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Governance Model

Governance of the ONF-hosted projects is intended to foster a technical meritocracy within the context of stewardship by the Technical Steering Team (TST) and the ONF Board of Directors. ONF is a nonprofit organization. 


The goals of ONF project governance are to:

  • Provide an environment that thrives on technical meritocracy. Merit is based on technical contribution, not on financial contribution.

  • Have strong technical vision and shepherding. This ensures architectural integrity of the codebase.
  • Provide a framework for teams and projects – how they are started, how they are managed, how members are elected, how conflicts are resolved, how they are disbanded when no longer needed.

  • Be clear on how project software evolves – how code is added to (or removed from) the project.

  • Be clear on how decisions are made and conflicts resolved in the community.

  • Make it easy for community members to participate.

  • Avoid bureaucracy.

  • Create a great codebase.


The principles of ONF project governance are in line with these community values:

  • Serve our Customers.

  • Practice true Meritocracy.

  • Operate with Transparency.

  • Strive for Quality, consistently.

  • Value and enable Innovation.

  • Respect others in all Interactions.

In addition, the over-arching governance principle is To act in the best interest of the broader community.

Governance Structure

Each ONF project is governed by a Technical Steering Team and the ONF board of directors.

Technical Steering Team

The technical steering team is responsible for all technical decisions having to do with the ONF project and its codebases. However, individual decisions and day-to-day management is often delegated to TST members or active members of the project community.

TST responsibilities

  • Strategic technical guidance
  • Technical decisions when needed by the community. In general, technical decisions are made regularly in the community channels by lazy consensus. If there is a need for a more formal decision the TST is responsible for making the decision.
  • Approving committer/merge rights for code contributors
  • Review collaboration proposals
  • Create project teams or working groups as needed


The TST shall have authority to modify, delete and create new technical roles from time to time which are described in each projects' contribution guidelines (e.g. Contributor, Core Contributor, Module Owner). The TST also has the authority to add and remove individuals from these roles.

Becoming a Member of the TST

The initial TST members are appointed by the ONF board. Subsequently, annual elections are held to (re-)elect members. TST members must meet criteria defined by the project. Nominations for TST members are solicited prior to any vote, but they can also be made at any time to Michelle Roth <>.

Membership Elections

New technical steering team members will be elected on a yearly basis. Elections are held in the first quarter of each calendar year.

Before any election a call for nominations is made and a voting list is collected. To be eligible to vote, you must be a contributor to the project who has had at least one commit merged into the project in the prior 12 months.

Before the election, the TST may expand or shrink its size by majority vote. The ONF board of directors has veto power on the choice of size.

The election may be skipped if the number of nominees is less than or equal to the number of available TST slots.

If a TST member resigns during their term, the TST can decide whether or not to hold a special election to fill the position before the next scheduled election.

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