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

Dmitry Tantsur dtantsur at redhat.com
Mon Feb 8 16:33:09 UTC 2016

On 02/07/2016 09:07 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

It sounds like a great idea, but I have a couple of concerns - see below.

> 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.

I'm afraid that if a company does not value employees participation in 
the design summit alone, they will continue to send them to the 
conference event, ignoring the design part completely. I.e. we'll get 
even less people from these companies. (of course it's only me guessing)

Also it means that people who actually have to be present in both places 
will travel even more, so it has high chances of increasing budget, not 
decreasing it.

> 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.

On one hand, big +1 for "extremely expensive" part.

On another hand, for participants arriving from another continent the 
airfare is roughly the half of the whole expense. This probably can't be 
improved (and may actually become worse from some of us, if new events 
become more US-centric).

> 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.
> 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
> __________________________________________________________________________
> OpenStack Development Mailing List (not for usage questions)
> Unsubscribe: OpenStack-dev-request at lists.openstack.org?subject:unsubscribe
> http://lists.openstack.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/openstack-dev

More information about the OpenStack-dev mailing list