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This is a Work in Progress, documenting approximately how we have been operating up to this point.

Principles

The Kubernetes community adheres to the following principles:

  • Open: Kubernetes is open source. See repository guidelines and CLA, below.
  • Welcoming and respectful: See Code of Conduct, below.
  • Transparent and accessible: Work and collaboration should be done in public. See SIG governance, below.
  • Merit: Ideas and contributions are accepted according to their technical merit and alignment with project objectives, scope, and design principles.

Code of Conduct

The Kubernetes community abides by the CNCF code of conduct. Here is an excerpt:

As contributors and maintainers of this project, and in the interest of fostering an open and welcoming community, we pledge to respect all people who contribute through reporting issues, posting feature requests, updating documentation, submitting pull requests or patches, and other activities.

As a member of the Kubernetes project, you represent the project and your fellow contributors. We value our community tremendously and we'd like to keep cultivating a friendly and collaborative environment for our contributors and users. We want everyone in the community to have positive experiences.

Community membership

See community membership

Community groups

The project has 4 main types of groups:

  1. Special Interest Groups, SIGs
  2. Subprojects
  3. Working Groups, WGs
  4. Committees

SIGs

The Kubernetes project is organized primarily into Special Interest Groups, or SIGs. Each SIG is comprised of members from multiple companies and organizations, with a common purpose of advancing the project with respect to a specific topic, such as Networking or Documentation. Our goal is to enable a distributed decision structure and code ownership, as well as providing focused forums for getting work done, making decisions, and onboarding new contributors. Every identifiable subpart of the project (e.g., github org, repository, subdirectory, API, test, issue, PR) is intended to be owned by some SIG.

Areas covered by SIGs may be vertically focused on particular components or functions, cross-cutting/horizontal, spanning many/all functional areas of the project, or in support of the project itself. Examples:

  • Vertical: Network, Storage, Node, Scheduling, Big Data
  • Horizontal: Scalability, Architecture
  • Project: Testing, Release, Docs, PM, Contributor Experience

SIGs must have at least one and ideally two SIG leads at any given time. SIG leads are intended to be organizers and facilitators, responsible for the operation of the SIG and for communication and coordination with the other SIGs, the Steering Committee, and the broader community.

Each SIG must have a charter that specifies its scope (topics, subsystems, code repos and directories), responsibilities, areas of authority, how members and roles of authority/leadership are selected/granted, how decisions are made, and how conflicts are resolved. A short template for intra-SIG governance has been developed in order to simplify SIG creation, and additional templates are being developed, but SIGs should be relatively free to customize or change how they operate, within some broad guidelines and constraints imposed by cross-SIG processes (e.g., the release process) and assets (e.g., the kubernetes repo).

A primary reason that SIGs exist is as forums for collaboration. Much work in a SIG should stay local within that SIG. However, SIGs must communicate in the open, ensure other SIGs and community members can find notes of meetings, discussions, designs, and decisions, and periodically communicate a high-level summary of the SIG's work to the community.

See sig governance for more details about current SIG operating mechanics, such as mailing lists, meeting times, etc.

Subprojects

Specific work efforts within SIGs are divided into subprojects. Every part of the Kubernetes code and documentation must be owned by some subproject. Some SIGs may have a single subproject, but many SIGs have multiple significant subprojects with distinct (though sometimes overlapping) sets of contributors and owners, who act as subproject’s technical leaders: responsible for vision and direction and overall design, choose/approve change proposal (KEP) approvers, field technical escalations, etc.

Example subprojects for a few SIGs:

  • SIG Network: pod networking (CNI, etc.), Service (incl. kube-proxy), Ingress, DNS, and Network policy
  • SIG Apps: workload APIs, Helm, Kompose, ...
  • SIG Cluster Lifecycle: kubeadm, kops, kubespray, minikube, ...

Subprojects for each SIG are documented in sigs.yaml.

Working Groups

We need community rallying points to facilitate discussions/work regarding topics that are short-lived or that span multiple SIGs. This is the purpose of Working Groups (WG). The intent is to make Working Groups relatively easy to create and to deprecate, once inactive.

To propose a new working group, first find a SIG to sponsor the group. Next, send a proposal to kubernetes-dev@googlegroups.com and also include any potentially interested SIGs. Wait for public comment. If there's enough interest, a new Working Group should be formed.

Create a new mailing list in the from of kubernetes-wg-group-name. Working groups typically have a Slack channel as well as regular meetings on zoom. It's encouraged to keep a clear record of all accomplishments that's publicly accessible.

Committees

Some topics, such as Security or Code of Conduct, require discretion. Whereas SIGs are voluntary groups which operate in the open and anyone can join, Committees do not have open membership and do not always operate in the open. The steering committee can form committees as needed, for bounded or unbounded duration. Membership of a committee is decided by the steering committee. Like a SIG, a committee has a charter and a lead, and will report to the steering committee periodically, and to the community as makes sense, given the charter.

Cross-project Communication and Coordination

While most work shouldn’t require expensive coordination with other SIGs, there will be efforts (features, refactoring, etc.) that cross SIG boundaries. In this case, it is expected that the SIGs coordinate with each other and come to mutually agreed solutions. In some cases, it may make sense to form a Working Group for joint work. Cross-SIG coordination will naturally require more time and implies a certain amount of overhead. This is intentional to encourage changes to be well encapsulated whenever possible.

On the other hand, several SIGs do have project-wide impact, for example Release, Testing, and API Machinery. Even those that do not may sometimes need to make changes or impose new processes or conventions that affect other SIGs. In these cases, project-wide communication processes will need to be followed. For example, proposals with project-wide impact will need to be announced more broadly, with the opportunity for members of other SIGs to provide feedback and guidance. However, the SIG that owns the area, according to its charter, will own the decision. In the case of extended debate or deadlock, decisions may be escalated to the Steering Committee, which is expected to be uncommon.

The exact processes and guidelines for such cross-project communication have yet to be formalized, but when in doubt, use kubernetes-dev@googlegroups.com and make an announcement at the community meeting.

Repository guidelines

All repositories under Kubernetes github orgs, such as kubernetes and kubernetes-incubator, should follow the procedures outlined in the incubator document. All code projects use the Apache License version 2.0. Documentation repositories should use the Creative Commons License version 4.0.

CLA

All contributors must sign the CNCF CLA, as described here.

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