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 a software developer and open source strategist. She is a board member of the OpenStack Foundation, a board member of the Open Source Initiative, a board member of the Perl Foundation, and co-founder of the FLOSS Foundations group for open source leaders. She previously served as President of the Open Source Initiative, President of the Perl Foundation, Chief Architect of the Parrot virtual machine, Open Source Evangelist and OSCON Conference Chair at O'Reilly Media, Chairman of the Board at the Parrot Foundation, board member at the Python Software Foundation, Technical Architect of Ubuntu and Open Source Advisor at Canonical. She participates in the Debian and OpenStack projects, and is currently a PhD student at the University of Cambridge, researching edge computing and hypervisor optimization.
I was aware of and interested in OpenStack before it even had a name, and have actively employed with OpenStack as my primary job since 2014.
I believe OpenStack plays a vital role in the open source ecosystem and in the future of cloud technology, one of the key projects that serves to promote "innovation and choice on the Internet", as Mozilla is fond of saying. The open source nature of OpenStack opens up economic opportunities in cloud technology around the world. It is an important example of one style of modern open source development, funded by corporate interests but guided by the technical governance of individual contributors.
Overall, my greatest contribution to OpenStack has been through strategic initiatives. In the past year, my participation in OpenStack has been focused on facilitating a series of strategic exercises with the Board, Technical Committee, and User Committee, which led to defining five strategic areas for OpenStack that the three groups are collaborating on driving forward. The strategic areas are community health, adjacent technologies, requirements feedback loop, communicating about OpenStack, and changes to the technology. The talk I gave recently at OpenStack Days Nordic (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBUC03U3Zqw) has more explanation of these strategic areas, together with a lightweight introduction to the concepts of open source collaboration and technology innovation behind this strategic approach.
I have been on the board of some combination of open source non-profit foundations continuously every year since 2003, serving as president/chairman on three of the foundation boards. I have extensive familiarity 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 OpenStack'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.
The set of open source projects we need to care about has grown since the early days of OpenStack, it's no longer just about technologies that OpenStack consumes, it's also about other technologies that consume OpenStack (like OPNFV and Edge computing), and technologies that our users are deploying together with OpenStack (like Kubernetes). This year is about building on our strengths and broadening our horizons, it's about sharing knowledge and working together across communities, for the benefit of the users.
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