How to govern a project on the scale of OpenStack

How an open source project is governed can matter just as much as the features it supports, the speed at which it runs, or the code that underlies it. Some open source projects have what I call a “benevolent dictator for life.” Others are outgrowths of corporate projects that, while open, still have their goals and code led by the company that manages it. And of course, there are thousands of projects out there that are written and managed by a single person or a small group of people for whom governance is less of an issue than insuring project sustainability.

Control matters. Too little, and a project flounders without direction. Too much, or the wrong kind of direction, and a project can lose support or fork over minor issues, potentially leading to a fractured community. While not all forking is bad, when forking happens because developers can’t get along and resolve their differences, it’s probably not a good thing.

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