Upcoming changes to Design Summit format

Since the very beginning of OpenStack we fulfilled our Open Design promise by organizing a developer gathering open to all OpenStack contributors at the beginning of all our development cycles, called the Design Summit. Those events have proven to be an essential part of OpenStack success and growth.

Design Summits are a set of discussion sessions under the auspices of a given OpenStack program. There are no formal presentations or speakers, just open discussions around a given development theme. The elected Program Technical Leads are responsible for picking a set of discussion topics, and they take suggestions from the rest of the community on our session suggestion website at summit.openstack.org.


One of the last sessions at the Icehouse Design Summit in Hong-Kong was about the Design Summit format, and how we should improve on it. Several issues were reported during that session, like:

  • the inability for technical people to attend (or present at) the rest of the OpenStack Summit
  • the (in)visibility of the Unconference track, making it difficult for nascent projects to attract interested contributors
  • the difficulty to have cross-project discussions in a schedule strictly organized around project-specific topics
  • the difficulty for incubated projects to continue to collaborate during the week, outside of the limited scheduled slots allocated to them

I'm happy to report that we acted on that feedback and will implement a number of changes in the upcoming Juno Design Summit in Atlanta in May.

First, we started staggering the Design Summit from the rest of the OpenStack Summit. The main event starts on Monday and ends on Thursday, while the Juno Design Summit starts on Tuesday and ends on Friday. This should allow our key technical assets to attend some of the conference and maybe present there.

Second, the Unconference track is abandoned. It will be replaced by several initiatives. Part of the Unconference was traditionally used by open source projects related to OpenStack to present themselves and recruit contributors. We'll have an Other projects track at the Design Summit to cover for those. This will be limited to one session per project, but those will appear on the official schedule. If you are an open source project related to OpenStack and would like one of those slots, please head to the session suggestion site !

Another classic use of the Unconference was ad-hoc continuation of discussions that started in scheduled sessions, or coverage of lesser topics that couldn't find a place in scheduled sessions. To cover for that, we'll set up a roundtable for each program (complete with paperboard) to serve as a rallying point for contributors around that program. This designated space (codenamed project pod) can be used to have additional discussions and continue collaboration outside of the limited scheduled sessions.

Last but not least, we'll dedicate the first day of the summit (Tuesday) to cross-project workshops. During that day, no other integrated project sessions will be running, which should facilitate presence of key stakeholders. We'll be able to discuss OpenStack-wide goals, convergence, integration and other cross-project issues.

We hope that those changes will let us make the most of those 4 days all together. At the end of the Juno Design Summit we'll discuss whether those changes were an improvement and whether we should do them again for the K design summit in Paris in November. See you all in Atlanta in 8 weeks!