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Governance/ElectionsSpring2012/Mark McLoughlin

Mark McLoughlin

I'm running for a PPB seat.


I got a bit wordy below. Sorry! :)

Since the last elections, what areas have you focused on and what contributions have you made in order to improve your project?

I first got involved in OpenStack around the time of the last election and the Essex Design Summit. During the summit I kept my eyes open for areas which I felt were important for the project as a whole and could use my help.

The first area is Nova reviews. Obviously, there's a huge workload on nova-core and it's vitally important that patches get reviewed both quickly and carefully. I've been working on open-source virtualization technologies for over 6 years, so I knew I could help. Although I haven't done as much reviewing as I had hoped, I think I've made some useful impact. Presumably that's why I was added to nova-core :-)

The next issue that I felt was important was the need for a stable branch. I think it's essential for a project to have the ability to release bugfix updates from a stable branch between major feature releases. Indeed, at the Essex Design Summit, we were lamenting the fact that the Nova 2011.3 release had serious bugs and we had no mechanism for doing a bugfix release.

After the Design Summit, I formed a stable branch maintainers team with Chuck Short and Dave Wallker, proposed a policy for the branch and started the laborious process of backporting bugfixes from Nova and Glance's master branch to the stable/diablo. Later, I joined the release managers team and we released 2011.3.1 in January containing almost 100 bug fixes.

Another area that I felt I could help with was kick-starting the openstack-common project. Something Vish mentioned about the gflags/optparse config code split between Nova and Glance prompted me to write the cfg library and port Nova and Glance to the new code. Now, in Essex, both Nova and Glance have .ini style config files and share the same code. I'm not done yet, and hope to have all OpenStack projects use not only the same config library, but also use that library in idiomatic ways.

Later, I teamed up with with Jason Kölker to come up with a plan for openstack-common. We've made a good start with the openstack-common "incubation area", but I'd like to see us make more progress towards releasing a first version of the library itself.

On the non-technical side, I feel very strongly that the structure of the OpenStack Foundation is going to have a major impact on the future success or otherwise of the project. I've tried to bring my perspective from working on many different open-source projects to the debate and proposed StrawmanFoundationStructure to help move the debate along.

What are the most pressing/important issues facing your project?

Quality is key. The project is still relatively immature and a lot can be forgiven now. However, we absolutely must continue to raise the quality of our releases. On the testing side, we actually have a lot of good work that we should be proud of - a serious effort at unit testing, a solid continuous integration setup in Jenkins, the awesome SmokeStack and ongoing work on integration tests. I think we're on the right path with these and we should be confident that continued effort in all those areas will reap rewards. Release management is also critical to quality and I think Thierry has been doing an awesome job here. My personal focus on improving quality would be figuring out how to (a) make our code review culture have a stronger impact on quality levels and (b) encourage more of us to switch to a bugfixing phase after feature freeze.

I think everyone agrees that the size of Nova is an issue. Continuing to split pieces out into their own projects will help. The volume service is the next obvious one. Thierry's idea of separating development into topic branches with separate core teams has merit, but will be a challenge given the amount of work which requires changes across the project.

I'd like to see the PPB take an active role in issues like this. Not as a board voting on policy proposals, but rather as a group of committed individuals supporting each other and the rest of the community in our efforts to find new ways forward improving OpenStack.

Finally, again, establishing a vibrant culture for the OpenStack Foundation is going to be very important over the next year. If I was to pick one theme for the foundation that I'd like to push, it's the notion of our community being foremost about us all as individuals and our individual commitment to the success of the project.

What is your relationship to OpenStack & why is its success important to you and/or your company?

I've been a fan of the project since it was first announced. Everyone resposible for the project to date should be very proud of what they have achieved. OpenStack has grown quickly to become one of the most healthy, vibrant and exciting open-source communities around. I believe that if we can keep this up, phenomenal technical success is inevitable. I'm completely committed to helping prove to the world that open development such as we are practising delivers awesome technology.

I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity by Red Hat to get involved with OpenStack. As the lead on our growing OpenStack team, I'm determined that we will play a major role in the project's continued success.