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Letter to P4 Members

Apr 9, 2019

Posted by P4.org on April 9, 2019

Today, we are excited to announce that P4.org has combined with the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Originally announced in March of 2018, we are pleased to report that the transaction has been completed. As of today, rather than being an independent organization, P4 is now an active project hosted by the ONF. The strategy of joining ONF is based on the synergies we see and the complementary visions we are pursuing. ONF is dedicated to P4’s mission, P4 will benefit from the strength and community of the ONF, and ONF will aim to strategically align P4 activities with the Linux Foundation to advance our shared mission of promoting open source as a tool for transformation and innovation.

While this is exciting news, our work and mission will remain business-as-usual. Specifically,

  • All the P4 properties are still active (like p4.org, github.com/p4lang/, etc.)
  • All P4 mailing lists remain active
  • All P4 working groups remain active and under the same leadership
  • All P4 members can continue to work on all P4 related activities
  • All P4 software remains under Apache 2.0 license
  • As before, no fees are required to continue to participate in all P4 activities

As a part of this transition, we have also created a governance model for the P4 project to make it clear how decisions will be made in the future. P4 will be managed by a Technical Steering Team (TST) and a chief architect that will be appointed by the TST. Members of the initial TST include the current P4.org board (Nate Foster, Nick McKeown, Jennifer Rexford, and Amin Vahdat) and the ONF Executive Director (Guru Parulkar). In the future, active contributors to the P4 project will elect TST members, as described here.

To make this transition, a few legal details are taking place. We want to let you know about these, but nothing requires that you take action. Specifically:

  • Your P4 Membership Agreement has been assigned to the ONF
  • Your P4 Membership Agreement will be terminated in 30 days
  • We are waiting 30 days to satisfy the 30 notice requirement in the agreement
  • Pursuant to the terms of the P4 Membership Agreement, the terms of your P4 Contributor License Agreement (CLA) will survive termination of the Membership Agreement and the licensees you granted under the CLA remain binding and apply to both ONF and recipients of software distributed by ONF
  • Your organization has automatically been granted Collaborator status with ONF
  • No paperwork or action is required on your part to receive this added recognition
  • If your company is already an ONF member, you’ll be upgraded to Collaborating Innovator status
  • Note that while individuals are not eligible for ONF Collaborator status, the ONF structure still fully supports your participation in all P4 activities including developing code, contributing to working groups, voting in TST elections and running for governance seats. We recommend that you forward this letter to your legal counsel for your records.

If you don’t wish to automatically participate in this transition, you have the option to refuse Collaborator recognition. Should this be your wish, please just let us know.

Exciting Things to Come

P4 remains as open as before. No new barriers are being erected to restrict or inhibit participation. To the contrary, we are excited to now be partnering with the ONF and to be benefiting from the larger community and the breadth of open source activities being championed by ONF. ONF’s Next-Gen SDN initiative and Stratum project are some of the leading open source projects leveraging P4, so the alignment we are pursuing is already producing results.

We’ll share more as developments progress. And as always, please let us know if you have any questions.

Sincerely, your P4 leadership team,
Nate, and

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