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CoreDNS Governance


The CoreDNS community adheres to the following principles:

  • Open: CoreDNS is open source, advertised on our website.
  • Welcoming and respectful: See Code of Conduct.
  • Transparent and accessible: Changes to the CoreDNS organization, CoreDNS code repositories, and CNCF related activities (e.g. level, involvement, etc) are done in public.
  • Merit: Ideas and contributions are accepted according to their technical merit and alignment with project objectives, scope, and design principles.

Project Steering Committee

The CoreDNS project has a project steering committee consisting of 5 members, with a maximum of 1 member from any single organization. The steering committee in CoreDNS has a final say in any decision concerning the CoreDNS project, with the exceptions of deciding steering committe membership, and changes to project governance. See Changes in Project Steeting Committee Membership and Changes in Project Governance.

Any decision made must not conflict with CNCF policy.

The maximum term length of each steering committee member is one year, with no term limit restriction.

Steering committee member are elected by CoreDNS maintainers.

The steering committee members are identified in the CODEOWNERS file.

Expectations from Maintainers

Every one carries water...

Making a community work requires input/effort from everyone. Maintainers should actively participate in Pull Request reviews. Maintainers are expected to respond to assigned Pull Requests in a reasonable time frame, either providing insights, or assign the Pull Requests to other maintainers.

Every Maintainer is listed in the CODEOWNERS file, with their Github handle.

A Maintainer should be a member of, although this is not a hard requirement.

Becoming a Maintainer

On successful merge of a significant pull request any current maintainer can reach to the author behind the pull request and ask them if they are willing to become a CoreDNS maintainer. The email of the new maintainer invitation should be cc'ed to as part of the process.

Changes in Maintainership

If a Maintainer feels she/he can not fulfill the "Expectations from Maintainers", they are free to step down.

The CoreDNS organization will never forcefully remove a current Maintainer, unless a maintainer fails to meet the principles of CoreDNS community, or adhere to the Code of Conduct.

Changes in Project Steering Committee Membership

Changes to the project steering committee membership are initiated by opening a separate GitHub PR updating the CODEOWNERS file for each steering committee member candidate.

Anyone from the CoreDNS community can vote on the PR with either +1 or -1.

Only the following votes are binding:

  1. Any maintainer that has been listed in the CODEOWNERS file before the PR is opened.
  2. Any maintainer from an organization may cast the vote for that organization. However, no organization should have more binding votes than 1/5 of the total number of maintainers defined in 1).

The PR should be opened no earlier than 6 weeks before the end of affected committee member's term. The PR should be kept open for no less than 4 weeks. The PR can only be merged after the end of the replaced committe member's term, with more +1 than -1 in the binding votes.

When there are conflicting PRs for changes to a project committee member, the PR with the most binding +1 votes is merged.

During a vote there may be several candidates running for multiple committee seat vacancies. Maintainers and community members should cast a single vote per vacancy (although this does not need to be enforced). At the end of the voting period, candidates with the most binding votes will fill the vacancies. In the event of a multi-way tie for a set of remaining vacancies, the candidates who have been maintainers longest have precedence.

A project steering committee member may volunteer to step down, ending their term early.

Changes in Project Governance

Changes in project governance ( can be initiated by opening a GitHub PR. The PR should only be opened no earlier than 6 weeks before the end of a comittee member's term. The PR should be kept open for no less than 4 weeks. The PR can only be merged following the same voting process as in Changes in Project Steeting Committee Membership.

Decision-making process

Decisions are build on consensus between maintainers. Proposals and ideas can either be submitted for agreement via a GitHub issue or PR, or by sending an email to

In general, we prefer that technical issues and maintainer membership are amicably worked out between the persons involved. If a dispute cannot be resolved independently, get a third-party maintainer (e.g. a mutual contact with some background on the issue, but not involved in the conflict) to intercede. If a dispute still cannot be resolved, the project steering committee has the final say to decide an issue. The project steering committee may reach this decision by consensus or else by a simple majority vote among committee members if necessary. The steering should committee endeavor to make this decision within a reasonable amount of time, not to extend longer than two weeks.

The decision-making process should be transparent to adhere to the CoreDNS Code of Conduct.

All proposals, ideas, and decisions by maintainers or the steering committee should either be part of a GitHub issue or PR, or be sent to

Github Project Administration

The coredns GitHub project maintainers team reflects the list of Maintainers.

Other Projects

The CoreDNS organization is open to receive new sub-projects under its umbrella. To accept a project into the CoreDNS organization, it has to meet the following criteria:

  • Must be licensed under the terms of the Apache License v2.0
  • Must be related to one or more scopes of the CoreDNS ecosystem:
    • CoreDNS project artifacts (website, deployments, CI, etc)
    • External plugins
    • Other DNS related processing
  • Must be supported by a Maintainer not associated or affiliated with the author(s) of the sub-projects

The submission process starts as a Pull Request or Issue on the coredns/coredns repository with the required information mentioned above. Once a project is accepted, it's considered a CNCF sub-project under the umbrella of CoreDNS.

New Plugins

The CoreDNS is open to receive new plugins as part of the CoreDNS repo. The submission process is the same as a Pull Request submission. Unlike small Pull Requests though, a new plugin submission should only be approved by a maintainer not associated or affiliated with the author(s) of the plugin.

CoreDNS and CNCF

CoreDNS is a CNCF project. As such, CoreDNS might be involved in CNCF (or other CNCF projects) related marketing, events, or activities. Any maintainer may participate in these activities, as long as she/he sends email to (or create a GitHub Pull Request) to call for participation from other maintainers. The Call for Participation should be kept open for no less than a week if time permits, or a reasonable time frame to allow maintainers to have a chance to volunteer.

Code of Conduct

The CoreDNS Code of Conduct is aligned with the CNCF Code of Conduct.


Sections of this documents have been borrowed from Fluentd and Envoy projects.