We, the current board of the NixOS Foundation, are expanding the board to include more members.
The new board will be composed of the following members:
- Eelco Dolstra (Determinate Systems), President
- Armijn Hemel (Tjaldur), Secretary
- Théophane Hufschmitt (Tweag)
- Ron Efroni (Flox)
- Domen Kožar (Cachix)
We also intend to appoint the following board observers:
- Graham Christensen (Determinate Systems)
Rob Vermaas, who is largely responsible for creating the foundation and has served as its Treasurer since the beginning, will resign from the board in the near future. Many thanks to him for all his work!
The NixOS Foundation has existed since 2015 but it has had a fairly hands-off approach to the Nix project. Primarily, the foundation runs some of the technical infrastructure (e.g. the website and the binary cache) and participates in NGI Zero.
But there is much more it could do to foster Nix and the Nix community, such as setting an organizational structure for the project, providing technical leadership, or organizing events like NixCon.
The new, larger board will have more resources and time to devote to supporting the community. There are many informal teams within the Nix project, and we want the foundation to empower them.
We’ve had conversations with leaders from the Rust, Haskell, and Plone Foundations to learn from their experiences in running large and successful open source projects. One lesson from this was to set up the foundation to support the technical teams that do the critical work: empowering, unblocking, and supporting them financially, and giving them clear mandates and responsibilities. (See for instance the Rust governance structure.)
We feel that the new members represent a good mix of people who have been active in the Nix community, bring together relevant experience (engineering, leadership, strategy, product development, etc.), and have access to the time and resources to act on their strong interest in seeing Nix succeed and grow.
As a board, we will operate in a more structured and transparent fashion from the start, similarly to what we’ve seen at other successful and healthy communities. We are committed to make sure no stakeholder is over- or under-represented, to avoid unwanted bias, and intend to regularly re-evaluate the board’s membership accordingly.
A reasonable question is whether the board shouldn’t be selected via some kind of public process, such as an election. However, currently we don’t have the governance structures to do so – e.g. unlike Debian, we don’t have a clearly defined membership. Addressing such governance questions is exactly the sort of thing that an expanded board will be more capable of.
We’ve also introduced a “board observer” role. Board observers cannot vote and, therefore, are not full board members. However, they can participate in every board activity and, as a consequence, exert influence by contributing their thoughts, questions, expertise, and support.
Once the new board is in place, we hope to be able to move forward with a number of items, such as:
- Improve the governance of the project. In particular, give existing teams such as the RFC steering committee stronger mandates, and create new teams where needed.
- Facilitate the organization of NixCons. Also make it easier for people to get support from the foundation for setting up other Nix events.
- Improve the technical resilience of the project. We currently depend on the gracious support of various sponsors for critical infrastructure like the binary cache. We will take steps to further ensure the reliability and availability of these resources.
- Obtain charitable status in the US/Canada to enable tax-deductible donations. This should help us set up a better platform for donations and sponsorships.
- Create a process for formulating a project-wide roadmap, similar to the Rust roadmap process.
We will have an open Zoom call on 2022-07-01 17:00 CET where we will be happy to answer any questions you have!