Why You Should Join, Part 1: Join as a Voting Member

At the Connect event in December, we announced .NET Foundation Open Membership and a new Corporate Sponsor program. We’re planning to kick off our first community board member election later this month, so now is a great time to join! Beth Massi and I were guests on the .NET Rocks podcast earlier this month to review our announcements and talk you into joining, and I’m starting a series of posts to explain things in more detail, as well as to answer some common questions.

Here’s the planned series, let me know if you’ve got specific questions on any of these or would like to see more topics covered:

Why You Should Join: Part 1 – Voting Member (this post)
Why You Should Join: Part 2 – Corporate Sponsor
Why You Should Join: Part 3 – Board Member

What did we announce?

We made two big announcements at Microsoft Connect(); 2018: Open Membership and a new Corporate Sponsor program.

First, Open Membership: we’re expanding the board from three to seven members, with one single seat appointed by Microsoft and the remaining six elected by the community. The .NET Foundation Board election campaigns will start on January 28, 2019; any person who has contributed to a.NET Foundation open source project is eligible to run for the board and to vote. This new structure will help the .NET Foundation scale with the growing .NET open source ecosystem and allows our entire community to get a lot more involved.

Secondly, we are also expanding our current technical steering group to a Corporate Sponsor program. In addition to our current sponsors – Red Hat, JetBrains, Google, Unity, Microsoft and Samsung, we are also welcoming Pivotal, Progress Telerik and Insight. We’re working with some other companies who are interested in joining, and I’ll be going into more detail on the Corporate Sponsor program in the next post.

Wait, I thought open source projects join the .NET Foundation… Is it for projects, people, or companies?

Yes, all of them! In the past, we’ve really talked about open source projects joining the .NET Foundation. That’s been great but limited. A lot of things wait on one person (the executive director) to get things done, and there hasn’t been a good way to let you get involved. For instance, we’ve got a backlog of projects that want to join and a great community that would like to help, but no good way to empower them to get involved.

So we’re keeping open source .NET project support as a key focus of the .NET Foundation, and using open membership as a way to scale that up, leverage ideas from the community, etc.

So now people, project, and companies can all join the .NET Foundation:

Projects can join the .NET Foundation for a ton of reasons including IP and legal support, technical and back end support services (certs, hosting, CLA’s, etc.)
Companies can join the .NET Foundation as corporate sponsors, to collaboratively support the .NET open source ecosystem (more in the next post)
People – individual community members – can join as voting members of the .NET Foundation

Why should I join?

Most importantly, you should join because you care about .NET. Maybe you’re an open source project leader or contributor and want to make sure the .NET Foundation is solving the problems you care about. Maybe you’ve gotten involved in a few Twitter threads or conference discussions about how things ought to be but didn’t have a way to turn those ideas into reality. This is that way.

Or maybe you’re a .NET developer who doesn’t do much open source, but cares about .NET because it’s important to you professionally. You’re happy that Microsoft is working away on the runtime and tools, but you want to make sure that your favorite open source projects are supported. You want to make sure things like Meetups and student programs will be there to help new programmers get started with .NET. You should join the .NET Foundation because .NET is important to you.

Joining as a voting member gives you the right to run for a board seat, and to vote in the yearly elections. This is your opportunity to decide what the .NET Foundation will do for the next year.

Note: This applies to employees of any company, including Microsoft. If you’re a .NET developer, you should consider becoming a .NET Foundation member. There is a limitation of two board members from any company, but every member gets a vote in the elections.

What do I get for joining?

The most important part is what we just talked about. We’re thinking of some other things, like exclusive swag and events (online to start, maybe in person at some point), etc. We’re interested in your ideas.

We’ve had some people suggest that members should get goodies from Microsoft, like discounted conference tickets. It’s important to remember that the .NET Foundation is separate from – it’s not owned or controlled by Microsoft, as the board expansion should make clear. So Microsoft, or other corporate sponsors, may decide to offer something to members, but that’s up to them and outside of the .NET Foundation’s control.

How do I join?

Fill out a short form (https://dotnetfoundation.org/member/become-a-member) with your contact info and references to your contributions to the .NET open source community
We’ll review applications and get back to you – we plan to accept every reasonable application, and provide feedback in the rare cases your contributions weren’t clear
We’ll notify you with a link to accept your membership and pay the annual dues

Dues? What’s the deal with the $100 dues?

We’re asking voting members for $100 annual dues, but please don’t let dues keep you from joining! If $100 dues are a problem for you, you can set a lower dues amount, down to $0. That applies to students, people in parts of the world where $100 is expensive, etc. You know your circumstances, and we trust you. Again, please don’t let dues keep you from joining. Contact us ([email protected]) if you have any question about this.

So why are we asking for dues at all? For a few reasons:

We want you to value your membership. Personally, when I contribute $20 to a Kickstarter, I feel like I’m part of it. I check back on it and want it to be successful. This is a little like that – we don’t want this to just be some random form you fill out on the internet because you’re bored We want you to participate.
The .NET Foundation is an independent organization, and independent funding is an important part of that. We’ve been running on donations from Microsoft for the past few years, which is both really cool and something people don’t give Microsoft credit for. We hope they keep coming! But, for the .NET Foundation to really be sustainable, independent, impactful, and real, it needs independent support. We’ll have corporate sponsorship, but voting member dues could be a significant part of that support as our member base grows.
We want to use your money to support the things you care about – sustainable open source, your favorite open source .NET projects, your open source .NET community.

Who is eligible?

Anyone who has contributed to any .NET Foundation project. Usually that will be with code, but can include documentation, or filing significant issues. It might be something we haven’t thought of yet – if in doubt, ask!

UPDATE: We’ve expanded and clarified the contribution requirements. Any individual contributor to a .NET Foundation project can apply to become a member. Contributions may include code contributions, documentation, or other significant project contribution, including evangelism, teaching, code, organizing events, etc. If in doubt, please ask us at [email protected]

How can I get started contributing to a .NET Foundation project?

We’ve had some questions from people who tried to dive right into some of the more complex ones – CoreCLR, CoreFX, ASP.NET Core. We’d recommend starting with some small contributions, and look at Docs and some other .NET Foundation projects. If you’re having trouble finding one, ping me at [email protected] and I’ll help.

As with dues, we don’t want to exclude anyone that really wants to be involved. We’ll be flexible, and do what we can to get the boxes checked to get you in. If in doubt, ask!

Sign up today!

If you’ve already contributed to any .NET Foundation project, apply for membership today: https://dotnetfoundation.org/member/become-a-member

If you haven’t contributed yet and need some help getting started, e-mail us ([email protected]) and we’ll help.

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