On 08/14/2014 10:54 AM, Matt Riedemann wrote:

On 8/14/2014 3:47 AM, Daniel P. Berrange wrote:
On Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 09:24:36AM +1000, Michael Still wrote:
On Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 3:09 AM, Dan Smith <d...@danplanet.com> wrote:
I'm not questioning the value of f2f - I'm questioning the idea of
doing f2f meetings sooo many times a year. OpenStack is very much
the outlier here among open source projects - the vast majority of
projects get along very well with much less f2f time and a far
smaller % of their contributors attend those f2f meetings that do
happen. So I really do question what is missing from OpenStack's
community interaction that makes us believe that having 4 f2f
meetings a year is critical to our success.

How many is too many? So far, I have found the midcycles to be extremely productive -- productive in a way that we don't see at the summits, and I think other attendees agree. Obviously if budgets start limiting them,
then we'll have to deal with it, but I don't want to stop meeting

I agree they're very productive. Let's pick on the nova v3 API case as
an example... We had failed as a community to reach a consensus using
our existing discussion mechanisms (hundreds of emails, at least three
specs, phone calls between the various parties, et cetera), yet at the
summit and then a midcycle meetup we managed to nail down an agreement
on a very contentious and complicated topic.

We thought we had agreement on v3 API after Atlanta f2f summit and
after Hong Kong f2f too. So I wouldn't neccessarily say that we
needed another f2f meeting to resolve that, but rather than this is
a very complex topic that takes a long time to resolve no matter
how we discuss it and the discussions had just happened to reach
a natural conclusion this time around. But lets see if this agreement
actually sticks this time....

I can see the argument that travel cost is an issue, but I think its
also not a very strong argument. We have companies spending millions
of dollars on OpenStack -- surely spending a relatively small amount
on travel to keep the development team as efficient as possible isn't
a big deal? I wouldn't be at all surprised if the financial costs of
the v3 API debate (staff time mainly) were much higher than the travel
costs of those involved in the summit and midcycle discussions which
sorted it out.

I think the travel cost really is a big issue. Due to the number of
people who had to travel to the many mid-cycle meetups, a good number
of people I work with no longer have the ability to go to the Paris
design summit. This is going to make it harder for them to feel a
proper engaged part of our community. I can only see this situation
get worse over time if greater emphasis is placed on attending the
mid-cycle meetups.

Travelling to places to talk to people isn't a great solution, but it
is the most effective one we've found so far. We should continue to
experiment with other options, but until we find something that works
as well as meetups, I think we need to keep having them.

IMHO, the reasons to cut back would be:

- People leaving with a "well, that was useless..." feeling
- Not enough people able to travel to make it worthwhile

So far, neither of those have been outcomes of the midcycles we've had,
so I think we're doing okay.

The design summits are structured differently, where we see a lot more
diverse attendance because of the colocation with the user summit. It
doesn't lend itself well to long and in-depth discussions about specific
things, but it's very useful for what it gives us in the way of
exposure. We could try to have less of that at the summit and more
midcycle-ish time, but I think it's unlikely to achieve the same level
of usefulness in that environment.

Specifically, the lack of colocation with too many other projects has
been a benefit. This time, Mark and Maru where there from Neutron. Last
time, Mark from Neutron and the other Mark from Glance were there. If
they were having meetups in other rooms (like at summit) they wouldn't
have been there exposed to discussions that didn't seem like they'd have
a component for their participation, but did after all (re: nova and
glance and who should own flavors).

I agree. The ability to focus on the issues that were blocking nova
was very important. That's hard to do at a design summit when there is
so much happening at the same time.

Maybe we should change the way we structure the design summit to
improve that. If there are critical issues blocking nova, it feels
like it is better to be able to discuss and resolve as much as possible
at the start of the dev cycle rather than in the middle of the dev
cycle because I feel that means we are causing ourselves pain during
milestone 1/2.

Just speaking from experience, I attended the Icehouse meetup before my first summit (Juno in ATL) and the design summit sessions for Juno were a big disappointment after the meetup sessions, basically because of the time constraints. The meetups are nice since there is time to really hash over a topic and you're not rushed, whereas with the design summit sessions it felt like we'd be half way through the allotted time before we really started talking about anything of use and then shortly after that you'd be hearing "5 minutes left", and I felt like very few of the design sessions were actually useful, or things we've worked on in Juno, or at least high-priority/impact things (v3 API being an exception there, that was a useful session).
I have seen what you describe, and have also been at sessions where there is active discussion for 15 minutes, all issues are resolved, and there is still a bunch of time left. The issue you cited could be addressed by accepting fewer topics and giving double or triple slots to topics that are important and expected to need a lot of discussion. The design summits are very useful for cores and newcomers alike and I would hate to see that fragmented by people deciding to not go to summits.

Also, while I was glad I was able to attend the neutron mid-cycle, IMO it is a reach to say that all those companies spending $$$ on OpenStack would happily accept their travel budgets being close to doubled. Many globally distributed companies have all the same issues internally and have found hangout/teleconference type solutions not quite as good as face to face but much better than just email and irc.


Maybe that's just me, but honestly if I had to choose which to go to between a meetup and the summit, I'd pick the mid-cycle meetup.

I don't think any travel should be *required* to be a member of the core team, but I do think the meetups are more productive than the summit, so I'm just agreeing with danpb here that it seems the design sessions should be restructured somehow.

As I explain in the rest of my email below I'm not advocating
getting rid of mid-cycle events entirely. I'm suggesting that
we can attain a reasonable % of the benefits of f2f meetings
by doing more formal virtual meetups and so be more efficient
and inclusive overall.

I'd love to see more high-bandwidth mechanisms used to have discussions
in between f2f meetings. In fact, one of the outcomes of this last
midcycle was that we should have one about APIv3 with the folks that
couldn't attend for other reasons. It came up specifically because we
made more progress in ninety minutes than we had in the previous eight
months (yes, even with a design summit in the middle of that).

Expecting cores to be at these sorts of things seems pretty reasonable
to me, given the usefulness (and gravity) of the discussions we've been having so far. Companies with more cores will have to send more or make some hard decisions, but I don't want to cut back on the meetings until
their value becomes unjustified.

I think this gets to the crux of the original email -- we are
increasingly needing cores to understand the overall direction nova is
going. You could argue for example that our failure to land many high
priority blueprints in Juno is because cores aren't acting in
coordinated a manner. So, we're attempting to come up with ways to
improve coordination.

Having mid-cycle meetups where only a subset of cores will attend doesn't
feel like an great way to improve the coordination between /all/ cores.


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