ASF Project Roles

SpamAssassin, as an Apache top-level project, follows the Apache development model which defines the various roles in the project:

  • users: someone that uses our software
  • contributors: anyone can provide feedback, submit bug reports, or submit patches (WeLoveVolunteers)
  • committers: a committer is simply an individual who was given write access to the codebase
  • PMC members: the project management committee is responsible for managing a project

SpamAssassin specifics

The SpamAssassin project management committee is responsible for:

  • adding new committers (and potentially removing)
  • creating and destroying subprojects
  • setting project direction
  • handling public relations
  • setting policy and procedures

In addition, there are some actions that are purely development-related, so they do not fall under the PMC mantle. Of course, people who happen to be on the PMC tend to do these, but committers could as well:

  • proposing and cutting releases
  • scheduling

There's a private 'PMC list', called 'private at', but it's not to be used as a private mailing list of general discussions for PMC members only, as this is contrary to ASF policy. Instead, it's there to discuss sensitive stuff that needs to be moderately secret. Non-sensitive PMC discussions are held on the dev list. The ASF definition of what lives on the private list is: 'issues that cannot be discussed in public, such as discussion of pre-disclosure security problems, pre-agreement discussions with third parties that require confidentiality, discussion of nominees for project or Foundation membership, and personal conflicts among project personnel.'


Developers and contributors who contribute too much good code and not enough bad code usually become committers.

Committers should probably ensure they're subscribed to the 'committers' and 'community' ASF mailing lists.

We have adopted a policy whereby virtually all active committers are on the PMC. Here's how this works:

Any committer who (a) is not already on the PMC, (b) has been a committer for at least 6 months, and (c) has made a commit in the previous 3 months, may be offered an invitation to join the PMC. After a committer becomes eligible, a notice for discussion can be be sent to the private@ mailing list or a vote with the usual 24hrs lazy consensus. Assuming that vote passes, see the Apache new PMC member instructions before sending an invite to the potential PMC member. There is an Invite template below.

Any PMC member who has become inactive for a period of 6 months (ie. no commits or participation in the PMC/Development community) may be marked as an "emeritus" member of the PMC. At any time, an emeritus member can declare that they are active again, and the emeritus status will be revoked.

Any committers who have not been active or committed anything for a period of 6 months may be considered to have retired from active duty and moved to inactive status. We wish them well and hope to see them return someday.

Current roles

See the CREDITS page.

Changes to make during Advancement

Going from contributor to committer: See BecomingCommitter.

Going from committer to PMC: See BecomingPmc.

More Details

Be sure to read how-it-works.html – there's lots of useful stuff about ASF processes there.

Invitation Text

To: invitee-email-address
Cc: private
Subject: Invitation to serve on the Apache SpamAssassin PMC

Invitation to Apache SpamAssassin PMC

Dear <Invitee> --

The SpamAssassin PMC has voted to invite you to join as a PMC member!

The PMC is the entity that controls the project and speaks for the
project.  If you accept, you'll have the right to vote for the
community-related decisions and the right to propose committer status for
active contributors.  And, of course, you'll be expected to participate in
these community decisions too!

The latter needs to be a key factor in your decision to join.  It
requires almost no effort to serve as a PMC member, but you *are* expected
to subscribe to, and keep up with the mailing list traffic on the dev and
private lists, provide votes where needed, contribute to the community 
when it's required, and respect the Apache Way of doing things.

Some reading on the subject:

If you accept, please reply-all to that effect using the email address with
which you will be subscribed to the mailing list.