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Kubernetes Repository Guidelines

This document attempts to outline a structure for creating and associating GitHub repositories with the Kubernetes project. It also describes how and when repositories are removed.

The document presents a tiered system of repositories with increasingly strict requirements in an attempt to provide the right level of oversight and flexibility for a variety of different projects.

Requests for creating, transferring, modifying, or archiving repositories can be made by opening a request against the kubernetes/org repo.

Associated Repositories

Associated repositories conform to the Kubernetes community standards for a repository, but otherwise have no restrictions. Associated repositories exist solely for the purpose of making it easier for the Kubernetes community to work together. There is no implication of support or endorsement of any kind by the Kubernetes project, the goals are purely logistical.


To facilitate contributions and collaboration from the broader Kubernetes community. Contributions to random projects with random CLAs (or DCOs) can be logistically difficult, so associated repositories should be easier.


  • Must adopt the Kubernetes Code of Conduct statement in their repo.
  • All code projects use the Apache License version 2.0. Documentation repositories must use the Creative Commons License version 4.0.
  • Must adopt the CNCF CLA bot automation for pull requests.

SIG repositories

SIG repositories serve as temporary homes for SIG-sponsored experimental projects or prototypes of new core functionality, or as permanent homes for SIG-specific projects and tools.


To provide a place for SIGs to collaborate on projects endorsed by and actively worked on by members of the SIG. SIGs should be able to approve and create new repositories for SIG-sponsored projects without requiring higher level approval from a central body (e.g. steering committee or sig-architecture)

Rules for new repositories

  • For now all repos will live in\<project-name\>.
  • Must contain the topic for the sponsoring SIG - e.g. k8s-sig-api-machinery. (Added through the Manage topics link on the repo page.)
  • Must adopt the Kubernetes Code of Conduct
  • All code projects use the Apache License version 2.0. Documentation repositories must use the Creative Commons License version 4.0.
  • Must adopt the CNCF CLA bot, merge bot and Kubernetes PR commands/bots.
  • All OWNERS of the project must also be active SIG members.
  • SIG membership must vote using lazy consensus to create a new repository
  • SIG must already have identified all of their existing subprojects and code, with valid OWNERS files, in sigs.yaml

Rules for donated repositories

The kubernetes-sigs organization is primarily intended to house net-new projects originally created in that organization. However, projects that a SIG adopts may also be donated.

In addition to the requirements for new repositories, donated repositories must demonstrate that:

  • All contributors must have signed the CNCF Individual CLA or CNCF Corporate CLA
  • If (a) contributor(s) have not signed the CLA and could not be reached, a NOTICE file should be added referencing section 7 of the CLA with a list of the developers who could not be reached
  • Licenses of dependencies are acceptable; project owners can ping @caniszczyk for review of third party deps
  • Boilerplate text across all files should attribute copyright as follows: "Copyright <Project Authors>" if no CLA was in place prior to donation
  • Additions of the standard Kubernetes header to code created by the contributors can occur post-transfer, but should ideally occur shortly thereafter.

Note that copyright notices should only be modified or removed by the people or organizations named in the notice. See the FAQ below for more information regarding copyrights and copyright notices.

Core Repositories

Core repositories are considered core components of Kubernetes. They are utilities, tools, applications, or libraries that are expected to be present in every or nearly every Kubernetes cluster, such as components and tools included in official Kubernetes releases. Additionally, the website, machinery, and other project-wide infrastructure will remain in the kubernetes github organization.


Create a broader base of repositories than the existing gh/kubernetes/kubernetes so that the project can scale. Present expectations about the centrality and importance of the repository in the Kubernetes ecosystem. Carries the endorsement of the Kubernetes community.


  • Must live under<project-name>
  • Must adopt the Kubernetes Code of Conduct
  • All code projects use the Apache Licence version 2.0. Documentation repositories must use the Creative Commons License version 4.0.
  • Must adopt the CNCF CLA bot
  • Must adopt all Kubernetes automation (e.g. /lgtm, etc)
  • All OWNERS must be members of standing as defined by ability to vote in Kubernetes steering committee elections. in the Kubernetes community
  • Repository must be approved by SIG-Architecture

Creating Repositories

Non-staging repositories

For non-staging repositories, suggestions on how to create a new repository are described below.

  • Ensure that the repo creation request has appropriate approvals as per the rules mentioned above.
  • Using the organization and repository name mentioned in the repo creation request, create a new repo with default GitHub settings.
  • Set the description as per the repo creation request.
  • Clone the newly created repo locally.
  • Copy the latest contents of kubernetes-template-project and create an initial commit with the message Initial commit from the kubernetes-template-project.
  • Make the following changes in the next commit:
    • If the request references a GitHub team to be listed in the OWNERS file, update the OWNERS_ALIASES file to remove the steering-committee alias and add a new alias for the team with members populated as per the GitHub team. If the request does not reference a GitHub team, remove the OWNERS_ALIASES file.
    • Update the OWNERS file as per the request. If the repo is a SIG Repository, add a labels entry for the SIG that the repo belongs to.
    • Update the SECURITY_CONTACTS file as per the request. Note that aliases cannot be used in this case so expand the GitHub team, if specified.
    • Create a new commit with the message Update OWNERS, OWNERS_ALIASES and SECURITY_CONTACTS.
  • Push the new commits directly to the master branch.
  • If the repo is a SIG Repository, add a new topic of the form k8s-sig-<sig-name-repo-belongs-to> using the Manage Topics option.
  • Create a PR against kubernetes/org to add teams as per the team guidance for alloting repo admin and write access.
  • Once the above PR is merged and the postsubmit has run, the new GitHub teams will be created. In the Collaborators and Teams section in Settings, assign the new teams appropriate access to the repo.
  • Ask the author of the repo creation request to add the repo as a part of a subproject in sigs.yaml.

Staging Repositories

If the repository is a staging repository, there are some deviations from the above procedure:

Removing Repositories

As important as it is to add new repositories, it is equally important to prune old repositories that are no longer relevant or useful.

It is in the best interests of everyone involved in the Kubernetes community that our various projects and repositories are active and healthy. This ensures that repositories are kept up to date with the latest Kubernetes wide processes, it ensures a rapid response to potential required fixes (e.g. critical security problems) and (most importantly) it ensures that contributors and users receive quick feedback on their issues and contributions.

Grounds for removal

SIG repositories and core repositories may be removed from the project if they are deemed inactive. Inactive repositories are those that meet any of the following criteria:

  • There are no longer any active maintainers for the project and no replacements can be found.
  • All PRs or Issues have gone un-addressed for longer than six months.
  • There have been no new commits or other changes in more than a year.
  • The contents have been folded into another actively maintained project.

Associated repositories are much more loosely associated with the Kubernetes project and are generally not subject to removal, except under exceptional circumstances (e.g. a code of conduct violation).

Procedure for removal

When a repository has been deemed eligible for removal, we take the following steps:

  • Ownership of the repo is transferred to the kubernetes-retired GitHub organization
  • The repo description is edited to start with the phrase "[EOL]"
  • All open issues and PRs are closed
  • All external collaborators are removed
  • All webhooks, apps, integrations or services are removed
  • GitHub Pages are disabled
  • The repo is marked as archived using GitHub's archive feature
  • Remove all teams associated with the repo
  • Remove the repo from sigs.yaml
  • The removal is announced on the kubernetes-dev mailing list and community meeting

This maintains the complete record of issues, PRs and other contributions, leaves the repository read-only, and makes it clear that the repository should be considered retired and unmaintained.

In case a repository has only the initial commits adding template files and no additional activity, it can be completely deleted.


My project is currently in kubernetes-incubator, what is going to happen to it?

Nothing. We’ll grandfather existing projects and they can stay in the incubator org for as long as they want to. We expect/hope that most projects will either move out to ecosystem, or into SIG or Core repositories following the same approval process described below.

My project wants to graduate from incubator, how can it do that?

Either approval from a SIG to graduate to a SIG repository, or approval from SIG-Architecture to graduate into the core repository.

My incubator project wants to go GA, how can it do that?

For now, the project determines if and when it is GA. For the future, we may define a cross Kubernetes notion of GA for core and sig repositories, but that’s not in this proposal.

My project is currently in core, but doesn’t seem to fit these guidelines, what’s going to happen?

For now, nothing. Eventually, we may redistribute projects, but for now the goal is to adapt the process going forward, not re-legislate past decisions.

I’m starting a new project, what should I do?

Is this a SIG-sponsored project? If so, convince some SIG to host it, take it to the SIG mailing list, meeting and get consensus, then the SIG can create a repo for you in the SIG organization.

Is this a small-group or personal project? If so, create a repository wherever you’d like, and make it an associated project.

We suggest starting with the kubernetes-template-project to ensure you have the correct code of conduct, license, etc.

Much of the things needed (e.g. CLA Bot integration) is missing to support associated projects. Many things seem vague. Help!

True, we need to improve these things. For now, do the best you can to conform to the spirit of the proposal (e.g. post the code of conduct, etc)

When I donate my project, am I transferring my copyrights?

No. All contributors retain ownership of their copyrights in the code they donate. Instead, they are granting a license to the project (that's the 'L' in 'CLA').

For consistency and efficiency in complying with notice requirements, code that is donated to a Kubernetes repo should use the standard header referencing "The Kubernetes Authors". That doesn't mean you are transferring your copyright. Instead, it's a general reference to the fact that the copyrights remain owned by the authors of Kubernetes.

Note that you should never modify or remove a third party's copyright notice if you are not authorized by them to do so.

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