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CNCF Style Guide

1. Cloud native and open source

Online and in print media, the phrases "cloud native" and "open source" are written both with and without the hyphen. Merriam-Webster lists the phrase as "open-source," and the Chicago Manual of Style recommends a hyphen in noun + adjective compounds used as an adjective in front of a noun.

However, the Open Source Initiative, established in 1998, does not use a hyphen in "open source." Likewise, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation does not use a hyphen in "cloud native" in its name. And the IEEE Computer Society Style Guide, which is maintained by the 72-year-old Computer Society, lists "open source" as the preferred usage.

We believe that the cloud native aspect of a "cloud native technology" is so integral to its meaning that the entire phrase serves as a noun. The same can be said for an "open source project." Following this logic, "cloud native" and "open source" are not compound adjectives that need to be hyphenated, per the Chicago Manual of Style.

Thus, going forward, for all CNCF publications online and in print, we are establishing "open source" and "cloud native" as the proper style.

The words should be lowercase, except in organization names like the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and Open Source Initiative. Normal capitalization rules apply at the beginning of a sentence and in titles.

The CNCF Cloud Native Definition is available in multiple languages.

2. Kubernetes

Etymology: κυβερνήτης, Greek for helmsman or pilot. Also the root word for cybernetics and governor (which has an important meaning in control theory).

Abbreviation: K8s (sometimes k8s), a numeronym formed by replacing the middle of the word ("ubernete") with the number of letters it contains (8). K8s is preferred, as Kubernetes is a proper noun.

Unacceptable abbreviations: K8, which leaves off the "s," and K8S, which gets the capitalization wrong.

Pronunciation: koo-bur-NET-ees. Source: its co-creator Joe Beda.

Additional notes:

  1. Contrary to the pronunciation of Kubernetes, KubeCon is pronounced KYOOB-kon.
  2. The canonical pronunciation of kubectl was established in v1.9 as "cube-control".

3. Other CNCF Projects

Different CNCF-hosted projects have preferred capitalization (e.g., containerd, gRPC). Please see

4. Logos

Logos for all CNCF-hosted projects and programs are available at We prepare artwork in 2 formats (PNG & SVG), 3 layouts -- horizontal (also known as landscape format), stacked (which is closer to square), and icon (which does not include the name and is square), and 3 versions (color/black/white). So, that's at least 18 versions of most logos.

You can find stickers for all projects and t-shirts and hoodies for each CNCF graduated and incubating project at the CNCF store.

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