I've been quietly involved in OpenStack since before it had a name: people in the project who know me ask me interesting questions, and I give thoughtful answers.
Allison is an open source software/hardware developer and strategist. She is a board member of the Open Infrastructure Foundation, chair of the board at the Software Freedom Conservancy, a board member of Open Usage Commons, and co-founder of the FLOSS Foundations group for open source leaders. She previously served as chair of the board at the Open Infrastructure Foundation, president of the Open Source Initiative, president and board member of the Perl Foundation, board member at the Python Software Foundation, chief architect of the Parrot virtual machine, chair of the board at the Parrot Foundation, Open Source Evangelist at O'Reilly Media, Conference Chair of OSCON, Technical Architect of Ubuntu, Open Source Advisor at Canonical, Distinguished Technologist and Open Source Strategist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Distinguished Engineer at SUSE. She participates in the Debian and RISC-V projects.
I was aware of and interested in OpenStack before it even had a name, through work on open infrastructure in the Ubuntu project and other open source projects.
I believe open infrastructure plays a vital role in the open source ecosystem and in the future of open technology, serving to promote "innovation and choice on the Internet", as Mozilla is fond of saying. The open source nature of the projects hosted at the Open Infrastructure Foundation open up economic opportunities in open infrastructure technology around the world. They are important examples of one style of modern open source development, funded by corporate interests but guided by the technical governance of individual contributors.
Overall, my greatest contributions to OpenInfra have been through strategic initiatives. In my first year on the board, I facilitated a series of strategic exercises with the Board, Technical Committee, and User Committee, which led to defining a set of strategic areas for OpenStack and adjacent technologies, and ultimately to opening the doors of the foundation to host the projects Zuul, Kata Containers, Airship, and StarlingX. In my second and third years on the board, I participated in strategic planning around the governance framework for hosting pilot and confirmed projects, and the process for progressing projects from "pilot" to "confirmed". In my fourth and fifth years on the board I participated in strategic planning around expanding membership in the foundation, and rebranding to match the mission. In my sixth year I served as chair of the board, and in my seventh year I served as vice chair to support a smooth leadership transition.
I have been on the board of some combination of open source non-profit foundations continuously every year since 2003, serving as president/chair on four of the foundation boards. I am deeply familiar with the "business" of an open source foundation, the role of an open source board member, and the intricate combination of perspectives, motivations, and expectations from individual developers, non-profit leadership, and participating companies, that make the open source collaboration model so successful, when woven together appropriately.
Good executive leadership is a balance, involving seeing the external environment and internal paths with the greatest chances of success, collaborating on exploring those opportunities with people in a position to make them a reality, allocating resources to support the mission, and yet avoiding the temptation to micro-manage on execution.
Some of OpenInfra's greatest strengths are our history of collaboration with other open source projects/technologies (like Linux, Python, KVM, etc.); our model of open self-governance that allows communities of contributors to adapt over time to new situations, new challenges, and new opportunities; our approach to evolving infrastructure that integrates new technology for new use cases and new user needs; and our approach to development where independent and inter-dependent projects have clearly-defined integration points, which are tested well together and work well together.
In a rapidly changing open source ecosystem, it is deeply important for the OpenInfra foundation and community to work to our strengths, and keep focus on our top priority of supporting and sustaining the open source projects we host.
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