LFX EasyCLA v2 Blog

We’re making some significant improvements to EasyCLA that we want to make sure you’re aware of. We would like to give everyone a preview of what’s coming with the v2 release that will roll out in phases over the next few weeks.

This release is particularly exciting for us. We’ve spent a lot of time listening to feedback from people among the 14,700+ CLA Contributors that have used prior versions of our contributor license agreement (CLA) tools. The result was a number of usability and workflow improvements that will make signing and managing CLAs even easier for contributors. Keep reading for details on what’s new and how this release will impact you and your project(s).

Context: Contributor License Agreements and EasyCLA

Not all projects use contributor license agreements (CLAs). Many projects hosted by the Linux Foundation use the Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) as their contribution mechanism. Some project communities have chosen to use a CLA to define the terms under which contributions are licensed to the project. We don’t require a CLA at the Linux Foundation, but some projects do choose to use them. Once that decision is made, the key community challenge is to make the CLA signing and tracking as effortless as possible so that companies and individuals can contribute.

For those projects that choose to use CLAs, typically they need to ensure that a CLA is signed before a new contributor’s patch can be accepted by the project. For someone contributing on their own behalf, this is straightforward: They will need to sign an Individual CLA (ICLA) before they contribute to that project for the first time.

The process is more complicated for someone contributing on behalf of their employer, however. The workflow used by other CLA bots–to just have each contributor sign a CLA–may not be appropriate here. The contributor might not be authorized to sign legal agreements like a CLA on behalf of their company. And, once a Corporate CLA (CCLA) is signed, the company needs a way to be able to manage which of its employees are authorized to contribute to the project under that CLA, as new employees start to participate and others leave.

“EasyCLA allows me to quickly on-board new contributors from my company and add them to the approved list within minutes of their request.”

Ranny Haiby, Director, Open Source Group at Samsung

The Linux Foundation built EasyCLA to help address these challenges in an automated, scalable way. It is the only tool to appropriately support both individual and corporate CLA workflows at scale.

EasyCLA includes functionality to check repos hosted on GitHub or Gerrit, and to confirm that contributors are authorized under a signed CLA. If they are not, then EasyCLA includes workflows to help the contributor pass along the CLA to someone at their company who is authorized to sign it. It then provides flexible controls to each company’s “CLA Managers” to manage the set of authorized contributors from their company for a particular project.

“Using EasyCLA at the Academy Software Foundation to entirely automate CLA management and compliance has made it easier for new contributors to join our projects.”

Rob Bredow, SVP, Chief Creative Officer of Industrial Light & Magic, member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and Governing Board chairperson, Academy Software Foundation

The Linux Foundation first released EasyCLA in July 2019. With the v2 release that we are announcing today, there are significant improvements to the user interface and available functionality, described in more detail below.

How Will This Impact Me?

Regardless of your role in the CLA process, all users will see a better user interface (UI) and process improvements. This is based on feedback and input from many users of the system who were asking for more help navigating the features.

For those contributors currently using EasyCLA version 1 or prior, your current CLAs, approved lists, and workflows should not be impacted by this release. However, you’ll notice new features and a better user interface that will make signing and managing CLAs even easier.

New contributors who are not yet authorized under a CLA and therefore gated by EasyCLA will follow the same process as before, with improved UI and contextualized help to ensure a smooth workflow.

There’s no change to the overall process for CLA Manager and Project Manager workflows either. That said, new features and improved UI will make managing your CLAs easier.

What’s New in EasyCLA

For all Users:
  • Improved user experience & streamlined workflows
  • Contextualized help including tooltips & links to support resources
  • Audit Logs record key activity related to CLA actions & authorizations
For Corporate CLA Workflows:
  • Streamlined UI for adding authorized contributors
  • Search, filter, or download authorized contributor lists for your company
  • Easier to identify who are your company’s CLA Managers
  • Download signed CLAs as PDFs
For Project Manager Workflows:
  • Auto-enable new repositories under a GitHub Organization
  • Auto set-up Branch Protection for the default repository branch

How to Get Started?

For existing EasyCLA users, you’ll automatically have access to EasyCLA v2 once the cut-over takes place.

How to Create a CLA Group for Your Project
How to Sign an Individual CLA
How to Sign and Approve a Corporate CLA
EasyCLA Bot Permissions

This release will introduce two new features called Auto Branch Protection and Auto Configure GitHub repositories. These features allow Project Managers to automatically protect GitHub repositories and branches from the EasyCLA administration console. In order to roll this out, we need to update the EasyCLA bot permissions for all connected GitHub repositories.

  • GitHub Organization owners: Please accept the new permissions request when prompted within your GitHub organization.

These permissions allow the tool to enforce CLA checks, receive events related to Pull Requests, read public email addresses for code committers, update GitHub comments and status entries, allow developers to re-check the status by adding the “/easycla” command in a GitHub comment, and receive notifications when repositories are added.

The Auto Branch Protection and Auto-Configure GitHub repository features will not work until the GitHub permissions request is accepted by the GitHub Organization owner. All other features will continue to work as before. For further information on EasyCLA and how the GitHub status checks are enforced, please see our documentation.

Want to Learn more?

Please join us for a webinar on April 8th, LFX EasyCLA: Streamline Your Development Workflow. In this webinar, you’ll learn how EasyCLA can help streamline the process of enforcing contribution policies and why this is crucial to maintaining project health. Discover best practices for completing a CLA and managing authorized contributors using the only tool to appropriately support both individual and corporate CLA workflows at scale. We’ll introduce you to the latest release of EasyCLA, which includes improved UX features that make the CLA process even easier for everyone.

Unlocking Your Potential With Mentoring

The Linux Foundation Spring Mentorship Program is now underway. This is a great opportunity for students and developers looking to improve their skills and get more involved in open source projects. But what exactly is a mentorship?

Read on to learn what Jono Bacon, leading speaker on community and author of People Powered: How communities can supercharge your business, brand, and teams, has to say.

You’ve probably been hearing the term “mentorship” for as long as you’ve been alive. The generations that are now of working age in 2021 have added to it technologically and expanded on how they can be executed. Technology has also opened the doors for new mentorship opportunities, especially in technical skills like open source development.

New industries, and therefore mentorship opportunities, are popping up every day because the world needs more people with specialized knowledge. That’s good news for anyone entering a new industry.


What Is Mentoring?

Still, in 2021, what does mentoring really mean? The Linux Foundation expands on the definition used by the Association for Talent Development,

“Mentoring is a reciprocal and collaborative at-will relationship that most often occurs between open source experts and new developers for the purpose of the mentee’s growth, learning, and career development and adding new talent to open source projects for their health and sustainability.”

To further that definition, not all mentorships are created equal. There are ways to be more or less formal about the arrangement, depending on many factors. The key difference when it comes to the formality of the arrangement relates to the boundaries.

In a more formal mentoring relationship, a mentor might set strict goals and deadlines with the mentee, whereas an informal relationship might be more open-ended and self-guided by the mentee. Also, some mentorships are paid, and some are not. What you choose will be dependent on your goals and circumstances.

Something that’s always consistent about mentorships, however, is that there are countless benefits to taking part in one.


The Benefits

Networking opportunities, insider perspective, closing skill gaps, and being in the right place at the right time are just a few major benefits that mentorships can afford you, especially in hyper-competitive niches like tech.

Networking potential itself is worth its weight in gold. Your mentorship experience will expose you to an entirely new pool of contacts and knowledge! This can open lots of new doors for you, and it’s a much more natural way to network as opposed to networking events.

For example, the Hyperledger Mentorship Program was created specifically to educate new-to-tech mentees on their blockchain software know-how, while also exposing them to industry leaders they’d otherwise never get to meet. As a remote program, offering networking opportunities is a huge value to offer mentees who might never see such chances.

The pressure to be in the right place at the right time can feel enormous at times in your career, and that’s why being around the right people and the right industry training is so important.

Another way mentorships can benefit you is by granting access to resources during a very important time in your career. The pressure to be in the right place at the right time can feel enormous at times in your career, and that’s why being around the right people and the right industry training is so important.

Linux Kernel Mentorship Program on the LFX Mentorship platform

For example, the Linux Foundation offers a mentorship working on Linux Kernel that, upon completion, will provide access to career opportunities and relationships in tech. Last year, eight mentees graduated from the Linux kernel bug fixing project, and one mentee is now a project maintainer. This is just one case where these programs are offering mentees the hard skills they need, and the right resources to put them to use.

Getting a mentor also offers an insider perspective to a career you think you may want to pursue! This can be enlightening to make sure you’re not diving into something you don’t know you enjoy. There is so much that learning a topic in school simply doesn’t prepare you for. Mentorships will provide you first hand experience within an industry, and that’s something only time can teach! That’s part of why the Open Mainframe Project has started their own mentorship program, focused on building the mainframe engineers of tomorrow.

You’ll have a serious leg up in an interview by showing that you’ve gone the extra mile to learn the programs they already run.

Finally, being mentored is a way to identify skill gaps that were not addressed in college. In many ways, a mentorship will offer you a head start over your competitors in the job market by providing you with a skill few other applicants have yet. You’ll have a serious leg up in an interview by showing that you’ve gone the extra mile to learn the programs they already run.

There are many different ways to structure a mentoring situation, with few wrong ways to do it. Whichever form of mentorship you may pursue, it’s a winning choice! You never know what you’ll learn, or what you’ll be inspired by within a mentorship opportunity. However, you can always be sure it will make you a stronger applicant.


Mentoring at the Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation has a three-pronged approach to mentoring, which provides you with unstructured webinars, training courses, and structured mentoring programs. All of these efforts combine to advance a diverse, healthy, and vibrant open source community.

The Linux Foundation Mentorship Program was expanded last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing support for programs that help displaced people and less visible projects focused on tackling the crisis. Since then, it’s become an invaluable resource for students whose traditional internships were canceled due to the pandemic, as well as smaller projects tackling critical problems such as contact tracing and climate change.

Additionally, over the past several months the Linux Foundation has launched the LF Live Mentorship Series, morphing its speed mentorship style format into an expanded webinar format. This series compliments traditional mentorship programs, tackling specific technical areas in software development in 90-minute virtual sessions.

Of course, mentorship programs can only be as successful as the people who participate. This is why the Linux Foundation has built a self-service platform, LFX Mentorship, where anyone can come in and start their project. Since its launch in 2019, it has become an invaluable tool for mentees to find open opportunities, manage their progress in a mentorship program, and connect with their mentors.

The LFX Mentorship program has received 4,900+ applications, with 190+ mentees being accepted, and 270+ active mentors participating. In addition, $530,000 in stipends have already been distributed through the program.

Do you want to get involved? The Linux Foundation hosts mentorship programs seasonally, so there are plenty of opportunities to join. The Spring mentorship program is currently underway, and applications for the Summer program will start on April 15th. Be sure to check back regularly for open mentorship opportunities.

What’s New in LFX Insights: Ecosystem Trends, Enhanced Search, Project Groups, and More

We’ve been working hard to provide you with as much visibility into your project’s health and performance as possible through LFX Insights. Now we’re excited to give you even more context around project groups and ecosystem trends, so you can have a clearer picture of your impact within your community.

Earned Media Mentions Dashboard
Earned Media Mentions Dashboard

Social media channels, paid social ads, and news outlets are excellent tools for engaging with your project’s ecosystem, but how can you be sure your message is getting across? We’re excited to announce new Earned Media dashboards in Insights > Ecosystem Trends.** These dashboards are built to help you track what your community is saying so you can play a more significant part in the conversation.

**The Ecosystem Trends dashboard is available to employees of members companies of the Linux Foundation, project maintainers, and members of formal project committees like Board, TOCs, Marketing/Outreach committees. Read the documentation for more details.

What’s New: Earned Media Dashboards
  • Content Dashboard: View your content’s Ad Equivalency, Readership and Impact.
  • Mention Dashboard: Track “Mentions by Location” and understand your content’s Reach using Social Amplification.
  • Share of Voice Dashboard: Compare Share of Voice over time, track Sentiment, and analyze Key Messages.
  • SEO Dashboard: Measure Website Traffic, Referrals, Media Mentions, and Search Optimization.

Viewing Insights Just Got Easier

Global Search
Global Search

We’ve cleaned things up a bit so that navigating Insights is now easier than ever. Now when you land on the LFX Insights projects page, you’ll be able to search through all listed projects, differentiate between project groups and individual projects, and quickly access project dashboards.

What’s New: Enhanced Search & Navigation
  • LFX Toolkit Drop-down: Quickly navigate between the LFX tools.
  • Global Search: Search all projects within LFX Insights.
  • Project Group vs. Individual Project Cards: Differentiate between stacked Project Groups (e.g., CNCF) and individual Project Cards (e.g., Kubernetes is an individual project within the CNCF project group).
  • Multiple Ways to Access a Dashboard: Click a Project Card’s title or button to access that project’s dashboard.

Easily Differentiate between Project Groups and Individual Projects

Project Group Metrics Cards
Project Group Metrics Cards

Project cards and dashboards are clearly organized between project groups (e.g., CNCF) and individual projects (e.g., Kubernetes is an individual project within the CNCF project group). Project groups provide an aggregated overview so you can understand how all sub-projects are performing or drill down into a specific project.

** Project Group metrics are aggregated based on the available data from onboarded projects. Read the documentation for a full list of supported data sources.

What’s New: Project Groups & Summary Dashboards
  • Project Group Metrics Cards: Aggregated overview of metrics for all projects in the Project Group. Click on “Overview” or the “Project Group Summary” tab for a dashboard view of metrics for all projects in the Project Group.
  • Local Search: Search for projects within the Project Group.
  • Individual Project Cards: Quickly navigate to individual project overview dashboards.

Quickly Compare the Health of Multiple Projects

Project Health Comparison Dashboard (Beta)

Understand how your project is performing against the competition with the new Project Health Comparison Dashboard (Beta). Now you can compare multiple projects based on key metrics all on one dashboard. This dashboard is currently in beta, so expect new features coming soon.

What’s New: Compare Project Health (Beta)
  • Project Health Metrics: View a comprehensive listing of a project’s key performance metrics.
  • Multi-Project Comparison: Easily search for projects by name to add them to the dashboard table.

More Ways to Filter Community Contributions

Community Leaderboards
Community Leaderboards

Understand who your most active contributors are so you know who to vote for in your next committee election. Community Leaderboards let you sort community contributors by a number of filter options, based on what activity is most important to you. The default view is “Code” commits data, but you can also view “GitHub PRs” and “GitHub Issues.” Or, select “All” to compare all data sources supported in this view.

What’s New: Community Leaderboard Filters
  • Filter by Data Source: View defaults to “Code” commits data, with two additional source options to filter by. Select “All” to view all available data sources.

Want to Learn More? Join our LFX Insights Webinar

Learn how to leverage data-driven LFX Insights to make informed decisions about your project’s performance beyond the code. Join us on Thursday, January 14th for this first webinar in our new series.

Introducing LFX Blog

We’re excited to announce that the LFX platform is now available, expanding the former CommunityBridge to provide even more support for the open source ecosystem.

Last year we released CommunityBridge, featuring early access to three community-focused tools: Funding, Security (limited features), and Mentorship. Since then, our engineering team has been heads-down developing new features and tools to support open source project development. We’re now rolling out 10+ tools with more on the roadmap for early next year and rebranding as “LFX” to align with other resources provided by the Linux Foundation.

Why We Built LFX

Open source has evolved to power more than 80% of the technologies we use every day, dominating in key markets including the smartphone, supercomputer, and public cloud workload industries. But as open source projects become the technologies that we all depend on, they require far more than version control systems or source control management to maintain and scale.

Critical projects must have their finger on the pulse of their entire developer ecosystem, with tools tailored to key stakeholders driving project development, including maintainers, contributors, community managers, and more. But it can be difficult to find tools that serve the unique needs of open source projects. “Supporting the tooling choices of our communities is in our DNA, but the connective fabric that can unify control and visibility across stacks is missing,” explains Shubhra Kar, CTO and GM of Products and IT at the Linux Foundation.

“We developed LFX to be the ‘digital glue’ that connects control and visibility across tooling stacks, providing a holistic context of project ecosystems–from contributions and release pipelines, to security index and end user adoption.”

Tools for Everyone

The Linux Foundation has spent years developing a proven methodology to transform projects into category leaders. LFX operationalizes this approach, providing a suite of tools built to facilitate every aspect of open source development.

Developed by the Linux Foundation engineers, LFX directly supports projects and empowers open source developers to write better, more secure code and grow sustainable ecosystems. These tools are a culmination of extensive industry knowledge and years of experience growing some of the world’s most critical open source projects.

The LFX Platform features 10+ tools designed exclusively for open source project development.

Available tools include…

  • Insights gives a contextualized ecosystem view–regardless of the environments you use. Understand your contributor community and make informed decisions with our analytics and reporting tools.
  • Security (Beta) provides automated scanning to detect potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses, proposing recommended fixes where available to help projects address top security concerns.
  • Individual Dashboard is your self-service hub for all of your open source activity. Build your personal community profile, manage credentials and contact details, display badges for completing certifications and other accomplishments, and enjoy a seamless login experience across the major systems used by the Linux Foundation projects.
  • EasyCLA is the only tool to support both individual and corporate contributor license agreement (CLA) workflows, making the process easier for everyone while maintaining project development velocity.
  • Mentorship makes it easy to sponsor and help train the next generation of open source developers by serving key needs of the community. Invest in building a stronger and more diverse community of qualified developers and engineers.
  • Crowdfunding enables individuals and organizations to donate by providing a neutral and trusted platform managed by the Linux Foundation that meets the unique fundraising needs of open source projects.
  • Member Enrollment makes it easier than ever for people to join your community with streamlined registration forms, automated contract execution, and a seamless onboarding experience that gets them set up in minutes.
  • Landscape is a tool that lets you visualize your project ecosystem so that you can understand how well your project is performing downstream.
  • Community Events provides local community organizers with the tools they need to host local meetings. Whether planning a virtual event or working with local organizers, our robust platform has you covered.
  • Training Portal is a self-service, unified console that lets both individuals and organizations participate, track, and manage their training and certification needs.
  • Project Control Center (Limited Access Beta Early 2021) helps you get started quickly by providing all the support you’ll need with self-service configuration for governance, membership, IT, developer and collaboration tools, documentation, and community roles.

Like all modern software, LFX is built using open source code and is integrated with a wide array of different systems–from GitHub, to Slack, to Google Workspace. We plan to release much of this code as open source in the near future, allowing our communities to meet their own needs through collaborative development. However, we still have much work to do before our code is ready for others to dive into. As with many leading OSS projects, this process takes time and we want to get things right so that our communities can benefit. In the meantime, we would love your feedback on what you would like to see in the future from LFX and the Linux Foundation.

What the Community is Saying

LFX means new opportunities for the open source community. “LFX brings our vision to a whole new level,” explains Gabriele Columbro, Executive Director of FINOS. “It’ll give our community access to an even more powerful set of tools and insights, based on the world class expertise of the Linux Foundation and their years of experience managing the world’s most mission-critical OSS projects.”

“LFX brings our vision to a whole new level…”

Gabriele Columbro, Executive Director of FINOS

Perhaps the most anticipated tools in the LFX suite is Insights, which will provide visibility into project performance and ecosystem trends. “One of the biggest challenges for open source projects is being able to define, track, and review key project metrics.” This is according to Jim St. Leger, TAC Chair of LF Edge and early Insights user. “LFX Insights is a fantastic tool that quickly lets people look at key project statistics… and is already becoming a great open source asset.”

But it’s our hope that the open source community will benefit from these tools as well. Students such as Animesh Kumar are the future of open source, and his experience as a mentee in the Q2 2020 Mentorship program was, according to him, “a learning experience of a lifetime… I truly encourage anyone who wants to start contributing to CNCF or other open source projects to participate in this program.”

Developers and sponsors of open source projects hosted by the Linux Foundation can benefit from these tools today. Simply log in with your Linux Foundation account and get started. Other tools, including Crowdfunding and Mentorship, provide valuable resources and best practices to projects not hosted at the Linux Foundation as well as the extended open source community. Find out more about LFX and the Linux Foundation at lfx.linuxfoundation.org.