LF Energy makes resources available to the community through organizations sponsoring LF Energy as members. Participation is open to anyone under an open governance model but membership helps support the community and resources available to drive the success of LF Energy projects.

LF Energy encourages companies to become members and support the mission with resources – funding, code, engineers, participation, and passion. LF Energy is funded similarly to other Linux Foundation projects through membership with dues, plus the contribution of engineering resources. All LF Energy members must also be members of The Linux Foundation. Anyone may participate in technical projects and discussion lists.

LF Energy Membership FAQs

What services does LF Energy provide to members and projects?

Linux Foundation and LF Energy Leadership provide:

  • Stewardship of the projects
    • Ensure that the technologies are available to the community and free of partisan influence 
    • Ensure that LF Energy is a neutral place for competitors, end-users, and other stakeholders to collaborate and build strategic dependencies
    • Ensure that the technologies’ brand (trademark and logo) is being cared for and used appropriately by members of the community, with a specific emphasis on uniform user experience and high levels of application compatibility
  • Foster the growth and evolution of the ecosystem
    • Enable the Technical Advisory Council (TAC) and Governing Board (GB) to evaluate which additional technologies should be added to meet the vision of accelerating digitalization in energy, and working to encourage the community to deliver them, and integrate them if and only if they advance the general agenda
    • Provide a way to foster common technical standards across the various pieces
    • Do outreach to vendors, suppliers, and end-users for membership, new use cases, and for code contributions that further the mission of LF Energy
    • Identify and facilitate collaboration points with other Linux Foundation projects 
    • Coordinate with external standards bodies like IEEE, IEC, NAESB, Green Button, etc
  • Promote the underlying technologies, and the LF Energy approach to application definition and management, including: events and conferences, marketing, training courses and developer certification
    • Event management (host your own event or have a track)
      • LF Energy Summits, member meetings, project meetups
      • LF Energy presence at industry events
    • Marketing services and programs (webinars, blogs, case studies, newsletters)
    • Marketing communications (press and analyst relations, social media management)
    • In the future we see providing certification and training services (expert certification, software conformance, training) similar to other projects at LF – through LF Training
  • Serve the community by making the technology accessible and reliable.
    • LF Energy seeks to offer up a fully integrated and qualified build of each of the constituent pieces, on a well-defined cadence across the reference architecture. We are at the beginning. This will evolve over time, but it is our ambition, like with other LF projects.
  • Legal services (trademark, copyright, patents, licenses) – LF handles legal services for projects coming into the foundation.

What are the direct and indirect benefits of LF Energy membership?

LF Energy provides a grounding point for the industry – a neutral foundation where every member gets a voice and every participant gets the benefits of collaboration.  Changes to the energy industry are happening whether or not traditional organizations are aware or ready. LF Energy creates a platform for working together on shared technology innovation to advance these changes as a community.

One of the primary benefits of membership is the ability to participate in the governance of LF Energy and its projects, and to guide those projects toward the best practices for the industry they serve. We make governance transparent and open so that you can trust making strategic dependencies. Another way of saying this – if you could not trust the dependencies of your investment to be safe – you would not invest in shared innovation and collaborative technology development. Linux Foundation governance has made it safe for nearly 1500 companies to be members and 35,000 developers to work together at LF generating $16B in shared investment. That is pretty spectacular when you think about it.

It is important for any organization who relies on or values an open source project to have a seat at the table to help determine how that project runs, and in fact this ends up being far less expensive overall than hiring a team to create a similar product. Collaboration also ensures that the software is useful to a wide range of organizations in a given industry – everyone has a say in how it is developed, and many perspectives yields a much more well-rounded result than if a product were developed in a silo. Other people in other companies will come up with questions and solutions you might never have considered, and this process turns that into a strong asset rather than a blind spot. There is strong evidence for all of these benefits across the entire software industry.

A second membership benefit is the ability to participate closely with other industry players – both friendly and competitive. It may seem counterintuitive to collaborate with competitors, but that perspective only holds if you perceive a system as closed, with limited resources. In reality, all industries have boundless resources waiting to be discovered. Innovations in technology and working across boundaries bring those resources into focus, as we can easily see now in the merged interests of the automotive and electrical power industries. Membership in foundations like LF Energy gives participating organizations a profound lead on that innovation as well as the ability to realize results without having to cover all the costs alone.

Third, there is the value of open source itself, which is described in many places  (start with our section on Open Source Guides). Open source software runs a very large portion of the world. It is present in 100% of energy industry software solutions, as well as 100% of supercomputers worldwide, close to 100% of all datacenters, a very large percentage of telecommunications installations, most automobiles and space systems, and so on.

It is no longer a bold statement to say that if your organization is not interested in open source, it is not interested in either the present or the future.

Finally, the fourth benefit of LF Energy is that we are a platform for marketplace messaging. By aligning to LF Energy you are able to build a neutral position to strengthen your ecosystem.

You also have the opportunity to sponsor the LF Energy Summit, enabling significant market exposure. Please contact us for a prospectus. 

All members can participate in member conferences and meetings, both in person and online. Premier membership enables up to 5 passes for the LF Energy Summit in November 2019 in Paris. We also provide a discount to all Linux Foundation conferences.

How do members work with each other?

Members collaborate on projects, of which there are currently several in the LF Energy project ecosystem, with many more set to come on board in the near future. As open source projects, each of these projects welcomes contributors and users and works toward transparency at all levels. Member organizations often have teams that work on a specific project and coordinate with the community around that project, especially if the organization originally contributed part or all of the project to LF Energy – as an example, RTE contributed the OperatorFabric project and maintains a leadership position in it, although the project is now maintained inside LF Energy so that anyone can be elevated into a leadership position through participation.

Typically organizations join because they are using the software or have strategic dependencies on the software, and thus will want to learn and know the code so that you can use it, extend it, sell services and support around it, and contribute fixes, patches, and new features and functions upstream.

In terms of governance, each project is governed by a Technical Steering Committee (TSC). The TSC chairs for each project attend a Technical Advisory Council (TAC) which is responsible for coordinating efforts and evaluating new projects for LF Energy. In addition, the TAC chooses a chair who attends and votes in the overall project Governing Board, which is made up of Premier members, the TAC chair, and one member representing all General members. The Governing Board makes decisions on overall policy as well as funding (budget) and marketing efforts.

You can see the full LF Energy charter and more in our governance documentation section on github.

How does open source governance work in LF Energy?

The open source governance model is built around open, collaborative development – not a joint venture model in which specific people are allowed to contribute, but an inclusive, transparent environment where all interested parties are encouraged to participate. There are many studies on why this type of development model greatly accelerates innovation, and it has transformed many industries. Linux alone is valued at hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide, and it is all due to collaborative development – no single organization could have created the Linux ecosystem.

LF Energy embraces this model and creates a neutral meeting point as well as a single source for project support, which is the Linux Foundation’s role. When a project is contributed, the stakeholders for the project continue to participate and govern the project as it grows and gathers a community of people and organizations who can also contribute and share the benefits of the project. 

Funding is centralized, not provided on a per-project basis, and costs are minimized because the weight of development is distributed among many contributors rather than being borne by a single organization. Organizations join at the funding level they feel is appropriate for the stake they take. A large org would want to join as a Premier member in order to continue to have a hand in guiding the overall organization as well as the projects they contribute. The benefit they get from the process far exceeds the financial contribution, as thousands of companies worldwide can attest.

Once a project is “open sourced” and incorporated into the umbrella, anyone can participate and anyone can use the results. That is the benefit of an open license. More accurately, anyone can propose patches using a system called a “pull request” – in essence, a contributor creates a new set of code or patches to existing code and requests that the project “pull” it into the main codebase so that it becomes part of the project. The project’s maintainers make the decision on whether to incorporate that contribution, send it back for alterations, reject it entirely, or something else. Most of a maintainer’s job is showing people how to contribute effectively.

Each project within LF Energy is governed by a Technical Steering Committee (TSC) made up of the project’s maintainers and most prolific contributors. The TSC then votes for a chair amongst themselves, with LF there to help guide the processes and to ensure neutrality – everything is transparent and no one is driving a hidden agenda. It becomes clear quickly that it is in a stakeholder’s best interest to contribute heavily and to participate in the governance of the project in order to maintain their organization’s goals. It is also in their best interest to make sure LF Energy itself remains funded so it can continue to grow the collaborative ecosystem of stakeholders for all of its projects.

What are the important roles in open source, and in LF Energy?

Each project has independent roles and responsibilities. These roles exist within LF Energy, and they are a good example of the types of roles found in open source projects.

Participant: someone who contributes time & effort to a project at any level, including participation in discussions and meetings as well as contributing code or documentation. 

Contributor: someone who contributes code, documentation, testing, or other tangible artifacts to a project. Contributions are evaluated and accepted by a maintainer or committer for the project. Contributors are generally recognized within the code itself, depending on the license, as well as by the mechanism through which code is contributed – for example, in metrics taken from submissions through github. Recognition for contributions is considered to be a valuable asset to any open source developer.

Maintainer or Committer: someone with the authority to commit code to a project’s repository. Maintainers are elected or otherwise elevated to a position of authority and makes decisions on what code to accept into a project. Many projects also have an Architect or Chief Maintainer who determines what types of code maintainers should accept and under what conditions, including every aspect from architectural decisions to code style. Maintainers are generally elected or elevated by the project itself, and are listed publicly in a file at the top of a project’s code tree. 

Technical Steering Committee (TSC): a group of maintainers who meet regularly to determine direction for a project and thus advise the architect on how to design the project; also resolve differences of opinion through discussion and compromise, preferably making decisions by consensus, but also possibly by voting. Each TSC has a TSC chair who organizes TSC meetings, sets agendas, and represents the project to the TAC (see below).

Technical Advisory Council (TAC): a group consisting of the TSC chairs for each project inside an umbrella foundation, as well as a representative from each Premier member. The TAC collectively makes decisions on overall direction and work to collaborate and encourage cross-project ideas, with the overall goal to organize projects together into a viable platform for an industry. The TAC also decides on whether to endorse new projects as they are suggested. The TAC chair organizes TAC meetings, represents technical issues to the Governing Board.

Governing Board: made up of (1) a rep from each Premier member, (2) a single rep elected by all General members, (3) the TAC chair, (4) the project’s Executive Director. The Governing Board also creates committees for the project’s administrative functions, including Marketing, Outreach, Finance, and so forth – each of these committees also usually has a chair.

Executive Director: project executive and administrator – essentially the CEO of the umbrella project. Handles all business issues, creates and executes on budgets, represents the project in public, gathers new members, maintains a relationship with the parent Foundation, manages other project personnel, acts as a trusted advisor to the Governing Board, and manages legal issues in conjunction with the Board’s legal committee.

Program Manager: project administrator responsible for operational and tactical activities, project governance and documentation, management for outside contracts, relations with Linux Foundation, member guidance and mentoring, meeting organization, and marketing and event management as well as other activities as necessary.

Community Manager: guide and responsible party for the community around the project, including technical communities for individual projects as well as the overall industry community around umbrella projects. Handles media relations including social media, public speaking at events, personal aspects including code of conduct issue, and generally functions as a face for the project in public spaces. Responsible for representing the community back into the project. Often related to (or the same person as) a Developer Advocate or Project Evangelist, usually a more technical role that provides or enables project demos and helps explain technical issues to others within the project. NOTE: LF Energy does not yet have individuals in these roles.

The Linux Foundation

Membership Benefits

LF Energy is hosted by the Linux Foundation.

With a staff of over 150, the Linux Foundation provides a professional shared services organization to over 200 hosted projects, offering support in five areas:

  1. Governance and Membership
  2. Technical and Project Lifecycle Management
  3. Technical Infrastructure
  4. Ecosystem Development
  5. IP Management

Linux Foundation Membership: Detailed Benefits

  • Conformance programs
  • Technical infrastructure for the community
  • Testing environment
  • Continuous integration, continuous delivery, and DevOps engineering help
  • Security experts and engineers to assist community
  • IP Management
  • License scanning
  • Trademarks and management
  • IP defense, outside legal counsel engagement
  • Outreach, PR / analyst engagement, social media, web
  • Events for the project
  • Leadership to curate ecosystem creation
  • Convening and coordination for: Governance Board, Technical, and Marketing
  • Steering Committees
  • LF peer projects
  • Industry stakeholders and complimentary projects
  • Cross-training ICT engineers and power engineers
  • Policy and regulatory engagement
  • End-user engagement, requirements gathering, measurement and feedback loops