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, board member at the Python Software Foundation, Chief Architect of the Parrot virtual machine, Chairman 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 OpenStack projects, and is currently taking a mid-career research sabbatical to complete a PhD at the University of Cambridge.
I was aware of and interested in OpenStack before it even had a name.
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 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 OpenStack Foundation to host the pilot projects Zuul, Kata Containers, Airship, and StarlingX. In my second year on the board, I participated in strategic planning around the governance framework for hosting the new pilot projects, and the process for progressing them to the next phase beyond "pilot".
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 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 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.
In the past year, the OpenStack Foundation has taken concrete steps to reach out to adjacent communities (like Kubernetes), and provide a home for open infrastructure projects other than OpenStack in the closely-related strategic areas of cloud, CI/CD, edge, and container/serverless infrastructure. This year will be important as we take steps to formalize governance and legal framework for the first round of pilot projects, while maintaining a wholehearted commitment to the OpenStack project, working together across communities for the benefit of the users.
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