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Default Project Guidelines


This document defines the guidelines under which a project operates if it hasn't defined its own guidelines.

It defines the roles and responsibilities of the project, who may vote, how voting works, how conflicts are resolved, etc.

The Apache Foundation FAQ and How-It-Works explain the operation and background of the foundation. Terms used are defined in the ASF glossary.

Apache has a code of conduct that it expects its members to follow.

Roles and Responsibilities

Apache projects define a set of roles with associated rights and responsibilities.

Project Management Committee

The PMC has many responsibilities including complying with ASF policies, reporting to the board, approving releases and adding new committers and PMC members.

The Chair

The chair ensures board reports are submitted and that the project's roster is up to date.

Decision Making

This is one suggested model, note that (P)PMCs have some leeway in the way decisions are made, where vetoes apply etc., see and for good examples of that. For CouchDB note that nowadays the term "community guidelines" is preferred over bylaws.

Different decisions require different forms of approval but community consensus is always the goal. Voting when needed, should be open for at least 72 hours.

  • Lazy Consensus – Consensus no objections (‘silence gives assent’).


Who can vote


Where to vote

Board approval required

Code change


Lazy Consensus

public dev or commit list



Majority Approval

public dev list

New committer


Consensus Approval or other documented method4

private list

New PMC member


Consensus Approval

private list


Existing committer removal


Consensus Approval

private list

Existing PMC removal


Consensus Approval

private list


Change chair


Consensus Approval

private list


1 Notice must be given to the board, or if a podling the IPMC.

2 Except for the PMC member in question. Only the board can remove PMC members.

3 Needs to be approved by the board at the next board meeting.

4 While most projects vote on new committers, it's up to the PPMC to decide how to do it.

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