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.
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.
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.
Looking at current trends in cloud/infrastructure, we see increasing contribution and participation by the dominant proprietary vendors in open infrastructure projects, and that the long tail of "other" vendors is continuing to grow. Both the dominant vendors and the long tail of vendors rely heavily on open infrastructure projects like OpenStack, Zuul, Kata Containers, Airship, and StarlingX (and Linux, Kubernetes, etc). As the cloud/infrastructure market follows the normal and natural process of "commoditization", the opportunity we must recognize is that the collaborative power of hundreds of companies participating in open source always has the potential to innovate faster than any one company, and to create economic value for users and operators on a global scale.
The Open Infrastructure Foundation has a proven track record of providing a home for open infrastructure projects in the closely-related strategic areas of cloud, CI/CD, edge, and container/serverless infrastructure, and continues to take concrete steps to collaborate with adjacent communities in open infrastructure (like Kubernetes). Our mission to produce open infrastructure that is "easy to use, simple to implement, interoperable between deployments, works well at all scales, and meets the needs of users and operators" remains crucial in the coming year, and for many years to come.
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