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Getting Started Guide for OpenStack Contributors

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So you want to contribute to OpenStack? I can help!

For the last year or so I have been involved with OpenStack and more specifically the Trove (DBaaS) project as sort of an ambassador for Percona, contributing bits of knowledge, help and debugging wherever I could and thought I would share some of my experience with others that wanted to get involved with OpenStack development, documentation, testing, etc. Getting started with OpenStack contributions is also the idea behind my talk next month at Percona OpenStack Live 2015. (Percona Live attendees have access to OpenStack Live)

Back at the last OpenStack Conference and Design Summit in Paris last November, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the two-day OpenStack Upstream Training hosted by Stefano Maffulli, Loic Dachary and several other very kind and generous folks. If you ever find yourself in a position to attend one of these training sessions, I strongly suggest that you take advantage of the opportunity, you will not be disappointed.

Using some of the material from the OpenStack Foundation and a little personal experience, I’m going to go through some of the basics of what you’ll need to know if you want to contribute. There are several steps but they are mostly painless:

– It all starts with a little bit of legal work such as signing a either an individual or corporate contributor agreement.

– You will need to decide on a project or projects that you want to contribute to. Chances are that you already have one in mind.

– Find the various places where other contributors to that project hang out, usually there is a mailing list and IRC channel. Logon, introduce yourself, make some friends and sit and listen to what they are working on. Find the PTL (Project Team Lead) and remember his/her name. Let him/her know who you are, who you work for, what you are interested in, etc. Sit in on their meetings, ask questions but don’t be a pest. Observe a little etiquette, be polite and humble and you will reap many rewards later on.

– Eventually you will need to find and get the code and install whatever tools are necessary for that project, build it, stand up a test/working environment, play with it and understand what the various moving parts are. Ask more questions, etc.

– Do you think you are ready to do some coding and submit a patch? Talk to the PTL and get a lightweight bug or maybe a documentation task to work on.

– In order to submit a patch you will need to understand the workflow use the OpenStack gerrit review system which takes a little bit of time to understand if you have never used gerrit before. You’ll need to find and install git-review. Here is where making friends above really helps out. In every project there are usually going to be a few folks around with the time and patience to help you work through your first review.

– Find a bit of a mentor to help you with the mechanics in case you run into trouble, could just be the PTL if he/she has the time, make your patch, send it in and work through the review process.

– As with most peer review situations, you’ll need to remember never to take things personally. A negative review comment is not an insult to you and your family! Eventually your patch will either be accepted and merged upstream (yay!) or rejected and possibly abandoned in favor of some alternative (boo!). If rejected, fret not! Talk to the PTL and your new friends to try and understand the reason why if the review comments were unclear and simply try again.

It is that easy!

Come join me on Tuesday, April 14th in Santa Clara, California and we’ll chat about how you can begin contributing to OpenStack.

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Published at DZone with permission of Peter Zaitsev, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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