Open Letter to the Community: New OCP Hardware License and Tiered Membership Opportunities

Dear OCP enthusiasts,

I wanted to take a second to both thank and congratulate you on the most successful event the foundation has put on yet. We could not do this without your participation or your belief in the Open Compute Project and its mission! Many of you are asking specifically about a few of the programs we are currently rolling out, and I'd like to take a minute to overview them in greater detail.

The New Hardware License / Legal Framework

During the the past two years the foundation has fielded several calls regarding the OpenWeb Foundation (OWF) license. The OWF license was, at the time of the foundation’s formation, the best place to start. We knew we might eventually need to add more licensing options, but we didn’t anticipate how quickly and how passionately this community would come together.

We are now preparing to move forward with a new licensing framework that will govern future contributions to OCP. In its first iteration, there will be two licensing options in the framework: an Apache 2-like permissive license that allows for derivative works (think OpenStack), and a more prescriptive license that will encourage upstream changes to be rolled into the original works (think Linux).

In addition to the new legal flexibility you will enjoy with the Open Compute Project Hardware License (OCPHL), you’ll be able to apply it to future contributions that will count toward Tiered Membership (which we'll talk about next).

Any current contribution released under the OWF license will be maintained until the contribution is either modified and resubmitted under the new license or until the contribution has reached its end-of-life.

It’s our hope that this new legal framework will provide you with greater flexibility in how you choose to contribute to the foundation, and will in turn add even more momentum to the stream of contributions flowing into the project. 

Tiered Membership

Late last month we shared a few details about this new and exciting program. We think this program will help you and your company get the recognition you’ve earned with all the hard work and the IP and financial contributions you’ve made to the foundation. We are in process of adopting a badged system where every email, every conference call, and every engineering workshop you participate in will be rewarded with hours toward our new tiered membership program.

One important thing to note here: While some levels of this new tiered membership program do track your level of financial contribution to the project, the foundation strongly believes in the ability to participate in the Open Compute Project for free — and that option will persist. So, for example, there will be three ways to achieve Gold status, one of which requires no financial contribution. We have also structured the program to reward the contribution of time and technology more than the contribution of funds. Platinum members, in this model, pay the least for our strongest trademark and best benefits.

Final OCP Membership Logos

Below you will find two graphs that explain the Tiered Membership program and its related benefits:

Corporate Membership Levels2

Ways to reach OCP Corporate Membership presentation2

I know you are all eager to start using these new badges, and we ask for your patience as we finalize the details of the program. Over the next month we will be scheduling a series of conference calls (determined by your membership level) to go into further detail about the program and get your feedback.

Again: Thank you so much for your continued support of the Open Compute Project. You are what makes this community great!


Cole Crawford

Executive Director