[OpenStack Foundation] Foundation Structure: An Alternative

Gil Yehuda gyehuda at yahoo-inc.com
Fri Mar 9 21:42:56 UTC 2012

Why not just create a marketing association if that's what you are really looking to have? 

Has anyone considered to run the technical part of the projects in some existing Open source foundation structure (that already provides legal protection, corporate independence, recruitment of developers, a well-understood management and governance process) like Apache (or one of the others), and then create a separate trade association (a 501(c)(6), which is what I assume you were planning to create anyway) for the marketing and promotion of the ecosystem partners around the project?  

Those companies who plan to make money from Open Stack could join the Open Stack trade association / foundation -- something that will promote the community, fund conferences and sponsorships, and improve the visibility of the many smaller commercial players in the space.  And those companies who simply seek to develop, enhance, and use the code -- as a purely open source project can do so focused on the technical project as managed in a familiar existing foundation. 

This way the marketing needs don't drive the technical governance / direction setting process.  Those who care about marketing, create the foundation, and those who care about code don't have to worry about inventing new foundations who's real goal is to be a marketing engine.  The resulting trade association should raise funds and work with the existing open source foundation to enhance their ability to promote their project.  (do I hear a "win-win"?)

As to Apache's lack of ability to take in new members who only care about one project -- I'm not sure if that's really a deal breaker here.  Open Stack is already more than one project.  And there are many Apache participants who are only focused on one or two of the many projects they manage.  That said, you don't have to go with Apache for my suggestion to have merit. Just have to decouple the marketing needs from the open source governance piece, and I think you'll have a much simpler problem to solve.  One that might sell better too, since it positioning itself with much more clarity about its purpose.

I'm hoping this helps. I'm not sure if this already came up, but if not, I hope you chew on this and discuss if this might be an option.

This is in reaction to ...
****** Joshua McKenty Wrote:
I believe the primary challenge with the Apache foundation is that it's not structured well to fund marketing or evangelism activities, nor is it designed to take in new members that are primarily interested in a single project. OpenStack is large enough to justify its own organization, and I don't think anyone objects to that foundation being "friendly" to commercial activities - that's part of why we're Apache2 licensed. We just need to balance the commercial mechanics with the community mechanics. [...], we all need to speak up.  


Gil Yehuda
Open Source guy at Yahoo!

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