Last October, the OpenSSL Project team had a face to face meeting. We talked about many topics but one of them was that, in recent years, we have seen much more involvement from the community and that we would like to encourage that further. For example, there are a number of people in the community who we know and trust. We would like those people to get involved more and make it easier for them to contribute. We decided to introduce the concept of a “committer” (borrowed from the Apache concept): someone who has the ability to commit code to our source code repository but without necessarily having to become a full team member. This might be seen as a stepping-stone for someone who aspires to full team membership, or simply as an easier way of contributing for those that don’t. Those people could help with our review process (i.e., their reviews would count towards approval) - which might help us keep on top of the github issues and pull request queues.
We also wanted to be more transparent about how we work as a team, and how decisions are made. At the moment we have a set of rules for this but they are not published anywhere.
These two ideas have come together and as a result we have set about rewriting and updating our project rules (drawing inspiration from the Apache Software Foundation model), so that they can be published and, at the same time, introducing the committer concept. I am very pleased to announce the publication of our new “Project Bylaws”. You can read them here. Incidentally these project bylaws should not be confused with the OpenSSL Software Foundation (OSF) Bylaws which have previously been published here. The OSF Bylaws are a legal document which describe how that legal entity is operated.
Over time, we expect to be inviting various trusted members of the community to become committers. We also expect to be publishing a committer policy document in the near future to give further guidance to committers on their role and what they are expected to do.