cycle style events. A great thing about the single event is that you get to attend sessions from a number of projects that are of interest and relevant, and with project-focused events that would be lost entirely.


From: Morgan Fainberg [mailto:morgan.fainberg at gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 07, 2016 4:17 PM
To: OpenStack Development Mailing List (not for usage questions) <openstack-dev at lists.openstack.org>
Subject: Re: [openstack-dev] [all][tc] Proposal: Separate design summits from OpenStack conferences

On Sun, Feb 7, 2016 at 12:07 PM, Jay Pipes <jaypipes at gmail.com<mailto:jaypipes at gmail.com>> wrote:
Hello all,


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


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.


I, for one, am happy to see this discussion start on the ML.

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