2019-07-11 Mandatory Repository Retirement

When development ceases on any official OpenStack team deliverable repository and it is no longer maintained, its contents are replaced by a clear statement describing this status, all open changes for it in code review are abandoned with an explanatory message, and access controls are modified to automatically reject future proposed changes. This act is known as repository retirement.

When a repository which was governed by the OpenStack Technical Committee ceases to be its responsibility any longer, the deliverable repository entry in the official openstack/governance/src/branch/master/reference/projects.yaml is moved to a openstack/governance/src/branch/master/reference/legacy.yaml with its proximate retired-on date recorded. This act is known as governance removal.

Following conclusion of the Train development cycle, any new governance removal for a repository in the openstack/ must undergo repository retirement even if development will be continuing in another Git namespace on OpenDev. The OpenStack Technical Committee may defer this requirement if responsibility over the repository is being transferred to another official OpenStack governance body with which it shares the openstack Git namespace on OpenDev (for example, a recognized OpenStack special interest group or OpenStack User Committee working group), but can still enforce it at a later date if the repository moves to a different OpenDev Git namespace or leaves OpenDev hosting entirely.


With the 2019-03-22 resolution to Namespace Unofficial Projects, only currently or previously-official OpenStack deliverable repositories (or those managed by SIGs, working groups and other officially-recognized bodies) remain within the openstack Git namespace prefix on OpenDev. Formerly-official software, which left OpenStack governance with the intent of continuing development outside it, was in many cases subsequently abandoned in place by its authors. This created an attractive nuisance and unwitting surprise for source code consumers who (in at least some cases) likely continued unaware that it was no longer supported by anyone at all.

When OpenStack ceases development on a source code repository, OpenDev’s recommended retirement process is followed. This process replaces the repository’s source code with a prominent README message indicating its new situation, makes sure open changes for it are abandoned, and sets Gerrit to reject future change proposals for review. When projects choose to continue development for formerly-official OpenStack deliverables outside OpenStack governance, no corresponding process exists to clarify to users that OpenStack is no longer responsible for these repositories. This problem is further complicated by OpenDev’s use of Gitea and its automatic redirect feature. Simply renaming those projects to move them to a new Git prefix namespace leaves their old openstack URLs working for browsers and Git client operations so many existing users may never notice the transition.

The solution to this problem is to follow the repository retirement process in openstack any time a deliverable repository is removed from current governance, regardless of whether its authors intend to continue development on it outside governance. OpenDev allows multiple repositories to have the same base names across different namespaces, so this does not mean a project has to change its new name. It does however mean that the repository must be forked into the new namespace, leaving behind its Gerrit reviews and no redirection (the README file can certainly mention where to find continued development however). This forces existing consumers of the source code to take note of the change in governance, clarifying that no official OpenStack project team is responsible for it any longer.

Because this is a significant change in policy, it cannot easily be retroactively applied to old repositories which are no longer under OpenStack’s governance (but the damage this would mitigate for them is probably already done anyway). To provide ample warning for any existing projects considering exiting OpenStack in the near future, only removals after the conclusion of the Train development cycle will be subject to the new mandatory retirement policy. Removals prior to the end of the Train cycle can be renamed to new namespaces in OpenDev (with redirects) per our previous de facto process, if maintainers prefer.