This governance policy describes how an open source project can formally join the Foundation via the Project Proposal Process. It describes the Stages a project may be admitted under and what the criteria and expectations are for a given stage, as well as the acceptance criteria for a project to move from one stage to another. It also describes the Annual Review Process through which those changes will be evaluated and made.
Project progression - movement from one stage to another - allows projects to particpate at the level that is most appropriate for them given where they are in their lifecycle. Regardless of stage, all $FOUNDATION projects benefit from a deepened alignment with existing projects, and access to mentorship, support, and foundation resources such as the travel fund.
For more information about how your project can benefit from Foundation membership and services, please see TBD Document.
This proposal has been modified from the CNCF process documentation.
II. Project Proposal Process
This governance policy sets forth the proposal process for projects to be accepted into the $FOUNDATION. The process is the same for both existing projects which seek to move into the $FOUNDATION, and new projects to be formed within the $FOUNDATION.
Project Proposal Requirements
Projects must be proposed via GitHub. Project proposals submitted to the $FOUNDATION must provide the following information to the best of their ability:
- name of project
- project description (what it does, why it is valuable, origin and history)
- statement on alignment with $FOUNDATION charter mission
- link to current Code of Conduct
- sponsor from CPC, if identified (a sponsor helps mentor projects)
- project license
- source control (GitHub by default)
- issue tracker (GitHub by default)
- external dependencies (including licenses)
- release methodology and mechanics
- names of initial committers, if different from those submitting proposal
- briefly describe the project's leadership team and decision-making process
- preferred maturity level (see stages below)
- list of project's official communication channels (slack, irc, mailing lists)
- link to project's website
- links to social media accounts
- existing financial sponsorship
- infrastructure needs or requests
Project Acceptance Process
- Projects are required to present their proposal at a CPC meeting
- The CPC may ask for changes to bring the project into better alignment with the $FOUNDATION (adding a governance document to a repository or adopting a more stringent Code of Conduct, for example).
- The project will need to make these changes in order to progress further.
- Projects get accepted via a 2/3 supermajority vote of the CPC.
- The proposal document will be finalized as a project charter. This charter document must be included in the project's main repository.
- The CPC will determine the appropriate initial stage for the project. The project can apply for a different stage via the review process.
III. Stages - Definitions & Expectations
Every $FOUNDATION project has an associated maturity level. Proposed $FOUNDATION projects should state their preferred maturity level. Projects of all maturities have access to $FOUNDATION resources.
All $FOUNDATION projects may attend CPC meetings and contribute work regardless of their stage.
note: all stage names are tbd pending outcome of #44
At Large Projects (formerly 'Sandbox')
At Large projects are projects which the CPC believes are, or have the potential to be, important to the ecosystem of Top-Level Projects or the JS ecosystem as a whole. They may be early-stage projects just getting started, or they may be long-established projects with minimal resource needs. The At Large stage provides a beneficial, neutral home for these projects in order to foster collaborative development and provide a path to deeper alignment with other $FOUNDATION projects via the graduation process.
- New projects that are designed to extend one or more $FOUNDATION projects with functionality or interoperability libraries.
- Independent projects that fit the $FOUNDATION mission and provide potential for a novel approach to existing functional areas (or are an attempt to meet an unfulfilled need).
- Projects commissioned or sanctioned by the $FOUNDATION.
- Any project that realistically intends to join the $FOUNDATION Incubation or Top Level Stages in the future and wishes to lay the foundations for that transition.
End users should evaluate At Large projects with care, as this stage does not set requirements for community size, governance, or production readiness. At Large projects will receive minimal marketing support from the $FOUNDATION. Projects will be reviewed on an annual basis; they may also request a status review by submitting a report to the CPC.
To be considered for the At Large Stage, the project must meet the following requirements:
- 2 CPC sponsors to champion the project & provide mentorship as needed
- A presentation to at the meeting of the CPC
- Adherence to the $FOUNDATION IP Policy
- Upon acceptance, At Large projects must list their status prominently on website/readme
Growth Stage (formerly 'Incubating')
The Growth Stage is for projects that are interested in reaching the Impact Stage, and have identified a growth plan for doing so. Growth Stage projects will receive mentorship from the CPC and are expected to actively develop their community of contributors, governance, project documentation, and other variables identified in the growth plan that factor in to broad success and adoption.
In order to support their active development, projects in the Growth stage have a higher level of access to marketing and other resources, which will be agreed upon and reviewed on a yearly basis. A project's progress toward its growth plan goals will be reviewed on a yearly basis, and the CPC may ask the project to move to the At Large stage if progress on the plan drops off or stalls.
- Projects that are on their way or very likely to become Top Level Projects.
- Projects that have developed new growth targets or other community metrics for success.
- Projects that are looking to create a lifecycle plan (maintainership succession, contributor programs, version planning, etc.)
- Projects that need more active support from the Foundation in the form of marketing or CPC mentorship in order to reach their goals.
Projects in the Growth Stage are generally expected to move out of the Growth stage within two years. Depending on their growth plans, projects may cycle through At Large, Growth, or Impact stage as needed.
To be considered for Growth Stage, the project must meet the At Large requirements as well as the following:
- Development of a growth plan, to be done in conjunction with their project mentor(s) at the CPC.
- Document that it is being used successfully in production by at least two independent end users which, in the CPC’s judgement, are of adequate quality and scope.
- Demonstrate a substantial ongoing flow of commits and merged contributions.
- Demonstrate that the current level of community participation is sufficient to meet the goals outlined in the growth plan.
- Since these metrics can vary significantly depending on the type, scope and size of a project, the CPC has final judgement over the level of activity that is adequate to meet these criteria.
- Receive a two-thirds supermajority vote of the CPC to move to Growth Stage.
Impact Stage (formerly 'Top-Level')
The Impact Stage is for projects that have reached their growth goals and are now on a sustaining cycle of development, maintainence, and long-term support. Impact Stage projects are used commonly in enterprise production environments and have large, well-established project communities.
- Projects that have publicly documented release cycles and plans for LTS.
- Projects that have themselves become platforms for other projects.
- Projects that are able to attract a healthy number of committers on the basis of its production usefulness (not simply 'developer popularity').
- Projects that have several, high-profile or well known end-user implementations.
Impact Stage projects are expected to participate actively in CPC proceedings, and as such have a binding vote on CPC matters requiring a formal vote, such as the election of a CPC Director. They receive ongoing financial and marketing support from the Foundation, and are expected to cross promote the foundation along with their activities.
To graduate from At Large or Growth status, or for a new project to join as an Impact project, a project must meet the Growth stage criteria plus:
- Have a defined governing body of at least 5 or more members (owners and core maintainers), of which no more than 1/3 is affiliated with the same employer. In the case there are 5 governing members, 2 may be from the same employer.
- Have a documented and publicly accessible description of the project's governance, decision-making, and release processes.
- Have a healthy number of committers from at least two organizations. A committer is defined as someone with the commit bit; i.e., someone who can accept contributions to some or all of the project.
- Adopt the $FOUNDATION Code of Conduct.
- Explicitly define a project governance and committer process. This is preferably laid out in a GOVERNANCE.md file and references a CONTRIBUTING.md and OWNERS.md file showing the current and emeritus committers.
- Have a public list of project adopters for at least the primary repo (e.g., ADOPTERS.md or logos on the project website).
- Other metrics as defined by the applying Project during the application process in cooperation with the CPC.
- Receive a supermajority vote from the CPC to move to Impact stage. Projects can move directly from At Large to Impact, if they can demonstrate sufficient maturity and have met all requirements.
Emeritus projects are projects which the maintainers feel have reached or are nearing end-of-life. Emeritus projects have contributed to the ecosystem, but are not necessarily recommended for modern development as there may be more actively maintained choices. The $FOUNDATION appreciates the contributions of these projects and their communities, and the role they have played in moving the ecosystem forward.
- Projects that are "complete" by the maintainers' standards.
- Projects that do not plan to release major versions in the future.
Projects in this stage are not in active development. Their maintainers may infrequently monitor their repositories, and may only push updates to address security issues, if at all. Emeritus projects should clearly state their status and what any user or contributor should expect in terms of response or support. If there is an alternative project the maintainers recommend, it should be listed as well. The foundation will continue to hold the IP and any trademarks and domains, but the project does not draw on foundation resources.
Projects may be granted Emeritus status via a 2/3 vote from the CPC and with approval from project ownership. In cases where there is a lack of project ownership, only a 2/3 vote from the CPC is required.
IV. Annual Review Process
The CPC shall develop an annual review process to determine whether projects are in the stage that accurately reflects their needs and goals.