OpenStack and you...

I'm only a few weeks old in the OpenStack community and I can tell you that this is by far the most democratic open-source project I've ever seen. Typically there is a project owner who for better or worse is the guy you have to please. Let's call him "benevolent dictator for life" or BDL for short.

In most of my experience the trick is to get the BDL's attention and approval. If the BDL doesn't like you for whatever reason, you can GTFO. That's not how OpenStack works.

The OpenStack community has a lovely welcome guide (warning: pdf) and they also give you free candy. In the community process, anyone can bring proposals to the design summit and the community both online and physically present discuss change proposals and enhancements for the coming release. What's special about this process is anyone could propose a design change to OpenStack.

When I mean anyone, I mean anyone. You could represent a billion-dollar behemoth or you could be from a local shop that runs its own datacenter which just happens to want to donate developer time.

When I've been lucky enough to get to do open-source work as my day-job that's the kind of situation I would have been in myself: the day job is deliver web-site X but to do that you shave the yak of open-source bug-fixing. Much of my Grails work came out of me using the framework during my day job (living on the JVM and wanting python-like good-ness) and shaving the yaks of qrcode support, database migrations, SSL certificate issues, audit-log creation, and so on. That's how a lot of the smaller open source contributions (like mine) get done.

That kind of rubber-meets-the-road contributions keeps an open source project "real" and keeps it serving users where they live. For the first time I'm working full-time on the vSphere Nova Compute Driver. I'm taking over for Sean Chen and I want to stay on top of issues.

I'm officially soliciting feedback and input from the OpenStack + vSphere community. Let me know what's going on and what I can do to help you. And in open-source spirit, I don't care if you are a tiny shop or a huge one... let's see your code.