OpenStack PTG Dublin - Rocky

I was so excited when it was first hinted in Denver that the next OpenStack PTG would be in Dublin. In my town! Zero jet lag! Commuting from home! Showing people around! Alas, it was not to be. Thanks, Beast from the East. Now everybody hates Ireland forever.

The weather definitely had some impact on sessions and productivity. People were jokingly then worryingly checking on the news, dropping in and out of rooms as they tried to rebook their cancelled flights. Still we did what we could and had snow-related activities too - good for building team spirit, if nothing else!

I mostly dropped in and out of rooms, here are some of my notes and sometimes highlights.

OpenStack Client

Like before, the first two days of the PTG were focused on cross-projects concerns. The OpenStack Client didn't have a room this time, which seems fair as it was sparsely attended the last couple of times - I would have thought there'd have been one helproom session at least but if there was I missed it.

I regret missing the API Working Group morning sessions on API discovery and micro-versions, which I think were relevant. The afternoon API sessions were more focused on services and less applicable for me. I need to be smarter about it next time.

First Contact SIG

Instead, that morning I attended the First Contact Special Interest Group sessions, which aim to make OpenStack more accessible to newcomers. It was well attended, with even a few new and want-to-be contributors who were first-time PTG attendes - I think having the PTG in Europe really helped with that. The session focused on making sure everyone in the room/SIG is aware of the resources that are out there, to be able to help people looking to get started.

The SIG is also looking for points of contact for every project, so that newcomers have someone to ask questions to directly (even better if there's a backup person too, but difficult enough to find one as it is!).

Some of the questions that came up from people in the room related to being able to map projects to IRC channel (e.g. devstack questions go to #openstack-qa).

Also, the OpenStack community has a ton of mentoring programs, both formal and informal and just going through the list to explain them took a while. Outreachy, Google Summer of Code, Upstream Institute, Women of OpenStack, First Contact Liaisons (see above). Didn't realise there were so many!

I remember when a lot of the initiatives discussed were started. It was interesting to hear the perspectives from people who arrived later, especially the discussions around the ones that have become irrelevant.

Packaging RPMs

On Tuesday I dropped by the packaging RPMs Working Group session. A small group made up of very focused RDO/Red Hat/SUSE people. The discussions were intense, with Python 2 going End Of Life in under 2 years now.

The current consensus seems to be to create a RPM-based Python 3 gate based on 3.6. There's no supported distro that offers this at the moment, so we will create our own Fedora-based distro with only what we need at the versions we need it. Once RDO is ready with this, it could be moved upstream.

There were some concerns about 3.5 vs 3.6 as the current gating is done on 3.5. Debian also appears to prefer 3.6. In general it was agreed there should not be major differences and generally ok.

The clients must still support Python 2.

There was a little bit of discussion about the stable policy and how it doesn't apply to the specs or the rpm-packaging project (I think the example was with Monasca and the default backend not working (?), so a spec change to modify the backend was backported - which could be considered a feature backport, but since the project isn't under the stable policy remit it could be done).

There was a brief chat at the end about whether there is still interest in packaging services, as opposed to just shipping them as containers. There certainly still seems to be at this point.

Release management

A much more complete summary has already been posted on the list, and I had to leave the session halfway to attend something else.

There seems to be an agreement that it is getting easier to upgrade (although some people still don't want to do it, perhaps an education effort is needed to help with this). People do use the stable point release tags.

The "pressure to upgrade": would Long-Term Support release actually help? Probably it would make it worse. The pressure to upgrade will still be there except there won't be a need to work on it for another year, and it'll make life worse for operators/etc submitting back fixes because it'll take over a year for a patch to make it into their system.

Fast-Forward Upgrade (which is not skip-level upgrades) may help with that pressure... Or not, maybe different problems will come up because of things like not restarting services in between upgrades. It batches things and helps to upgrade faster, but changes nothing.

The conversation moved to one year release cycles just before I left. It seemed to be all concerns and I don't recall active support for the idea. Some of the concerns:

  • Concerns about backports - so many changes
  • Concerns about marketing - it's already hard to keep up with all that's going on, and it's good to show the community is active and stuff is happening more than once a year. It's not that closely tied to releases though, announces could still go out more regularly.
  • Planning when something will land may become even harder as so much can happen in a year
  • It's painful for both people who keep up and people who don't, because there is so much new stuff happening at once.

TripleO

The sessions began with a retrospective on Wednesday. I was really excited to hear that tripleo-common was going to get unit tests for workflows. I still love the idea of workflows but I found them becoming more and more difficult to work with as they get larger, and difficult to review. Boilerplate gets copy-pasted, can't work without a few changes that are easy to miss unless manually tested and these get missed in reviews all the time.

The next session was about CI. The focus during Queens was on reliability, which worked well although promotions suffered as a result. There were some questions as to whether we should try to prevent people from merging anything when the promotion pipeline is broken but no consensus was really reached.

The Workflows session was really interesting, there's been a lot of Lessons Learnt from our initial attempt with Mistral this last couple of years and it looks like we're setting up for a v2 overhaul that'll get rid of many of the issues we found. Exciting! There was a brief moment of talk about ripping Mistral out and reimplementing everything in Ansible, conclusions unclear.

I didn't take good notes during the other sessions and once the venue closed down (snow!) it became a bit difficult to find people in the hotel and then actually hear them. Most etherpads with the notes are linked from the main TripleO etherpad.


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