Interview with Kendall Nelson from the OpenInfra Foundation

Interview with Kendall Nelson from the OpenInfra Foundation

The OpenInfra Foundation and its 110,000 members from 187 countries exist to ensure each open source component is built and tested together, collaboratively, with a radical approach to openness that are called the Four Opens. The four opens consist of: Open Source, Development, Design and Community.

Each year the OpenInfra Foundation hosts a summit. Locations of the summit vary each year and this year the summit was held in Berlin. During the summit we held an interview with Kendall Nelson, who is the Upstream Developer Advocate at the OpenInfra Foundation.

During the summit Kendall held some talks. These were mostly focused on the growing topic of discussion in the larger Open Infra community, which has been sustainability and green clouds. Some companies have started green initiatives and begun putting together suites of tools to monitor emissions of clouds and processes, etc. Therefore, the session focused on the sharing of knowledge the Open Infra Foundation has started to accumulate and document some of the best practices while discussing formation of a SIG.

The full interview can be found here on Youtube: . In addition, you can find the transcript of the interview below, so you can read what Kendall answered.

As a follow up to the interview with Kendall, we have organized a webinar to bring universities together and share knowledge. This Thursday the webinar takes place at 1500 CEST. Subscribing is still possible on our LinkedIn Fairbanks page or through the following link:

As a host of the summit what excites you mostly?

I had a keynote today that I was very excited and nervous or. It was a lot about the onboarding efforts that the foundation supports and works with our communities on. Some are formalized internships hosted by the software freedom conservancy. But I personally work a lot with universities as well, so I put a call out to get to know more universities that are interested in connecting students with various open source projects like OpenStack. Today I had 2 or 3 people come up to me, that are university professors for this. So, I am really excited to keep making those connections and build up those relationships.

Connect with me on social media if you are interested in connecting a university with me or some other onboarding program. I’m happy to learn about it and share what we know about onboarding as well.

Tell us about some important news the foundation is going to mention this week.

Yesterday was the launch of the directive fund, which is in part an effort to bring more projects into the foundation. Right now, we have 5 confirmed projects and 1 pilot project, but we are at a point where we are looking to grow this wonderful world of open infrastructure and were poised and ready to do that. So, if you know of a company that has a project they are looking to open source we are definitely an option along with many other foundations.

What has been most challenging for you since the 2,5 years you have conveyed the last in person summit?

The last in person summit was in 2019 in Shanghai. Since then, the pandemic has affected everyone and in so many ways, we didn’t see coming. The thing I worked hardest on is the project team gathering. We had to figure out how to virtualize and keep virtualized meetings as effective as in person. However, I think a lot of people have noticed that virtual events aren’t as effective as in person events. You don’t get to have those hallway conversations and make the same connections. This was my biggest struggle. We also had to figure out how to coordinate developers from all across the world. For instance. The various time zones are really hard to work with, so we came up with a system and did some tweaking on that. Overall, we have been reasonably productive and have managed to keep moving forward with OpenStack and other open infra projects, built new technical features and had discussions that we weren’t able to have in person. We are going back to in person meetings in October, which I am so excited for.

What progress has been made within the OpenInfra community that you think sets the stage mostly for the next decade?

I think the most important thing that we have formalized is this OpenInfra wing. By this I mean, the balance of the three forces and the four opens together as a model for open source. I think that we have this model really sets us apart from a lot of other foundations. I think it will be very compelling for a lot of projects coming in that these are the things we stand for and that these are the things we consider for the projects that we already have. Having this model set up, being able to talk about it and promote it, is definitely putting us in a good place for the future.

What role does the open infra foundation want to play in bringing that vision to life?

We are the creators of this sort of model or formalization of this model. The three forces were introduced back in 2015 at the Portland summit. Since, we have continued to work on this concept of the four opens and them being the guiding principles of all our projects. I think this is not a thing other foundations do. They might do some parts of it, but to us, it is really our bread and butter and it’s the core of how we build, host and foster open source communities.

That was our interview with Kendall Nelson at the summit. Do you have any questions and comments for Kendall or even the OpenInfra Foundation? Let us know in the comment section!