[dpdk-dev] Project Governance and Linux Foundation

Dave Neary dneary at redhat.com
Fri Oct 21 16:00:52 CEST 2016

Hi all,

We had a great session yesterday on this topic, I took some notes - does
anyone who was there have any corrections, or anyone who was not have
any comments?


Tim led the discussion, and started by outlining that he saw there were
3 different questions which we should treat independently:

1. Is there a benefit to moving DPDK to a foundation?
2. If the answer is yes: there are two options currently proposed - a
low overhead, independent project under the Linux Foundation (LF Lite),
or joining fd.io as a sub-project. Which one of these is preferable, or
is there another option to consider?
3. Are there any related changes we should consider in technical
infrastructure and project governance?

I outlined some advantages I see to the Linux Foundation:
* Pool resources for events
* Provides some legal foresight
* LF standing behind a project gives some companies assurances that
there is good, open technical governance and a level playing field for

Stephen Hemminger asked if there was a sponsorship requirement. Tim
responded that it is possible to do what Open vSwitch has done, and have
no membership funding requirement. What that means is that any funds the
project community wants to spend needs to be budgeted ad hoc.

A number of others (Shreyansh Jain, Matt Spencer) said they would like
to see a formal model for non-technical engagement, legal protection for
patent and copyright, and more clarity on the technical governance.

Vincent Jardin said that whatever happens, it is vital that DPDK remain
an open, community-run project.

A number of people expressed interest in the change, but could not
commit to funding.

Jerome Tollet said that he felt it was important to have better test and
CI infrastructure, and that these cost money. He proposed that since
fd.io already has infrastructure and a lab, that this would be an
affordable option for doing this.

Vincent and Thomas Monjalon suggested that distributed testing was a
better option - creating an opportunity for different people to send
test results to a central gathering point. Thomas mentioned that
Patchwork has a feature which allows aggregation of test results for
specific patches now.

Tim asked if there was agreement on a move, and there was no opposition.
Vincent suggested opening a call for proposals to have a wider range of
choices than LF Lite or fd.io. Jim St. Leger said we have already had a
group who evaluated options and made a proposal, and we should not re-do
the process.

Jerome recommended that we focus on requirements and criteria for
determining the choice: timing, governance requirements, budget, and
hardware/infrastructure requirements. Keith Wiles suggested that there
was a need for some budgetary requirement to show commitment of
participating companies.

When asked about transferring the ownership of the domain name to Linux
Foundation, Vincent reiterated that his main concern was keeping the
project open, and that he did not anticipate that transferring the
domain ownership would be an issue.

Moving on to question 2:

I said that Red Hat is happy with the technical operation of the
project, and we don't want to see the community disrupted with toolset
changes - and it's possible to work with projects like fd.io, OVS, and
OPNFV to do testing of DPDK.

Representatives from Brocade, Cavium, and Linaro all voiced a preference
for a stand-alone lightweight project - one concern voiced was that
there is a potential perception issue with fd.io too.

Maciek K and Jerome encouraged everyone not to underestimate the
difficulty in setting up good CI and testing processes.

To close out the meeting, Tim summarised the consensus decisions:

* We agreed to move to a foundation
* A group will work on re-doing a budget proposal with the Linux
Foundation - target of 4 weeks to come up with a budget proposal for the
* There is a preference for an independent project rather than being a

Budget group:
* Matt Spencer, ARM
* Jerome Tollet, Cisco
* Ed Warnicke, Cisco
* Shreyansh Jain, NXP
* Dave Neary, Red Hat
* Jan Blunk, Brocade
* Vincent Jardin, 6WIND
* Thomas Monjalon, 6WIND
* Tim O'Driscoll, Intel
* Francois Ozog, Linaro
* John Bromhead (sp?), Cavium

On 10/10/2016 09:33 AM, O'Driscoll, Tim wrote:
> This email is being sent on behalf of: Cavium, Cisco, Intel, NXP & Red Hat.
> Since its creation as an open source project in 2013, DPDK has grown significantly. The number of DPDK users, contributors, commercial products that use DPDK and open source projects that depend on it have all increased consistently over that time. DPDK is now a key ingredient in networking and NFV, and we need to ensure that the project structure and governance are appropriate for such a critical project, and that they facilitate the project's continued growth.
> For over a year now we've been discussing moving DPDK to the Linux Foundation. We believe it's now time to conclude that discussion and make the move. The benefits of doing this would include:
> - The infrastructure for a project like DPDK should not be owned and controlled by any single company.
> - Remove any remaining perception that DPDK is not truly open.
> - Allow the project to avail of the infrastructure and services provided by the Linux Foundation. These include things like: Ability to host infrastructure for integration and testing (the FD.io CSIT lab is an example of this - see https://wiki.fd.io/view/CSIT/CSIT_LF_testbed); Support for legal issues including trademarks and branding, and the ability to sign agreements on behalf of the project; Ability to pool resources for events and brand promotion; Safe haven for community IP resources.
> We don't propose to debate the details here. Instead, an open discussion session on DPDK Project Growth has been included in the agenda for the DPDK Summit Userspace 2016 event in Dublin. We propose using that session to agree that the DPDK project will move to the Linux Foundation, and then to move on to discussing the specifics. Things that we'll need to consider include:
> - Whether DPDK moves to the Linux Foundation as an independent project or as part of a larger project like FD.io.
> - Creation of a project charter similar to those created for FD.io (https://fd.io/governance/technical-community-charter) and Open vSwitch (see http://openvswitch.org/pipermail/discuss/attachments/20160619/5a2df53e/attachment-0001.pdf).
> - Agreement on budget, membership levels etc. A draft budget was created by the LF during previous discussions (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-3686Xb_jf4FtxdX8Mus9UwIxUb2vI_ppmJV5GnXcLg/edit#gid=302618256), but it is possible to adopt an even more lightweight model.
> We could look at alternatives to the Linux Foundation, but a) we've been talking to the LF for over a year now, and b) the preponderance of networking projects in LF, like ODL, FD.io, and OVS, makes it a natural destination for DPDK.
> As highlighted in previous discussions on this topic, it's important to stress that the intent is not to make significant changes to the technical governance and decision making of the project. The project has a strong set of maintainers and a Technical Board in place already. What's required is to supplement that with an open governance structure taking advantage of the services offered by the Linux Foundation.
> The purpose of this email is to outline what we want to achieve during that discussion session in Dublin, and to allow people to consider the issue and prepare in advance. If people want to comment via email on the mailing list, that's obviously fine, but we believe that an open and frank discussion when people meet in person in Dublin is the best way to progress this.
> For reference, below is a brief history of the previous discussions on this topic:
> September 2015:
> - A DPDK community call was held to discuss project growth and possible improvements. This was the first public discussion on possible governance changes. The agreed next step was to discuss this in more detail at the 2015 DPDK Summit Userspace event Dublin. Minutes of the call are at: http://dpdk.org/ml/archives/dev/2015-September/024120.html.
> October 2015:
> - An open discussion session on project governance was held at the 2015 DPDK Summit Userspace event. For technical governance, we agreed to investigate creating a technical steering committee. For non-technical governance (including things like event planning, legal and trademark issues, hosting of the website etc.), we agreed to work with the Linux Foundation on a proposal for a lightweight governance model for DPDK. Minutes of the discussion are at: http://dpdk.org/ml/archives/dev/2015-October/024825.html.
> - The proposal for a technical steering committee was subsequently discussed on the mailing list (http://dpdk.org/ml/archives/dev/2015-October/026598.html) and agreed, leading to the creation of the DPDK Technical Board (http://dpdk.org/dev#board).
> December 2015:
> - A community call was held to discuss migration to the Linux Foundation. Mike Dolan (VP of Strategic Programs at The Linux Foundation) gave an overview of the LF and the services they can provide. We agreed to form a small sub-team (Dave Neary, Thomas Monjalon, Stephen Hemminger, Tim O'Driscoll) to work with the LF on a more detailed proposal. Minutes of the call are at: http://dpdk.org/ml/archives/dev/2015-December/030532.html.
> February 2016:
> - A community call was held to discuss the LF budget proposal (see https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-3686Xb_jf4FtxdX8Mus9UwIxUb2vI_ppmJV5GnXcLg/edit#gid=302618256). We agreed to discuss this further on the dev mailing list due to limited attendance on the call. Minutes of the call are at: http://dpdk.org/ml/archives/dev/2016-February/032720.html.
> - A request was made on the dev and announce mailing lists too determine who supported the proposal to move to the Linux Foundation (http://dpdk.org/ml/archives/dev/2016-February/033192.html). There was public support from Intel (http://dpdk.org/ml/archives/dev/2016-February/033297.html) and Brocade (http://dpdk.org/ml/archives/dev/2016-February/033359.html). 6WIND requested postponing the move for a few months (http://dpdk.org/ml/archives/dev/2016-February/033299.html).
> - The Fast Data (FD.io) project was established under the Linux Foundation (https://fd.io/news/announcement/2016/02/linux-foundation-forms-open-source-effort-advance-io-services).
> June 2016:
> - The Open vSwitch project proposed moving to the Linux Foundation (http://openvswitch.org/pipermail/discuss/2016-June/021761.html).
> August 2016:
> - The Open vSwitch project moved to the Linux Foundation (https://www.linuxfoundation.org/announcements/open-vswitch-joins-linux-foundation-open-networking-ecosystem).

Dave Neary - NFV/SDN Community Strategy
Open Source and Standards, Red Hat - http://community.redhat.com
Ph: +1-978-399-2182 / Cell: +1-978-799-3338

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