[Ofa_boardplus] Voteable item for Thursday's Board Meeting

Doug Ledford dledford at redhat.com
Wed Mar 14 10:11:44 PDT 2018

I'm sure Paul will probably write something more meaningful than I will here, but my answers are inline below:

On Wed, 2018-03-14 at 17:27 +0100, Bernard Metzler wrote:
> All,
> I have to admit I did not actively contribute to the mission statement discussion for some time. But let me share with you what I think when I just read the proposed new mission statement.
> It would reflect quite a big change of the mission of the OFA. To me, old keywords were
> open source software development, test, licensing, supportvendor independenceunified, cross-platform, transport-independent software stack for RDMAstandards-based software
> So, to my understanding, the current mission of the OFA is to develop and maintain an ecosystem to ease and promote the usage of RDMA fabrics, while closely following given standards.

I would argue that that mission has been met.  To stick with that mission now has little to no meaning, aside from maintaining the already written software stack.  But, regardless of the old mission statement, the OFA has done more, and will continue to do more, than just what this embodies.  Hence, the need for a new mission statement and the bylaw rewrite.

> Here are my main concerns with the proposed new mission statement:
> It  completely lacks the term 'open source software', which was essential for the success of OFA so far.

No one disagrees that open source is certainly the preferred means of writing software (although it wasn't the only one the OFA used...after all the early RDMA stack was dual licensed GPL/BSD just so it could be used in proprietary software, and for a long time OFED shipped proprietary bits).  But the mission statement is trying to be more general than just the software OFA members produce.  It's trying to state that the OFA is trying to advance both the hardware the stack runs on (be that IB, OPA, standard IP with DCB extensions, or just TCP) and the software.  Part of getting the technology more ubiquitous is to get more people to write to the APIs, and part of that is things like enabling soft RoCE and soft iWARP so it can even be used where no hardware support is present.  In the end, that leads to a more vibrant ecosystem overall, and actually helps promote more hardware uptake on top of just the software uptake.  So, while open source software is a key component still, the mission statement was intentionally more broad to cover the hardware (which is almost always *not* open source).

> Vendor independence got dropped, transport (fabric) independence as well. 

We have passable vendor independence and transport independence already in libibverbs, and even better in libfabrics.  I don't see that regressing, as it would negatively impact the advancement of the technologies and adoption.  So, it can be assumed simply by the fact that we are trying to drive adoption and uptake and not splinter the market.

>  Positioning OFA as a standardization body ("creating industry standard specifications"). That shall be out of scope of OFA.

Most people thought so.  And although the libfabric API has not been defined in your typical IEEE type paper spec, it is a defacto API that was grown 100% in house by OFA members.  So we've already done the work, it's time to make the fact that we are willing to do the work official.

> "accelerate the development ... of advanced networks" - OFA shall not, and cannot develop new networks, except social ;)

See above about trying to get the software in more use.  Also, providing the infrastructure in the kernel for quickly adding new drivers or new link layers as they come available does accelerate the development of the networking technologies themselves.  I have no doubt that if the RDMA stack didn't exist, then OPA would not yet be being deployed in production.  It is a formalization of what we are already doing.

> "incubating new software technologies" - what is this about? What is an example new software technology which gets incubated in OFA?
> In a nutshell, it would move the role of OFA from an enabler of technology to a creator and promoter of technology. Of course, the mission statement shall not preclude the adoption of new technologies, best under the umbrella of vendor and transport independence, but its development and promotion shall be outside the scope of OFA.
> Looking forward to talk to you tomorrow,

(mailer won't let me reply between your last point and your summary...and last time I tried to force it, it crashed the reply, so just pretend I'm inserting this after your last bullet)

Again, libfabric has already been incubated by the OFA.  That one was done from scratch.  It's also been pointed out that the OFA incubated the initial libibverbs.

As for your last summary statement, I would only say that the development and promotion of new technologies has already been happening.  This change in mission statement only makes official what is already unofficially done.  I don't see it as outside the scope of the OFA at all.

Doug Ledford <dledford at redhat.com>    GPG KeyID: B826A3330E572FDD    Key fingerprint = AE6B 1BDA 122B 23B4 265B  1274 B826 A333 0E57 2FDD
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