“Turtles all the way down” is a jocular expression of the infinite regress problem in cosmology posed by the “unmoved mover” paradox.
The metaphor in the anecdote represents a popular notion of the theory that Earth is actually flat and is supported on the back of a World Turtle, which itself is propped up by a chain of larger and larger turtles.
Questioning what the final turtle might be standing on, the anecdote humorously concludes that it is “turtles all the way down”.
The origins of the turtle story are uncertain. It has been recorded since the mid 19th century, and may possibly date to the 18th. One recent version appears in Stephen Hawking’s 1988 book A Brief History of Time, which starts:
A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!” — Hawking, 1988
And that’s how I think of TripleO, an installer that uses OpenStack to spin up OpenStack. It’s OpenStack all the way down.