Open Source & Developer

Three OpenStack Developer Myths Debunked

By TMCnet Special Guest
Vincent Untz, project manager, SUSE
  |  April 14, 2015

OpenStack development is one of the hottest and most sought-after skills in enterprise IT. The community is continuing to gain momentum in the market now that many established technology and service companies have made the move from evaluation to deployment. According to IBM, in the past two years the number of OpenStack foundation members has grown to more than 18,000 individual members, more than 140 countries, and more than 2,500 contributing developers.

With great growth and interest comes the need for new developers and contributors. And if you’re in other areas of development, you may be surprised to know that joining the community is easier than you think. Here are three little-known facts about OpenStack development from those of us on the inside.

One: There are Few Barriers to Entry

The OpenStack community is unified. It’s one of the few projects with a high emphasis on being collaborative, welcoming, and open by default, so everyone can do more. The first step is simple: Try the platform, using the wide variety of online resources, tools and wikis to help professionals hone their skills. People can start from nowhere to contributing in a short period of time.

Two: It Involves a High Level of Sophistication

When it comes to quality assurance, OpenStack is outpacing nearly any open source and proprietary project in existence. The project aims to maintain high quality through a strict gating process and has succeeded in growing by releasing in significant six-month cycles. Many of the project’s best practices have been pulled from various sources, such as the Linux kernel and the python community. Most of the time, big proprietary shops don't reach this level of sophistication for best practices. The individuals who work with OpenStack are not afraid of change and have pushed the boundaries of what is possible within continuous integration. Some of the best practices include:

• making sure all changes a developer makes have a corresponding test and no visible regression;

• ensuring all changes are reviewed by at least two other developers;

• maintaining a very strict insistence on quality of commit messages;

• allowing for version control; and

• having an automated code review process; and

• strict gating practices to make the quality of the project extremely high and stable.

Most people outside the community don’t know how any given project is being developed. Every change submitted by a developer is being tested, automatically. Every day, more than 4,000 deployments are being completed. The effort to make this happen is monumental.

Three: OpenStack is Not Linux

When an open source project takes off, the natural reaction is to liken its success to Linux. But as OpenStack evolves, the parallels to Linux are less apparent. Therefore, the stereotypes associated with traditional Linux and open source development no longer apply.

Linux began as a hobby project; OpenStack began as a way to fundamentally change how cloud computing is delivered. Its growth and adoption rate have outperformed those of Linux by leaps and bounds. The development rate (in terms of commits) of OpenStack after only 4 years is similar to what Linux reached after about 15 years. Its success should have all developers taking it seriously.

One of the primary goals of the OpenStack project is to reduce its barrier to entry for contributors. And this helps explain the extraordinary growth of the project. By trying all the tools OpenStack has to offer, developers will quickly understand OpenStack is a project that values and incorporates contributions and participation from truly anywhere.

Vincent Untz is project manager at SUSE (

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino