[openstack-dev] [all][tc] Moving away from "big tent" terminology

Sean Dague sean at dague.net
Thu Jun 15 11:29:14 UTC 2017

On 06/15/2017 05:15 AM, Thierry Carrez wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> Back in 2014, OpenStack was facing a problem. Our project structure,
> inherited from days where Nova, Swift and friends were the only game in
> town, was not working anymore. The "integrated release" that we ended up
> producing was not really integrated, already too big to be installed by
> everyone, and yet too small to accommodate the growing interest in other
> forms of "open infrastructure". The incubation process (from stackforge
> to incubated, from incubated to integrated) created catch-22s that
> prevented projects from gathering enough interest to reach the upper
> layers. Something had to give.
> The project structure reform[1] that resulted from those discussions
> switched to a simpler model: project teams would be approved based on
> how well they fit the OpenStack overall mission and community
> principles, rather than based on a degree of maturity. It was nicknamed
> "the big tent" based on a blogpost[2] that Monty wrote -- mostly
> explaining that things produced by the OpenStack community should be
> considered OpenStack projects.
> So the reform removed the concept of incubated vs. integrated, in favor
> of a single "official" category. Tags[3] were introduced to better
> describe the degree of maturity of the various official things. "Being
> part of the big tent" was synonymous to "being an official project" (but
> people kept saying the former).
> At around the same time, mostly for technical reasons around the
> difficulty of renaming git repositories, the "stackforge/" git
> repository prefix was discontinued (all projects hosted on OpenStack
> infrastructure would be created under an "openstack/" git repository
> prefix).
> All those events combined, though, sent a mixed message, which we are
> still struggling with today. "Big tent" has a flea market connotation of
> "everyone can come in". Combined with the fact that all git repositories
> are under the same prefix, it created a lot of confusion. Some people
> even think the big tent is the openstack/ namespace, not the list of
> official projects. We tried to stop using the "big tent" meme, but (I
> blame Monty), the name is still sticking. I think it's time to more
> aggressively get rid of it. We tried using "unofficial" and "official"
> terminology, but that did not stick either.
> I'd like to propose that we introduce a new concept: "OpenStack-Hosted
> projects". There would be "OpenStack projects" on one side, and
> "Projects hosted on OpenStack infrastructure" on the other side (all
> still under the openstack/ git repo prefix). We'll stop saying "official
> OpenStack project" and "unofficial OpenStack project". The only
> "OpenStack projects" will be the official ones. We'll chase down the
> last mentions of "big tent" in documentation and remove it from our
> vocabulary.
> I think this new wording (replacing what was previously Stackforge,
> replacing what was previously called "unofficial OpenStack projects")
> will bring some clarity as to what is OpenStack and what is beyond it.

I think those are all fine. The other term that popped into my head was
"Friends of OpenStack" as a way to describe the openstack-hosted efforts
that aren't official projects. It may be too informal, but I do think
the OpenStack-Hosted vs. OpenStack might still mix up in people's head.


Sean Dague

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