Sunday, September 30, 2012

What prevents you from becoming a contributor to OpenStack.

Recently i was brainstorming how to convert participants of OpenStack meet ups to OpenStack Contributors. Then came a suggestion on twitter from Stefano Maffulli (OpenStack Community Manager). He said "why don't we start by asking people what prevents them to become contributors? Maybe they have suggestions for us, too ". I liked the idea and i started asking people a simple question on social networks  "What prevents you from becoming a contributor to OpenStack  ?"

Most of the people said that they want to contribute but don't know where to start. Majority of people feels that not enough How-Tos are available for reference. Some feels that they don't have sufficient time while some feels they are alone. If you want to contribute to OpenStack, first thing you should do is to read this wiki thoroughly.  Now let us talk about these three points one by one.

(1) How-TO documents: OpenStack wiki  is full of resources to guide a new bee within the OpenStack ecosystem. If you are looking to try OpenStack on Linux based operating systems then a very good set of how to documents are available for Ubuntu , Fedora and Debian. If you want to deploy rather than just install OpenStack then there are several DevOps options for automating your installation of OpenStack like you can use Chef. Matt Ray (@mattray) maintains chef cookbooks for OpenStack. Rackspace Cloud Builders also maintain a set of repositories with openstack-related chef cookbooks on github. You can also use Puppet or Juju for this purpose. Puppet Labs maintains a set of puppet modules for OpenStack while Canonical maintains a collection of Juju charms for OpenStack.


If you are a developer and you want to contribute code to any of the OpenStack project. You may want to have a look at devstack which creates a developer environment or Anvil its python equivalent. There are certain steps you have to follow before your code enters any of the OpenStack repo. To better understand the process let us start by fixing a very very minor bug.

Openstack contribution process from Syed Armani

To further understand the process you should visit OpenStack wiki. Its the best place to start. You can also enjoy Demo Videos on various OpenStack projects . Latest buzz work in the industry is software defined networking. Quantum project in OpenStack which provides sdn facility is in vogue. You can find a very good talk given by Salvatore Orlando (@taturiello) on Quantum here.


(2) Lack of Time: Hey, cumon this one is a perception. You see if we love something we always find time for it. Its just about scheduling our priorities to make some room for the stuff we love. Look we always find time in our busy schedule for tweeting, taking a dip in ocean/swimming pool, a game of poker, beer (yeah). If you love something, you are passionate about it then you will always find time for it. 


(3) I am alone: No, you are not. You have a family of 5600 people from around the world. How can you say you are alone. You have a problem, there are people on irc (#openstack) to help you. There are mailing lists where you can send your doubts, your problems and you will get replies from the people contributing on all sort of hierarchies devops, developers and even project technical leads.

#vishfact 16: Vish replies to 60 questions on mailing list in one second.


PS: Documentation is treated like code. If you want to contribute. Start Here


  1. Hey Syed,
    I landed to your website from openstack facebook.
    Thanks for sharing the information.

    Nice post for kick start :-)

    Thank You,

  2. Where did the options in your pie chart came from; or, how are you mapping them to the options illustrated in the screenshot of your survey? What social networks did you poll? How many people responded? Can you provide links to these polls and/or the results? Any idea what sort of demographics the respondents represent?

    I'd love to see more contributors, so I'm interested in better understanding your results. Thanks!

  3. Hi Dolph,

    I only asked the question, options were added by people themselves. Here are some links for the facebook groups where this question was asked.
    [1]Indian Openstack group

    [2] Trystack group

    [3] Malaysian Openstack group

    Hope you find it useful... Cheers!

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