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New Open Infrastructure Project(s)

OpenStack Foundation - Board Meeting : 2019/04/08

New OIP (Open Infrastructure Projects)

In a long running program, started in Sydney at the OpenStack Foundation Board meeting, the OpenStack Foundation (OSF) has added the first new project to the Foundation under the OIP program - Kata Containers.

The foundation board has laid out a set of requirements for projects to meet before they are fully "confirmed" into the foundation.

These fall under 5 broad areas:

  • Focus - does the project do something in an area the board has previously said is an area of interest. Also known as a Strategic Focus Area (SFA)

  • Governance - Does the project act democratically, and have they had a stable process for this.

  • Best Practices - does the project follow the lead of other foundation projects with technical practices - CI, code review, documentation, bug management and security processes.

  • Open-ness - Does the project abide by the four opens.

  • Activity - How many people use the project, and contribute to it?

Kata Containers

Eric Ernst from the Kata Architectural Committee gave a very in depth overview of Kata and what they are doing in the container space. The slides for this are available on Google Slides.


Kata strives to solve a large, known problem in the container space, which is a listed SFA previously defined by the board. They started as a pilot project in the foundation, with the merging of Intel and IP.

Many public cloud providers have had to write something like Kata for their operations, and Kata aims to bring this security to the Open Source space.


The Kata governance is similar to the OpenStack Project governance - they have contributors (ATCs), Maintainers (cores) and an Architecture Committee (TC). There is no PTL role, but as a smaller project, that would be unnecessary.

Best Practices

Kata is in a good place for this - they have CI on each PR, a good set of docs, and a VMT (Vulnerability Management Team) that is very similar to the OpenStack one.


They keep everything in open forums - they use Slack but also bridge the conversations into channels on freenode, so people can use IRC to talk to them, the use open Google Docs for specifications, and allow people to comment on specs to feedback.

They have attended summits before, and reach out to related communities (hypervisors and kubernetes were given as examples).


This was an area I was initially concerned about - but the names and number of users (in production and R&D / testing) looks like it is gaining a growing community. As is to be expected, a lot of people fall into the "pre prod" / R&D phase - this is a very new technology, with no current enterprise offerings which would make companies start out slow.

After the presentation we moved to questions from the board to the Architecture Committee - I have 2.5 pages of notes from this section, so I will not be talking about every question asked here :)

How are Kata and OpenStack integrating, and using each other?

Zun is currently looking at integrating Kata as a container runtime, and in the days since the board meeting I have seen mailing list posts on this, and some people have been investigating Magnum as well. Currently there is no real push from the Kata side, as they let end users drive features.

Is there any commercial distribution of Kata?

Currently, no. There is interest from customers, but currently no distro has provided support. SUSE / RedHat / Ubuntu have started to work on support in the linux distros, but not on a product version yet.

Most current users don't want a product version, they are happy to trail blaze themselves.

How does Kata work with the Kubernetes community?

Kata and kubernetes do end to end testing with CRI.O and containerd. As the CRI is the interface, Kata has been (and is) involved in the development of that standard, and has helped drive some of the features.

At the end, Alan Clark proposed the board vote on "Approving confirmation of Kata Containers as a Open Infrastructure Project in the OpenStack Foundation." This was seconded by Imad Sousou. Of the directors present, all bar one voted in favor. Arkady Kanevsky abstained (based on a disagreement on the timing of the vote, not on the substantive motion itself.)


Monty Taylor presented on behalf of the Zuul Maintainers. In true four opens style, the presentation was produced on gerrit and zuul itself in the open for the community to comment on as it was being written :).

I took a lot less notes on zuul, as I know the project, and in short it is great. The users are a core part of the governance, and there are multiple large installations outside of the OpenStack CI install. People use it to test everything from kubernetes to network switches, which shows the level of flexibility that is in place in the project.


Again, I am not going to cover every single question, just the ones I thought were interesting.

Is there a published roadmap?

No - not in a traditional sense. The maintainers have a prioritised list of features, that will get done as they get done (as soon as people show up to write them).

What does the Zuul need from the OpenStack Foundation?

They need help with technical marketing (educating people about how Zuul works, and why it is such a good thing), and outreach. For outreach, Zuul has been seen as an "OpenStack" only thing, and letting people know they can use it without OpenStack would be a good thing for the project.

It was noted there has been cases where people adopted Zuul, and then decided they wanted to bring in OpenStack to help manage the pool of CI VMs.

Licenses - does the board need to pass a specific exception for the GPLv3 sections?

No - the board has already approved the use of GPLv3 in certain areas of the Zuul code base (mainly around ansible integrations, but also in the zuul-preview service). However the board got concerned, and decided to wait until the meeting in Denver to approve Zuul, and the text of any license exception.

By Laws Update

4.16 Open Meetings and Records. Except as necessary to protect attorney-client privilege, sensitive personnel information, discuss the candidacy of potential Gold Member and Platinum Members, and discuss the review and approval of Open Infrastructure Projects, the Board of Directors shall: (i) permit observation of its meetings by Members via remote teleconference or other electronic means, and (ii) publish the Board of Directors minutes and make available to any Member on request other information and records of the Foundation as required by Delaware Corporate Law.

—New OpenStack Foundation By-Laws (change in italics)

At a previous meeting, the board expressed a wish to be able to talk about adding a project in an executive session. The above change was posted to the foundation mailing list a week or so before the meeting.

What this allows for is the board to decide that they want to talk about the new project behind closed doors, where the discussions are not public (people on the phone or in the room have to leave), and the people in the session cannot talk about what was discussed other then in general terms.

I object to having this ability as I think it violates our core principals of the four opens - namely the open governance pillar. For something like this - adding a new member to the family of Open Source Infrastructure projects I think we should stick to the rules we expect these projects to live by.

There was a quote on the agenda that said "Feedback from the community is amenable to the addition w/some requests for word changes", which was unfortunately not quite true.

I had replied to the thread a day or two after it was sent, but it seems most directors do not read the mailing list.

I am still not sure what could be required for an executive session that is not covered by "sensitive personnel information" that would require this.

Personally, for me, this looks like we are not abiding by our own ethos of the Four Opens - I do understand if there is personel issues with a potential project, we would want to have it discussed behind closed doors, but everything else should be in the open. If the project that is about to be included has large enough personnel issues that they could cause issues for its inclusion in the foundation, there is a very high chance that they are going to fail some of the confirmation guidelines, and that is something the community should have visibility into.

Even from an optics perspective - the board deciding to include or not include a project behind closed doors is not something that is representative of the OpenStack community, and not something I think the community should be supporting.

After sending this there was a discussion in the #openstack-tc channel about the change. This should show that the community is not "generally amenable" to the change.

Personally I cannot see the reason for this change - I do not want to oversimplify this, but if there is not a legal restriction for a director to say why they are for or against a project being included, and the director will only say if they support or do not support a project in an executive session, they need to examine their reasons for being there.

There is a train of thought that we should trust our elected board members - which I do - I remember to trust but verify. If there was a discussion at an executive session, they would not be able to raise a flag to the community that something was amiss.

It is worth noting, that the line about Gold and Platinum members was added as an amendment to the by-laws, and now the default route that a member goes though is:

  1. Presentation from the prospective member.

  2. Executive Session

  3. Vote appears out of the discussion in that session.

Is this what we want to have when we are including new project teams in our community? Or should we do that same thing the that the Technical Committee do when we look at adding a project, and do it all in the open?

So my questions to the directors would be this:

Why do you want to add this to the by-laws? When do you see it being used?

I will be at the board meeting in Denver, and I look forward to hearing the reasoning.


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