Announcing the Linkerd Steering Committee

Jan 28, 2021

Today we’re excited to announce the creation of the Linkerd Steering Committee. This marks an important milestone in Linkerd’s commitment to our users and to open governance. We’ll be kicking off our first steering committee meeting in February, and all are welcome to attend.

Why add a steering committee?

Linkerd is a unique project. In a space that’s known for complexity and hype, Linkerd stands for simplicity, minimalism, and solving concrete problems. We’ve never been unafraid to buck the cloud native trends when it’s right for our adopters, and despite all the noise, Linkerd adoption continues to grow rapidly. So why add a committee?

There are two reasons. The first is directly related to project growth. Over the past year, Linkerd adoption has expanded to include large organizations like Microsoft, H-E-B, EverQuote, and HP as well as fast-moving startups like finleap connect, Subspace, and Clover Health. As the community has grown, so has the task of gathering, collating, and prioritizing feedback. As representatives of the “voice of the user”, the steering committee will play a vital role in helping the maintainers prioritize Linkerd’s ever-advancing roadmap.

The second reason is to simply to broaden the set of ways that end users can get involved in the project. Linkerd’s adopters are often busy practitioners who use Linkerd to run mission-critical systems around the world. The common ways of giving back to an open source project—crafting PRs, writing blog posts, answering community questions—never mind becoming a maintainer!—can be challenging for these busy folks. The steering committee provides a formalized but low-cost venue for them to provide feedback on what they’re seeing in their own systems today, and what they’d like to see in the future—a hugely valuable contribution to the project.

How will it work?

Linkerd isn’t the first open source project to add a steering committee. Several projects in the cloud native space (including fellow CNCF project Kubernetes) have implemented steering committees to great success. These committees often serve a variety of functions, from handling assignment of marketing and non-technical tasks to providing a forum for competing vendors with vested interests in the project.

But Linkerd is a unique project, so it should come as no surprise that Linkerd’s steering committee is also unique. The Linkerd Steering Committee has one simple goal: to ensure that Linkerd meets the needs of its current and future users. Thus, rather than representing vendors, Linkerd’s steering committee members represents Linkerd users. Members of the Linkerd Steering Committee will work with maintainers to ensure that Linkerd’s roadmap is always focused on solving concrete, immediate problems for its current—and future—adopters. (See the full Linkerd Steering Committee charter for more.)

To cement this, all members of the Linkerd Steering Committee must currently run a Linkerd production deployment of non-trivial size. No representation without productionization.

What’s next?

The initial steering committee members are Chris Campbell (HP), Christian Hüning (finleap connect), Justin Turner (H-E-B), and William King (Subspace). These Linkerd production users all have a significant operational history with the project and represent a healthy mix of use cases. We’re profoundly grateful that they have volunteered their time and energy to the cause.

The first committee meeting will take place in February (exact time and date announced shortly on the cncf-linkerd-users mailing list). Naturally, as a project that is committed to openness, all Linkerd Steering Committee meetings will take place publicly and recordings will be made available shortly after.

We’ll also be discussing the steering committee at the Linkerd online community meeting later this month, and we’d love your input and feedback there.

Linkerd is for everyone

Linkerd is a community project and is hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Linkerd is committed to open governance. If you have feature requests, questions, or comments, we’d love to have you join our rapidly-growing community! Linkerd is hosted on GitHub, and we have a thriving community on Slack, Twitter, and the mailing lists. Come and join the fun!