I have long thought that the OpenStack Summits have become too
commercial and provide little value to the software engineers
contributing to OpenStack.
I propose the following:
1) Separate the design summits from the conferences
2) Hold only a single OpenStack conference per year
3) Return the design summit to being a low-key, low-cost working event
The design summits originally started out as working events. Developers
got together in smallish rooms, arranged chairs in a fishbowl, and got
to work planning and designing.
With the OpenStack Summit growing more and more marketing- and
sales-focused, the contributors attending the design summit are often
unfocused. The precious little time that developers have to actually
work on the next release planning is often interrupted or cut short by
the large numbers of "suits" and salespeople at the conference event,
many of which are peddling a product or pushing a corporate agenda.
Many contributors submit talks to speak at the conference part of an
OpenStack Summit because their company says it's the only way they will
pay for them to attend the design summit. This is, IMHO, a terrible
thing. The design summit is a working event. Companies that contribute
to OpenStack projects should send their engineers to working events
because that is where work is done, not so that their engineer can go
give a talk about some vendor's agenda-item or newfangled product.
Part of the reason that companies only send engineers who are giving a
talk at the conference side is that the cost of attending the OpenStack
Summit has become ludicrously expensive. Why have the events become so
expensive? I can think of a few reasons:
a) They are held every six months. I know of no other community or open
source project that holds conference-type events every six months.
b) They are held in extremely expensive hotels and conference centers
because the number of attendees is so big.
c) Because the conferences have become sales and marketing-focused
events, companies shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for schwag,
for rented event people, for food and beverage sponsorships, for keynote
slots, for lavish and often ridiculous parties, and more. This cost
means less money to send engineers to the design summit to do actual work.
I would love to see the OpenStack contributor community take back the
design summit to its original format and purpose and decouple it from
the OpenStack Summit's conference portion.
I believe the design summits should be organized by the OpenStack
contributor community, not the OpenStack Foundation and its marketing
and event planning staff. This will allow lower-cost venues to be chosen
that meet the needs only of the small group of active contributors, not
of huge masses of conference attendees. This will allow contributor
companies to send more engineers to more design summits, which is
something that really needs to happen if we are to grow our active
Once this decoupling occurs, I think that the OpenStack Summit should be
renamed to the OpenStack Conference and Expo to better fit its purpose
and focus. This Conference and Expo event really should be held once a
year, in my opinion, and continue to be run by the OpenStack Foundation.
I, for one, would welcome events that have no conference check-in area,
no evening parties with 2000 people, no keynote and
powerpoint-as-a-service sessions, and no getting pulled into sales meetings.
OK, there, I said it.
Thoughts? Criticism? Support? Suggestions welcome.
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