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

James Bottomley James.Bottomley at HansenPartnership.com
Mon Feb 8 18:55:42 UTC 2016

On Mon, 2016-02-08 at 12:50 -0500, Jay Pipes wrote:
> On 02/08/2016 11:56 AM, James Bottomley wrote:
> > On Mon, 2016-02-08 at 09:43 -0500, Jay Pipes wrote:
> > > On 02/08/2016 09:03 AM, Fausto Marzi wrote:
> > > > The OpenStack Summit is a great thing as it is now. It creates
> > > > big
> > > > momentum, it's a strong motivator for the engineers (as enjoy
> > > > our
> > > > time
> > > > there)
> > > 
> > > I disagree with you on this. The design summits are intended to
> > > be
> > > working events, not conference parties.
> > 
> > Having chaired and helped organise the Linux Plumbers conference 
> > for the last 8 years, I don't agree with this.  Agreeable social 
> > events are actually part of the conference process.  Someone who 
> > didn't dare contradict the expert in a high pressure lecture room 
> > environment may feel more confident to have a quiet discussion of 
> > their ideas over a beer/wine at a social event.
> James, I very much respect you, your opinion, and your experience in 
> the Linux community. However, you are mixing things up here, possibly
> because you never attended the early design summits.

Well, OK, you got me there: my earliest design summit was San Diego, I

> The OpenStack design summits started out life as small, social, 
> working events. There were no "high pressure lecture room" 
> environments. There was no presentations or PowerPoint lectures at 
> all. The seating was arranged in fishbowl setups and not everyone
> -facing-front.
> The original design summits were the very definition of "discussion 
> of ... ideas at a social event". They have become quite the opposite.

OK, that very much describes the early Linux events as well.  IDC went
off and did LinuxWorld and we had tiny kernel summits.  Unfortunately,
the world has moved on for both communities ... they're no longer as
tiny as they once were and however much we try, we can't put the genie
of small, intimate gatherings back in the real world bottle.  The
question for each community is how to scale in a way that appeals to
the core while not excluding newcomers.

> > Part of the function of a conference in a remote community is to
> > let people meet each other and get to know the person on the other
> > end of
> > the fairly impersonal web id.  It also helps defuse community 
> > squabbles
> > and hostility: it's easier to be nasty to someone you've never met 
> > and
> > who your only interaction with is via a ritual communication 
> > mechanism.
> What you describe above is *not* what is happening at the OpenStack 
> Summits. It's become a show, a marketing event where it's more 
> difficult to have personal meetups with community members because 
> there's way too many people and way too much emphasis on parties and
> schwag.

OK, I think we will always disagree on this.  As I've said, I find the
co-located design summit space to be a lot less hectic than the
OpenStack Summit space, so I do think the design summit doesn't suffer
too much contamination.

> It is the original design summits that allowed people to actually 
> meet each other and get to know the person on the other end of the 
> web id. It is now the mid-cycle events that truly encourage this 
> behaviour, because the design summits have become too tied to the 
> OpenStack marketing event.

Don't shoot all the marketers.  You may not need them now, as they
scramble to jump on the bandwagon, but there may come a time when you
do ...

> >> This isn't the intent of design summits. It's not intended to be a
> >> company team building event.
> >
> > Hey, if that's how you have to sell it to your boss ...
> I don't need to sell anything to my boss. I need to make 
> recommendations  to them on what will be the most cost-effective and 
> productive spend of a limited budget for engineering. And my 
> recommendation leans more and more towards smaller, focused, working 
> events instead of the OpenStack summits for all the reasons I have
> written in this thread.

My point wasn't that *you* have to do this.  It was that a lot of
others might have to.  Not every company is as community savvy as
Mirantis.  I've also been an OpenSource evangelist at various companies
for a while now.  The hardest thing is carving out a travel budget for
the engineers to go off and meet each other because various elements in
the management chain regard this as a boondoggle and a potential drain
on working time.  I've ended up in the ridiculous situation where my
CTO office owned the entirety of the engineering travel budget simply
because I defended it and the rest of the original travel money got

My point is that to be an open community, we have to be open to people
whose immediate management is clueless about community engagement  ...
having an easy justification helps enormously with that.


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