[tc][election] campaign discussion: how TC can solve the less contributor issue?

Donny Davis donny at fortnebula.com
Mon Apr 6 20:03:35 UTC 2020

On Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 3:49 PM melanie witt <melwittt at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 4/6/20 08:36, Donny Davis wrote:
> > On Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 11:22 AM Artom Lifshitz <alifshit at redhat.com
> > <mailto:alifshit at redhat.com>> wrote:
> >
> >     On Sat, Apr 4, 2020 at 9:12 PM Ghanshyam Mann
> >     <gmann at ghanshyammann.com <mailto:gmann at ghanshyammann.com>> wrote:
> >      >
> >      > This topic is a very important and critical area to solve in the
> >     OpenStack community.
> >      > I personally feel and keep raising this issue wherever I get the
> >     opportunity.
> >      >
> >      > To develop or maintain any software, the very first thing we need
> >     is to have enough developer resources.
> >      > Without enough developers (either open or closed source), none of
> >     the software can survive.
> >      >
> >      > OpenStack current situation on contributors is not the same as it
> >     was few years back.  Almost every
> >      > project is facing the less contributor issue as compare to
> >     requirements and incoming requests. Few
> >      > projects already dead or going to be if we do not solve the less
> >     contributors issue now.
> >      >
> >      > I know, TC is not directly responsible to solve this issue but we
> >     should do something or at least find
> >      > the way who can solve this.
> >
> >     I'm not running for TC, but I figured I could chime in with some
> >     thoughts, and maybe get TC candidates to react.
> >
> >      > What do you think about what role TC can play to solve this? What
> >     platform or entity can be used by TC to
> >      > raise this issue? or any new crazy Idea?
> >
> >     To my knowledge, the vast majority of contributors to OpenStack are
> >     corporate contributors - meaning, they contribute to the community
> >     because it's their job. As companies have dropped out, the
> contributor
> >     count has diminished. Therefore, the obvious solution to the
> >     contributor dearth would be to recruit new companies that use or sell
> >     OpenStack. However, as far as I know, Red Hat is the only company
> >     remaining that still makes money from selling OpenStack as a product.
> >     So if we're looking for new contributor companies, we would have to
> >     look to those that use OpenStack, and try to make the case that it
> >     makes sense for them to get involved in the community. I'm not sure
> >     what this kind of advocacy would look like, or towards which
> >     companies, or what kind of companies, it would be directed. Perhaps
> >     the TC candidates could have suggestions here. And if I've made any
> >     wrong assumptions, by all means correct me.
> >
> > I don't think you are too far off.  I used to work in a place where my
> > job was to help sell Openstack (among other products) and
> > enable the use of it with customers.
> >
> > Customers drive everything vendors do. Things that sell are easy to use.
> > Customers don't buy the best products, they buy what they
> > can understand fastest. If customers are asking for a product, it's
> > because they understand its value. Vendors in turn contribute
> > to projects because they make money from their investment.
> >
> > Now think about the perception and reality of Openstack as a whole. We
> > have spent the last decade or so writing bleeding edge features.
> > We have spent very little time on documenting what we do have in
> > layman's terms. The intended audience of our docs would seem
> > to me to be other developers. I hope people don't take that as a jab,
> > it's just the truth. If someone cannot understand how to use
> > this amazing technology, it won't sell. If it doesn't sell, vendors
> > leave, if vendors leave the number of contributors goes down.
> >
> > If we don't start working at making Openstack easier to consume, then no
> > amount of technical change will make an impactful difference.
> I'm not running for the TC either but wanted say Donny's reply here
> resonates with me. When I first started working on OpenStack, I was at
> Yahoo (now Verizon Media), a company who consumes OpenStack and depends
> on it for a (now) large portion of their infrastructure.
> At the time I joined the OpenStack community in 2012, the docs about
> contributing and the docs about each component were dead simple. I was
> up and running in under a day and started my first contributions
> upstream shortly after.
> Fast forward to now, I find the docs are hard to read and navigate.
> There's not much layman's terms. And most of all, at least in Nova, is
> that the docs are in dire need of being organized. They used to be
> simple but when docs moved in-tree things were hastily cobbled together
> because as you mentioned, we're always already stretched trying to
> deliver bleeding edge features.
> And, there are also differences in opinion about how docs should be
> organized and how verbose they are. I have seen docs evolve from simple
> to complicated because for example: someone thought they were making an
> improvement, whereas I might think they were making the docs less
> usable. I'm not aware that there is any guideline or reference
> documentation that is to be used as a design goal. Such as, "this is
> what your landing page should look like", "here's how docs should be
> organized", "you should have these sections", etc.
> Sometimes I have thought about proposing a bunch of changes to how our
> docs are organized. But, full disclosure, I worry that if I do that and
> if it gets accepted/merged, someone else will completely change all of
> it later and then all the organization and work I did goes out the
> window. And I think this worry highlights the fact that there is no
> "right way" of doing the docs. It's just opinion and everyone has a
> different opinion.
> I'm not sure whether that's solvable. I mentioned a guideline or design
> goal to aspire to, but at the same time, we don't want to be so rigid
> that projects can't do docs the way they want. So then what? Per project
> design goals and guidelines I guess? Or is that too much process? I have
> wondered how other communities have managed success in the docs department.
> So, back to the contributors point. I was lucky because by the time docs
> got hard to consume, I already knew the ropes. I don't know how hard it
> has been for newer contributors to join since then and how much of the
> difficulty is related to docs.
> I'm not sure I've said anything useful, so apologies for derailing the
> discussion if I've done that.
> -melanie
I have had a couple conversations about trying to put together "docs for
mere mortals", but it comes down to time and the right place for it to go.
I understand we as a community are not really supposed to have an "opinion"
on how to best put together a cloud, but maybe it's time we take
the collective wisdom from those who know what works and what doesn't...
and put something together for all of us normal people out there.
I am just a simple human, and I do not think I am alone. This is not meant
to be a "our docs suck and we need to refactor them all"... it's more so
a "we have the content and the wisdom, so let's build something that
someone can put in prod and stand on it."

>From my perspective this has literally been our barrier to adoption.
C: 805 814 6800
"No mission too difficult. No sacrifice too great. Duty First"
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