The Trouble with 10 Percent: Nurturing a Diverse and Inclusive OpenStack Community

OpenStack Summit, underway this week in Boston, brings together attendees from all over the globe. Community members, contributors and users with varying experience levels, talent and interests are coalescing, as we do twice a year, all with the common goal to further OpenStack as a viable, open cloud alternative and ensure its future vitality.

Naturally, we are talking about a very diverse crowd—yet one that is not diverse enough. In 2016, women and underrepresented minorities accounted for just 11 percent of the OpenStack Community and not quite 10 percent of the Linux community, according to research by the firm Bitergia.[i]

Those are troublesome numbers. To create open source software that benefits the lives of all people, we need developers with diverse perspectives, experiences, and skillsets. This is about more than writing lines of code. This is about fostering a community that reflects the broader society around us, so that the community can create the foundation for making better products and services for a connected world.

With this goal in mind, growing numbers of individuals and organizations are working actively to nurture an OpenStack community that is both diverse and inclusive. And, no, those words are not two ways of saying the same thing. Diversity is all about bringing underrepresented people into the community, while inclusion is about making people feel welcome and supported within that community.

At Intel, we are deeply committed to the effort to nurture a diverse and inclusive open source community—it’s part of our larger commitment to the technology industry. I’m particularly proud to be a member of the Women of OpenStack, and am encouraged by what we’ve been able to achieve together. We showcased the amazing individuals within our diverse community through a video series that aired in Barcelona. Events like OpenStack Summit give us an opportunity to unite and continue to push this important work forward.

On Monday, we continued our sponsorship of Speed Mentoring sessions, hosted by the Women of OpenStack. This event has become a mainstay at the twice-yearly summits, pairing people who are new to the OpenStack community with career and technical mentors who share their knowledge, experiences, and advice with the newcomers.

On Thursday, I will join panel discussions focused on growing the next generation of OpenStack contributors and developing strategies to foster diversity and inclusion in the community. In the first session, we’ll talk to OpenStack Foundation mentors, Tom Fifield and Chris Hoge, along with their interns, Sonia Ramza and Megan Guiney, about the experiences, achievements and insights they gained through an internship program introduced at the Barcelona summit. In the other session, we’ll dive into diversity research within the OpenStack community and explore actionable steps we can take collectively to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for all.

We’re at a unique inflection point in our collective history. By coming together to cultivate an environment that welcomes diverse perspectives and provides a sanctuary for intelligent, thoughtful debate, we can truly make a difference.

Ready to join us? Learn more about the Women of OpenStack to get started.

[i] The New Stack, “Amidst Bias, Women Work to Find a Place in Open Source Communities,” 20 Feb. 20, 2017.