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Global requirements for OpenStack projects

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Global Requirements for OpenStack Projects

Why Global Requirements?

During the Havana release cycle we kept running into coherency issues with trying to install all the OpenStack components into a single environment. The issue is that syncing of requirements.txt between projects was an eventually consistent problem. Some projects would update quickly, others would not. We'd never have the same versions specified as requirements between packages.

Because of the way that python package installation with pip works, this means that if you get lucky you'll end up with a working system. If you don't you can easily break all of OpenStack on a requirements update.

An example of how bad this had gotten is that python-keystoneclient would typically be installed / uninstalled 6 times during the course of a devstack gate run during Havana. If the last version of python keystoneclient happened to be incompatible with some piece of OpenStack a very hard to diagnose break occurs.

We also had an issue with projects adding dependencies of python libraries without thinking through the long term implications of those libraries. Is the library actively maintained? Is the library of a compatible license? Does the library duplicate the function of existing libraries that we already have in requirements? Is the library python 3 compatible? Is the library something that already exists in Linux Distros that we target (Ubuntu / Fedora). The answer to many of these questions was no.

Global requirements gives us a single place where we can evaluate these things so that we can make a global decision for OpenStack on the suitability of the library.


The mechanics of the solution are relatively simple. We maintain a central list of all the requirements (global-requirements.txt) that are allowed in OpenStack projects. This is enforced for both requirements.txt and test-requirements.txt.

Enforcement for Test Runs

When installing with devstack, we overwrite the requirements.txt and test-requirements.txt for all installed projects with the versions from global-requirements.txt. This ensures that we will get a deterministic set of requirements installed in the test system, and it won't be a guessing game based on the last piece of software to be installed.

Enforcement in Projects

All projects that have accepted the requirements contract (as listed in projects.txt) are expected to run a requirements compatibility job that ensures that they can not change any lines in global requirements to versions not in global-requirements.txt. It also ensures that those projects can't add a requirement that's not already in global-requirements.txt.

Automatic Sync of Accepted Requirements

If an updated requirement is proposed to OpenStack and accepted to global-requirements.txt, the system then also automatically pushes a review request for the new requirements definition to the projects that include it.

For instance: if a review is accepted to global-requirements.txt that increases the minimum version of python-keystoneclient, the system will submit patches to all the OpenStack projects that list python-keystoneclient as a requirement or test requirement to match this new version definition.

This is intended as a time saving device for projects, as they can fast approve requirements syncs and not have to manually worry about whether or not they are up to date with the global definition.


To run the requirements update manually, run:

python path/to/project

Entries in requirements.txt and test-requirements.txt will have their versions updated to match the entries listed here. Any entries in the target project which do not first exist here will be removed. No entries will be added.

Review Guidelines

There are a set of questions that every reviewer should ask on any proposed requirements change (and ones that proposers should pre answer to make things go smoother).

General Review Criteria

  • No specifications for library versions should contain version caps

    As a community we value early feedback of broken upstream requirements, so version caps should be avoided except when dealing with exceptionally unstable libraries.

    If a library is exceptionally unstable, we should also be considering whether we want to replace it over time with one that is stable, or to contribute to the upstream community to help stabilize it.

  • Libraries should contain a sensible known working minimum version

    Bare library names are bad. If it's unknown what a working minimum is, look at the output of pip freeze at the end of a successful devstack/tempest run and use that version. At least that's known to be working now.

  • Commit message should refer to consuming projects(s)

    Preferably, the comments should also identify which feature or blueprint requires the new specification. Ideally, changes should already be proposed, so that its use can be seen.

For new Requirements

  • Is the library actively maintained?

    We really want some indication that the library is something we can get support on if we or our users find a bug, and that we don't have to take over and fork the library.

    Pointers to recent activity upstream and a consistent release model are appreciated.

  • Is the library good code?

    It's expected, before just telling everyone to download arbitrary 3rd party code from the internet, that the submitter has taken a deep dive into the code to get a feel on whether this code seems solid enough to depend on. That includes ensuring the upstream code has some reasonable testing baked in.

  • Is the library python 3 compatible?

    OpenStack will eventually need to support python 3. At this point adding non python 3 compatible libraries should only be done under extreme need. It should be considered a very big exception.

  • Is the library license compatible?

    Preferably Apache2, BSD, MIT licensed. LGPL is ok. GPL or AGPL is verboten. Any other oddball license should be rejected.

  • Is the library already packaged in the distros we target (Ubuntu latest / Fedora latest)?

    By adding something to OpenStack global-requirements.txt we are basically demanding that Linux Distros package this for the next release of OpenStack. If they already have, great. If not, we should be cautious of adding it. :ref:`finding-distro-status`

  • Is the function of this library already covered by other libraries in global-requirements.txt?

    Everyone has their own pet libraries that they like to use, but we do not need three different request mocking libraries in OpenStack.

    If this new requirement is about replacing an existing library with one that's better suited for our needs, then we also need the transition plan to drop the old library in a reasonable amount of time.

For Upgrading Requirements Versions

  • Why is it impossible to use the current version definition?

    Everyone likes everyone else to use the latest version of their code. However, deployers really don't like to be constantly updating things. Unless it's actually impossible to use the minimum version specified in global-requirements.txt, it should not be changed.

    Leave that decision to deployers and distros.

Finding Distro Status

From the OpenStack distro support policy:

OpenStack will target its development efforts to latest Ubuntu/Fedora, but will not introduce any changes that would make it impossible to run on the latest Ubuntu LTS or latest RHEL.

As such we really need to know what the current state of packaging is on these platforms (and ideally Debian and SUSE as well).

For people unfamiliar with Linux Distro packaging you can use the following tools to search for packages:

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