Docker Adds Open Governance Board

Docker, Inc., the commercial entity behind the leading open-source container engine project of the same name, announced plans Wednesday to create an Open Governance Advisory Board. This new board would provide "input" to the Docker project leadership "on a broad range of topics" and a long-term governance structure, the company said.

The new board is still in the planning stages, and Docker, Inc. emphasizes that it is intended to supplement existing mechanisms for public participation in this open source project. A draft proposal has been posted online for comments. Membership on the new board will be open to individuals, corporations and users, the company said, reflecting its "radical openness" philosophy.

"Docker has pursued a 'radically open' approach to the project since the outset and we believe this has been key to adoption and growth," said Solomon Hykes, Docker, Inc.'s CTO and chief maintainer and architect of the Docker project, in a statement. "We deliberately chose the most permissive license (Apache), pursued an open design approach and welcomed the broad community as both contributors and maintainers. In fact, over 95 percent of contributors don't work for Docker, Inc. Creating the Governance Advisory Board is the next logical step."

The new advisory board would consist of 15 members, including Hykes, two seats for top core maintainers, four corporate seats, four individual or small business seats, and four "user" seats. No fee or sponsorship will be required for membership, the company says, and membership terms will be 12 months and restricted to two consecutive terms, with the exception of the chief maintainer. is an open source project focused on creating a means of building, managing, and deploying applications as lightweight, portable, self-sufficient software containers. As an open source project, it is already subject to the rules of open source. A new board is necessary, the proposal argues, because of the project's recent rapid growth in adoption and contribution. The project, launched last year, has attracted more than 400 developers and generated more than 1.4 million downloads, the company says. The Docker public index currently includes more than 9,000 "Dockerized" applications.

Docker-style container-based virtualization, or "containerization," is fast becoming a must have capability, says IDC analyst Al Hilwa.

"Industry interest in containers in general, and Docker in particular, has grown considerably in the past year," Hilwa said in a statement, adding that Docker's recently announced collaboration with Red Hat marked an important milestone demonstrating containerization has become suitable for many production environments. "Organizations looking to simplify application deployment and improve operational efficiency and infrastructure utilization should consider standardized containerization approaches such as Docker," he said.

Brian Stevens, executive vice president and CTO of Red Hat, has said that open governance "is critical to building trust and acceptance of new, open source technologies," and that his company supports the idea of a new advisory board.

Docker, Inc. plans to solicit comments and nominations through the end of May, and then announce formally the membership of the new Governance Advisory Board at the first DockerCon conference, which is scheduled to take place in San Francisco, June 9 to10.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].