[openstack-dev] [all][tc] TC Candidates: what does an OpenStack user look like?

Doug Hellmann doug at doughellmann.com
Sat Oct 14 15:47:12 UTC 2017

Excerpts from Zane Bitter's message of 2017-10-13 15:21:14 -0400:
> Replying to myself here, to avoid singling anyone in particular out. I 
> want to rephrase the question, because people are overwhelmingly either 
> failing to understand or refusing to answer it in the way I intended it.
> Most of the candidates are essentially saying that the answer is 'everyone'.
> I'm glad that we have such a bunch of next-level geniuses running for 
> the TC that they are able to analyse the needs of all 7 billion people 
> and evaluate every decision they make against all of them in real time. 
> Me, I'm just an ordinary guy who can only hold a few things in his head 
> at once, so I just try to focus on those and collaborate with people who 
> have different perspectives to make sure that a range of needs are 
> covered. This is kind of the founding principle of the Open Source 
> (note: not Free Software) movement, actually. None of us is as smart as 
> all of us (present company excepted, apparently). So it's good, but 
> somewhat surprising that y'all are still here, given that you would be 
> guaranteed insta-billionaires if you went out and started a proprietary 
> software company.
> All sarcasm aside though, 'everyone' is a BS non-answer. It's the 
> politician's answer.

Blaming the respondents for answering a imprecisely worded question
in a way other than it was intended? We can do better.

Your original question "Who are _you_ building OpenStack for?" was
much more vague than the rephrasing below that specifically asks
about advocacy. Even the rewritten question can be answered
legitimately using several different personas by people with a bit
of experience.  I have worked at a public cloud provider and two
distributors with a wide range of customers, and I use OpenStack
clouds myself. I hope that all of that background feeds into my

> Not only because engineering trade-offs are a real thing, and some use 
> cases will *definitely* be excluded in order to better serve others, but 
> because the average user doesn't exist. If you design for the 'average' 
> user then you are designing for nobody, because nobody is the average 
> user. We shouldn't be designing for 'everybody' (aka nobody in 
> particular), but for a large variety of somebodies.
> As an example, look at the Keystone discussion that I linked below.
> - If you were designing Keystone for an individual user, you'd might 
> just have one account per tenant.
> - If you were designing Keystone for a team deploying semi-autonomous 
> apps, you might design a way for multiple agents to authenticate to each 
> tenant.
> - If you were designing Keystone for 'everyone', you might have a matrix 
> of users, tenants and roles - the most generic solution, right? - and 
> spend half a decade polishing it without ever realising that individual 
> users don't need it and teams can't use it.

Or you might conclude that the real problem isn't in the identity
service data model, but in the services that don't yet have an
operation to transfer ownership of resources when a user is

> One of these solutions works for both individuals and teams. The other 
> two only work for individuals. As an added bonus, one of those is also 
> expensive to develop and hard to operate. That's why we should design 
> for someones, not for 'everyone'. This is not a problem limited to 
> Keystone - throughout OpenStack we often fail to develop solutions that 
> can actually be used by the people whom we say we're building them for, 
> I'm not asking y'all to say that some group of end-users is unimportant 
> even though the question is trying to keep the bar extremely low by 
> asking about only one group. Nor am I asking y'all to say that operators 
> are unimportant, even though the question is *explicitly* *NOT* about 
> operators.
> I'm asking if you can describe, to a modest level of detail, even one 
> *end* user persona for OpenStack that you're familiar enough with to be 
> comfortable advocating for on the TC.
> So far the answer I'm hearing mostly translates as 'no'. (Props to the 
> folks who did actually answer though!) Does anybody want to try again?

We have, so far, maintained an air of civility during "campaign season".
Let's try to stick to that, please.


> cheers,
> Zane.
> On 12/10/17 12:51, Zane Bitter wrote:
> > In my head, I have a mental picture of who I'm building OpenStack for. 
> > When I'm making design decisions I try to think about how it will affect 
> > these hypothetical near-future users. By 'users' here I mean end-users, 
> > the actual consumers of OpenStack APIs. What will it enable them to do? 
> > What will they have to work around? I think we probably all do this, at 
> > least subconsciously. (Free tip: try doing it consciously.)
> > 
> > So my question to the TC candidates (and incumbent TC members, or anyone 
> > else, if they want to answer) is: what does the hypothetical OpenStack 
> > user that is top-of-mind in your head look like? Who are _you_ building 
> > OpenStack for?
> > 
> > There's a description of mine in this email, as an example:
> > http://lists.openstack.org/pipermail/openstack-dev/2017-October/123312.html
> > 
> > To be clear, for me at least there's only one wrong answer ("person who 
> > needs somewhere to run their IRC bouncer"). What's important in my 
> > opinion is that we have a bunch of people with *different* answers on 
> > the TC, because I think that will lead to better discussion and 
> > hopefully better decisions.
> > 
> > Discuss.
> > 
> > cheers,
> > Zane.

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