[openstack-dev] [all][tc] Require a level playing field for OpenStack projects

Thierry Carrez thierry at openstack.org
Thu Jun 16 08:58:35 UTC 2016

Robert Collins wrote:
>> [...]
>> From an upstream perspective, I see us as being in the business of providing
>> open collaboration playing fields in order to build projects to reach the
>> OpenStack Mission. We collectively provide resources (infra, horizontal
>> teams, events...) in order to enable that open collaboration.
>> An important characteristic of these open collaboration grounds is that they
>> need to be a level playing field, where no specific organization is being
>> given an unfair advantage.
> Would it change your meaning if I added 'by OpenStack community /
> infrastructure' there? If not, then it seems to me that e.g.
> Rackspace, Dreamhost, and the other organisations that have deployed
> scaled clouds have a pretty big advantage. If it does change your
> meaning, then what really do you mean?

Where would you add that ? Also I don't think organizations which have 
deployed scaled clouds have an *unfair* advantage. Nothing in our 
governance structure actively prevents another organization from doing 
the same ?

>>   I expect the teams that we bless as "official" project teams to operate in that fair manner. Otherwise we end up blessing
>> what is essentially a trojan horse for a given organization, open-washing
>> their project in the process. Such a project can totally exist as an
>> unofficial project (and even be developed on OpenStack infrastructure) but I
>> don't think it should be given free space in our Design Summits or benefit
>> from "OpenStack community" branding.
> We already have a mechanism - the undiverse tag - for calling out
> projects that don't have diversity in their core. That seems to
> overlap a lot here?

Yes, it is likely that official project teams that present such a unfair 
playing field would stay "team:single-vendor" forever as a consequence. 
This proposal is about not recognizing such teams as official in the 
first place. The single-vendor tag is, IMHO, meant to encourage project 
teams with a fair playing field to increase their diversity. It is not 
meant to officially support projects that present unfair playing fields.

>> So if, in a given project team, developers from one specific organization
>> benefit from access to specific knowledge or hardware (think 3rd-party
>> testing blackboxes that decide if a patch goes in, or access to proprietary
>> hardware or software that the open source code primarily interfaces with),
>> then this project team should probably be rejected under the "open
>> community" rule. Projects with a lot of drivers (like Cinder) provide an
>> interesting grey area, but as long as all drivers are in and there is a
>> fully functional (and popular) open source implementation, I think no
>> specific organization would be considered as unfairly benefiting compared to
>> others.
> So I read this paragraph as Its ok if many organisations have unfair
> advantages, but its not ok if there is only one organisation with an
> unfair advantage?
> Consider a project with one open implementation and one organisation
> funded proprietary driver. This would be a problem. But I don't
> understand why it would be.

Project team requirements are just guidelines, which are interpreted by 
humans. In the end, the TC members vote and use human judgment rather 
than blind 'rules'. I just want (1) to state that a level playing field 
is an essential part of what we call "open collaboration", and (2) to 
have TC members *consider* whether the project presents a fair playing 
field or not, as part of how they judge future project teams.

There is a grey area that requires human judgment here. In your example 
above, if the open implementation was unusable open core bait to lure 
people into using the one and only proprietary driver, it would be a 
problem. If the open implementation was fully functional and nothing 
prevented adding additional proprietary drivers, there would be no problem.

Thierry Carrez (ttx)

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