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Three keys to the OpenStack community’s success

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There is no magic way to motivate people to contribute to an open source cloud community. It certainly needs to attract good developers by having a set of reasons that will make people start contributing and keep doing good work.

All development, testing and release processes must be very structured and organized to accomplish a successful final result. To understand more about the OpenStack community and how it works, the Welcome Guide in the OpenStack Community page is a good resource to use.

Since its Grizzly release (4 April 2013), OpenStack has had more than 6,500 patches landed from more than 690 contributors. In 2012, the OpenStack Nova project was the seventh most active reported value on GitHub.com. More statistics can be found on Stackalytics.

Although OpenStack is considered one project, it has several moving parts that need to be integrated and work together to guarantee smooth deployments and upgrades.

The following three key reasons can be stated to explain why the OpenStack community is so successful:

1.     The OpenStack Foundation: It allows individual members and organizations to officially join the community and to participate through technical contributions as well as in other ways.

2.     Vast documentation and several ways to interact with the community: People are not tied to books or paid training to learn and contribute to OpenStack. The community offers outstanding and up-to-date documentation and several channels of communication within the community, such as mailing lists, Internet Relay Chat channels, user feedback programs and so on.

3.     Good development and testing infrastructure: OpenStack relies on a set of tools to make the development, testing and release processes feasible, such as Launchpad for managing and tracking the development and Gerrit for tracking code reviews and several other pieces for continuous integration and quality assurance tasks. It is a consistent culture of testing that forces every piece of change to be extensively tested before going upstream.

It is obvious that not all reasons for the community’s success are present above, but these certainly are some of the most important ones. Not everything may work for all communities, but OpenStack provides a good set of recipes to lead an open source cloud community to success.

Do you think OpenStack as a modern open source community holds the secret to success? Leave a comment below.

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