[OpenStack Foundation] [Openstack] Foundation Structure: An Alternative

Mark McLoughlin markmc at redhat.com
Fri Mar 16 14:31:32 UTC 2012

Hi Jim,

On Fri, 2012-03-16 at 09:10 -0400, Jim Jagielski wrote:

> Just an overriding desire, it seems, to favor big-name players, with
> deep pockets, over a real community; the desire to start *big*, and
> get bigger; the desire to see how much money can be pulled in, and not
> so much where that money goes or how it ultimately helps the
> *community* instead of the *foundation*.
> OpenStack will turn into a business consortium made up of large,
> well-financed companies, who will determine the course and direction
> of the so-called "open source projects" and unless you're able to pay
> up, smaller players will simply have to take what they are given. And
> the only personal incentive developers will have to work on the code
> will be their bonuses and payments.
> Open source communities are built around passion for the code, not
> passion for the foundation (or its income).

I admit to sharing your uneasiness about the emphasis of the foundation
on the corporate players, fund-raising and the lack of emphasis on
members of the community as individuals with a shared passion for the

However, there's a bunch of detail that greatly mitigates those

  - The OpenStack Foundation is more akin to the Linux Foundation than
    e.g. the Apache Foundation. It's about bringing the corporate
    players together and raising funds to "promote and protect" the

  - Continuing the Linux Foundation analogy, there is a strong desire 
    for the project itself to have almost as much independence from the 
    Foundation as the Linux project has from the Linux Foundation. This 
    is what the "empower" part of the Foundation's mission is about.

    I say *almost* because, unlike Linux, the Foundation holds the 
    trademark and the Foundation Board has some ability to control the 
    project by e.g. defining the scope of the project to limit the 
    Technical Board's ability to approve new projects. Unlike Linux, 
    the project governance is ultimately subordinate to the Foundation

  - As Thierry says, the Technical Board should be fully elected and 
    all members of that board will be expected to represent the project 
    rather than their employer.

My strawman foundation structure[1] was all about making the corporate
representation subordinate to the meritocratic project governance. I
think the concern with taking that approach is that it will limit the
amount of cash that can be raised to help the project and continue its
marketing/evangelism success to date.

If we go with the approach of keeping project and the corporate
consortium separated, I'd love to see us go the whole hog and build the
kind of separation that Linux has. One way of doing that would be to
create two organizations - the OpenStack Consortium and the OpenStack
Foundation. The latter would govern the project using a meritocratic
structure and hold the trademark. The former would bring the corporate
players together, advise the project on strategy, evangelise the
project, provide resources to the project and protect the trademark.
There would be a symbiotic relationship between the two organizations.

Yet another alternative would be to create the OpenStack Consortium,
move the project to an existing Foundation and build that same symbiotic
relationship between the two organizations.


[1] - http://wiki.openstack.org/StrawmanFoundationStructur

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