Over the last few years CKAN has seen impressive growth in technology, uptake, number of deployments and in the vendor and developer communities. It is now the basis of dozens of major sites around the world, including national data portals in the UK, US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Germany, Austria and Norway. Once, almost all core CKAN development was done by the Open Knowledge Foundation; now, there are an increasing number of developers and providers, deploying, customising and working with CKAN.
We believe that, as with many open-source projects when they achieve a certain size, the time has come to bring some more structure to the community of CKAN developers and users. By doing so we aim to provide a solid foundation for the future growth of the project, and to more explicitly empower its growing array of stakeholders.
We are therefore proposing to create an independent, self-governed CKAN project at the Open Knowledge Foundation, separate from our own CKAN developments and offerings, to guide the future development and direction of the software. The main proposed actions are:
- To establish a steering group and advisory board to oversee the project and represent the growing number of stakeholders.
- To establish specific groups or teams to look after specific areas; in particular, a “technical group” to oversee technical development and a “content and outreach group” to oversee materials (including project website) and to drive community and user engagement.
- To establish a membership model for stakeholders to support the long-term sustainability of the project.
The project will still have its formal institutional home at the Open Knowledge Foundation, and enjoy support and participation from our CKAN team. But it will be autonomous and will have its own independent governance, from a board drawn from major CKAN stakeholders. The Open Knowledge Foundation will continue to contribute at all levels, but this approach will allow others – from government users to suppliers of CKAN services – to have a formal role in the future development and direction of CKAN.
Over the next couple of weeks we will be introducing a new structure for development (how to become a core contributor etc) and governance (steering committee and supporting ckan.org as a member) and we would love to hear your ideas and feedback. Please either get in touch or place ideas in this open project ckan document and watch this space for more posts soon!