A handbook on The Four Opens and how they are applied in the OpenStack community.
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Open Development

We maintain a publicly available source code repository through the entire development process. We do public code reviews. We have public road maps. This makes participation simpler, allows users to follow the development process and participate in QA at an early stage.

"Open development" refers to the adoption of transparent and inclusive development processes that enable everyone to participate as an equal on a level playing field. Publicly-accessible services means that everyone can see everything about development activities, without even needing to sign up to a service. Open development also means that all patches are welcome for consideration, whether that patch is from a project founder or a first time contributor. A successful open source project will adopt a set of standards that clearly states the metrics and standards that a contribution will be evaluated against. By defining these standards we create an egalitarian process in which contributions are evaluated on a level playing field. The metrics for evaluating a patch can include:

  • Correctness: does the code include tests of its functionality?
  • Quality Assurance: does the code integrate with other projects and not introduce regressions?
  • Documentation: does a new feature include documentation on what it does and how to properly configure it?
  • Purpose: does the code implement a feature identified in the open design process?

Automation, like automated unit, integration, and style checking, can go a long way to establishing a baseline standard for new code. Code review by trusted community members is the additional critical layer on top of the automated tooling?

This raises the question, how does one become a trusted community member? Regular participation in code review and submitting patches builds reputation and trust within a community. Aspects of the open development process must include facilities for anyone (not just existing projects contributors and leaders) to:

  • Discover current priorities and tasks.
  • Report bugs and vulnerabilities.
  • Leave reviews on existing patches.
  • Submit patches to a project.

There must also be a clearly defined process that describes how a contributor can graduate to different levels of leadership within a project. The success of Open Development relies not just on the availability and accessibility of tooling in a project, but also upon the healthy governance of a community (which we will discuss further in the next chapter on Open Community <opencommunity>).