[openstack-dev] [swift] PTL candidacy

John Dickinson me at not.mn
Mon Mar 14 23:47:21 UTC 2016

I am submitting my candidacy for Swift PTL for the Newton cycle.

### Community growth

During the Mitaka cycle, we've seen the community grow from about 440
contributors to 531 today. That's a 20% growth in the last six months.
This growth rate is huge, and I'm really happy to see all the new
people coming into the community. New contributors bring new ideas,
new use cases, and fresh eyes on old problems. This is the hallmark of
a healthy community.

New contributors reflect the broader picture of what's going on with
Swift, too. When we see new contributors from companies who are
already actively participating in the community, it shows that they
are using Swift more. When new companies join the community for the
first time, it shows new places where Swift is being used to solve
real-world storage problems. Both situations are exciting. Swift is
growing. More people are using it to store more data and solve more
storage problems.

As I've said many times before, my vision for Swift is that it will be
used by everyone, every day, even if people don't realize it.
Community growth is one way we can see that this is happening today.

### Tracking the community

One thing I've been working on over the last year is tracking our
community and finding ways to understand it and help it continue to
grow. You can see some of this work in the graphs below.


I've been working on a few more interesting graphs and metrics too.
I've shared one of these before: visualizing individual contributor
activity over time. You can see the results at
http://d.not.mn/contrib_activity.png. This is a rather large graph,
but it's fairly simple to read. The x-axis is time (from Swift's
initial release to today). Each line on the y-axis is a person's
activity in Swift. Blue boxes are for authoring a patch; green boxes
are for a review. This graph has been invaluable in helping understand
who is contributing to the project and what activity active
contributors are engaged in. One thing I've learned is that there is a
class of contributor who has been involved for a long time, but is
only active infrequently. Most of these people are operators who are
normally running production clusters but occasionally need to submit a
patch or review upstream.

Another thing I've worked on is a way to find out what the community
as a whole thinks is important. We can start to find a lot of this
info from information we already have. For example, we can get a list
of every patch that every contributor has starred to see if there is
any commonality between them. The patches that are more often starred
are likely to be more important, from the community perspective.

I've taken that basic idea, along with some further parsing of
information from gerrit, and created a review dashboard. It's going to
keep changing, but you can see its current incarnation at
http://not.mn/swift/swift_community_dashboard.html (and linked in
the #openstack-swift channel topic). So far, I've seen this dashboard
result in a dramatic decrease in the number of unreviewed patches, and
as the dashboard improves, I expect it to lead to a similar
improvement in review times for important patches.

### Current struggles

Tracking the community (both with metrics like above and from simply
talking to people) shines a light on common problems in the community.
Two of the most-often raised issues are that of long patch review
times and review prioritization. We've been improving both of these
with several tools in the past, and we're currently in a much better
place than we've been in the past. As PTL, I feel it's my duty to
enable the community to solve these problems. I will continue to
improve the tools we have and create new tools as necessary so that we
know what's going on, what to work on, and make every contributor

### Goals for newton

Looking forward to the Newton cycle, I want to see three things happen.

  1. Increased contributor growth
  2. Progress on significant code efforts, including crypto, improved
     global clusters, and improved performance
  3. Better tools and info for community prioritization and community tracking

The community is well-positioned to meet these goals, and I will be
honored to continue to serve you as PTL for OpenStack Swift.


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