Salt Project changes in policy

Back in February of 2011, I made the first commits to the Salt Project. At that time I had no idea that Salt would evolve into what it has become, and I could never have imagined that Salt would end up under the umbrella of Broadcom.

Since I started Salt in 2011, I have learned a great deal. It has been almost 13 years of my life that has been dedicated to the Salt Project. In that time my views on many things have changed and evolved as I have come to better understand how open source works, how business and revenue works, and how communities operate.

In the early days my goals for Salt Project were undefined, I just wanted to make great software. Over time I began to see how I needed to feed the Salt Project, how I needed to keep the money flowing and continue to facilitate our amazing community.

As I look back today at the last 13 years of my life, I can say with a great deal of confidence that I feel that open source software that is not tied to revenue is not sustainable. Open source software must drive the core motivations of business to ensure that the money required to push projects forward will continue to be there.

Revenue generation for open source software does not need to be direct, and it rarely is, but it does need to exist and be trackable. Projects that tie to revenue thrive, projects that do not, dwindle and die.

This reality has become much more solid in my mind over the last few months working inside of Broadcom. I have become a big fan of Hock Tan and his vision for Broadcom and VMware.

With all of this said I have spent a great deal of time considering how to best position the Salt Project to accelerate, remain completely open, become more maintainable, and drive revenue. My current conclusions, and the path we have elected to take is one where we make Salt more agile, easier to maintain, faster to develop, and we migrate from a community-centered focus to an ecosystem focus.

This means that the core Salt team is going to be making changes to the Salt Project. We are changing issue tracking and pull request policies, which will allow us to close old issues and pull requests in favor of focusing on the issues directly in front of us. The Salt Enhancement Proposals process will also be ended: I do not feel that the SEP process has been a success and we will not continue with it. We will be migrating the bulk of the modules inside of Salt out of the core codebase.

The Issue and PR policies have already started to be implemented and the new policies have been posted to the Salt Repo. We plan to have lists of modules to be migrated out of the maintainership of the Salt Core team very soon.

I am deeply grateful to everyone who has been involved in the Salt Project community for the last 13 years, and I am confident that the changes we are implementing will give Salt what it needs to push into the future and continue to be the premier open source automation platform that it is today.