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Proposal: Cilium as an Incubation project #637

merged 1 commit into from Oct 13, 2021


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@tgraf tgraf commented Apr 12, 2021

Hello TOC and CNCF community 馃憢

We are proposing Cilium to become a CNCF project at Incubation level.

What is Cilium?

Cilium is an open source project for providing and transparently securing network connectivity, and loadbalancing between application workloads such as application containers or processes. Cilium operates at Layer 3/4 to provide traditional networking and security services as well as Layer 7 to protect and secure use of modern application protocols such as HTTP, gRPC and Kafka. Cilium implements the Container Networking Interface (CNI) and integrates directly with Kubernetes.

A new Linux kernel technology called eBPF is at the foundation of Cilium. It supports dynamic insertion of eBPF bytecode into the Linux kernel at various integration points such as: network IO, application sockets, and tracepoints to implement security, networking and visibility logic. eBPF is highly efficient and flexible. (To learn more about eBPF, visit

Why we chose the CNCF?

Moving an already big open-source project into a foundation is not a simple decision. We have grown organically to a sizable community of 6K slack users, 7.9K GitHub stars, well beyond 200 direct code contributors, maintainers from 8 different companies, and a long list of large-scale production users.

When we started the project, we all agreed that we would wait with any foundation discussion until users would urge us to have the discussion with a justification that makes sense for the project. In the last couple of months, this has happened. The list of users approaching us and requesting to donate Cilium to a foundation has skyrocketed. As we dug deeper into the motivation for the ask, we learned that everyone agrees that the governance and development models are already fully open and following open-source best practices. However, the final piece of commitment to this model is the donation to an independent foundation. For many users, the donation is the last piece of insurance required before committing to large projects built on Cilium and resolves a variety of risks related to depending on the agenda of any particular single vendor. This motivation makes sense for us as a team. We understand and share it.

We (the Cilium team) believe the CNCF is a great fit for Cilium as the mission of the CNCF the goals of the Cilium open-source project are extremely well aligned. The core focus of Cilium is to provide networking and security for cloud-native environments. Logically, we have integrated deeply with projects like Kubernetes, etcd, Prometheus, and Envoy.

With 鉂わ笍, the Cilium Team

See markdown file included in commit for details on proposal.

Signed-off-by: Thomas Graf <>
@tgraf tgraf changed the title Propose Cilium as an Incubation project Proposal: Cilium as an Incubation project Apr 12, 2021
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FYI: @cncf/toc, I believe @justincormack has volunteered to be TOC sponsor

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Yes, I have agreed to sponsor. I will also liaise with SIG Network cc @leecalcote

@caniszczyk caniszczyk added this to Needs TOC Triage in Incubation Projects Backlog Apr 13, 2021
@amye amye moved this from Needs TOC Triage to Needs SIG Review & Recommendation in Incubation Projects Backlog Apr 23, 2021
@amye amye moved this from Needs TAG Review & Recommendation to In Due Diligence in Incubation Projects Backlog Jul 15, 2021
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justincormack commented Aug 10, 2021

DD summary document is here

I am opening the two week public comment period now.

@amye amye moved this from In Due Diligence to In Public Comment Period in Incubation Projects Backlog Aug 11, 2021
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...not now the eBPF Foundation? (emphasis mine):

The eBPF Foundation will expand the significant level of contributions being made to extend the powerful capabilities of eBPF and grow beyond Linux. It will be the home for open source eBPF projects and technologies and nurture the community through a variety of activities, including summits and other collaboration events in order to further drive the growth and adoption of the eBPF ecosystem.

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tgraf commented Aug 14, 2021

@craigbox We'll stick with the CNCF 馃槃. Given the cloud native focus of Cilium, CNCF is the ideal home for Cilium. The eBPF foundation has been created to facilitate the eBPF technology more broadly, in particular the kernel runtimes, the libraries, and other toolkit projects.

@amye amye moved this from In Public Comment Period to In TOC Vote in Incubation Projects Backlog Aug 24, 2021
@amye amye merged commit b5b82ab into cncf:main Oct 13, 2021
@amye amye moved this from In TOC Vote to Done in Incubation Projects Backlog Oct 14, 2021
@amye amye removed this from Done in Incubation Projects Backlog Jan 11, 2022
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5 participants