Chef Board of Governance

Chef was designed from the outset to have a very open structure, including open design, open contribution, and consistent use of tools across the project. Given the large numbers of contributors, users, and companies with a stake in the future of the project, Chef leadership is looking to establish an advisory board, as part of its long term commitment to open governance.

The purpose of this RFC is to create that governance board and define how it will work.


Before talking about certain roles and ideals, we want to make sure we’re clear about what we mean:

Means the Chef Board for Governance – the group of up to 12 representatives who will advise on the roadmap and core criteria of the Project.
Company Leadership
Means the CEO of Chef Software Inc.
Corporate Contributor
Means a company that (a) is one of the top eight companies in terms of non-trivial pull requests in the past six months as measured by contributions by all employees; (b) a company that has employees as Maintainers who make significant contributions to the Project; and (c) has committed to integrate Chef software into its products.
Means the CBGB, Company Leadership, and Project Maintainers.
Means someone who (a) is willing to perform the duties of a Lieutenant; (b) receives an absolute majority of affirmative votes of existing Lieutenants; and (c) is approved as a Lieutenant by the Project Lead.
Means the Chef open source software and all applicable policies and procedures and guidelines.
Project Lead
means a leader in the Chef Community. The initial Project Lead will be Adam Jacob.
Project Maintainers
means the current list of maintainers, lieutenants, and project lead as defined in the Maintenance Policy.
Means the issues under the CBGB purview such as: (a) advising on the long term roadmap; (b) project policies and procedures around maintenance and contributions; and (c) long term governance model. All initiatives within the Chef Project are required to reside within the Scope.
Means (a) an organization that uses Chef and that has published at least one use case; and/or (b) an individual contributor to the Project who is not a Company employee or Corporate Contributor.


The primary purpose of the CBGB is to advise the Leadership on matters related to supporting the long-term governance, structure, and roadmap of the Project.

What’s Included

The following main areas are included in this proposal:

What’s NOT Included

The CBGB is not:


The CBGB is expected to provide input and formal recommendations regarding the project Scope. It can modify its Scope by a majority vote of its members.

Membership and Voting:

The CBGB will have up to 12 members.

Composition of CBGB:

Membership Term

Except for the Project Lead, who will serve an indefinite term unless replaced as provided herein, each member of the CBGB will serve a term of 12 months and no member will serve more than two consecutive terms.

Voting and Selection Process

The selection process is intended to be open, transparent, and guided by objective criteria for membership.

Selection and Succession


(i) Project Lead: If a new Project Lead is nominated and receives majority vote of the Lieutenants, and not vetoed by Company Leadership.

(ii) All Other Seats: All other members of the CBGB will be replaced upon any of the following: (1) End of term; or (2) majority vote of all other members of the CBGB.


The CBGB is authorized to seek advice and counsel from other interested parties and invited experts as appropriate

Any outside party wishing to bring an issue before the CBGB may do so by emailing the CBGB mailing list,

The CBGB shall provide transparent and timely reporting (through any mechanism it deems appropriate) to the Community at large on all of its activities, subject to the right of any individual to designate their comments and the ensuing discussion as "in confidence," in which case the public report shall contain only a note of the request and an agreed summary (if any) of the substance.

The CBGB is being formed at the discretion of the Company Leadership. The Company Leadership alone may decide to terminate the CBGB in its sole discretion; provided however, that the Company Leadership shall first consult the CBGB Chair.

The CBGB and its members shall abide by appropriate antitrust guidelines.

Open Governance Principles

The CBGB will formulate recommendations in conjunction with the following, open governance principles:

Open participation

Throughout the project: anyone should be able to participate and contribute. All bugs and tasks will be tracked in a public tracker and all of the source code and all of the tools needed to build it will be available under an open license permitting unrestricted use

Open technical value: technical value over pride of authorship. Code is contributed for the express purpose of advancing technologies relevant to the project, effectively separating technology advancement from individual or commercial intent.

Open design: Roadmaps are discussed in the open, and design receives input from all contributors and maintainers

Influence through contribution: organizations and individuals gain influence over the project through contribution.

IP Cleanliness: Steps are taken to ensure that all incoming code is legally contributed (CLAs, terms-of-use, etc.), that use of approved third party libraries does not create incompatible dependencies

Open Licensing: code should be licensed using approved, standard, open-source licenses. (Chef is currently licensed under Apache 2.0).

Grievance Handling

When a member has a concern about the Chef Project, the member may raise that concern with the CBGB. If the member is not satisfied with the result, the member can raise the concern directly with the Project Lead. All appeals and discussions will be open, transparent and public.

Please help us improve this draft by sending your comments and feedback to


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