What has the Foundation been up to?

A Q2 update from Rebecca Rumbul

We have officially passed the 2022 half-way mark, and I wanted to provide an update on what we have been doing internally within the Foundation during the second quarter.

In short — we have been quite busy. Over the past three months, we have built significantly on the work of Q1, continuing to build our internal administrative, financial and legal processes, and finalizing the migration of a lot of functions previously managed by consultants into the Foundation. Alongside this, we have been trying to deliver on real programs of work externally, such as Cloud Compute and the Community Grants Program, that will benefit Rust maintainers. As a new organization, we continue to reflect on how we have done things and how we can improve them in future.

Staffing & Administration

While much of the initial HR set up was conducted in Q1, many policies and procedures remained to be developed, in particular concerning the standardization of recruitment practices. Q2 saw the first fully open recruitment exercise conducted by the Foundation executive for an Infrastructure Engineer — a position identified as much-needed by the Infra Team. The Foundation worked with Project leaders to sift applications and conduct first round interviews, and used the Applied platform to try to remove bias in the process. Recruitment is incredibly time-consuming, and we were very grateful to the Project Leaders involved for participating in this process.

We got a lot of feedback on the process, in particular around encouraging diverse candidates, advertising salary bands, accommodating candidates that are not neurotypical, and being more transparent about contract details, and we are trying to figure out how we might incorporate or action that feedback.

Finance & Legal

A lot of the financial and regulatory actions needed to keep the Foundation ticking over were previously contracted out before we had a full time ED and staff. In Q1 and Q2 we worked on migrating responsibility for these things from previous consultants to the Foundation. This gives us more power over our own affairs, it makes us much more agile, and is much better value for money. The disentanglement of functions and accounts was a challenging undertaking, as much of the data could not simply be transferred.

Trademark registration continued, with successful registrations in Russia, UK, EU, Belarus, New Zealand and Taiwan. Further Trademark focused work is required in the near future, including a full rewrite of the Trademark policy. This work was paused last year, but the recent discussions on some trademark issues demonstrate that we should develop something more comprehensive, rather than continuing to update the current policy as bugs arise. We hope to involve interested members of the community to work on this with us very soon in Q3.

Membership

Silver level membership continued to grow in Q2, with three new members joining. We are excited that we are currently talking to three new Platinum Member candidates, and we are working hard to bring those organizations on board fully in Q3. New memberships are not only exciting in that they demonstrate just how popular Rust is, but vital to our growth and sustainability. A large and diverse membership means more expertise is available to us, there is greater potential for collaboration, and importantly, diversification of our funding means we are more financially secure.

As a 501(c)(6) membership organization, our membership is open to any organization interested in supporting the design, development, or application of the Projects, provided those entities are in compliance with the terms and conditions of the Foundation’s Certificate of Incorporation, Bylaws, Membership Application, and other policies. Members within each tier of membership (Silver/Gold/Platinum) are treated equally and are entitled to the same benefits of membership. We understand that there are strong feelings in the community about whether membership and/or benefits to members should be restricted based on additional criteria, however our membership structure and the legal landscape we must operate within does not provide for that.

Community Grants Program

We were delighted to complete the application, assessment and award of the first round of the Community Grants Program between April and the end of June. We originally thought that the Program was going to take 2-3 months longer to deliver, so we are pleased that financial support is in place earlier than expected. The administration associated with the Program occupied a significant volume of staff time in Q2, including conducting initial sifts and assessments, conducting calls with applicants, verifying details and coordinating input. Assessments were conducted on over 60 applications, and this process included soliciting expert views from Project leaders and team members, who provided valuable and much-appreciated feedback.

We feel that the Program has gone well, however we know that there is room for improvement in future iterations. We are already beginning to think about how we might make positive changes to the 2023 Program, and we are beginning to fundraise to ensure we can fund it.

Communications & Events

There was a lot of good news for Rust during Q2 — SlashData reported that Rust usage had nearly quadrupled over 24 months to April 2022, and the Stack Overflow report once again identified Rust as ‘Most Loved’ language, with it sharing first place with Python on the ‘Most Wanted’ list for the first time. The comments made by Linus Torvalds teasing Rust in the Linux kernel’s next release also turned a lot of heads, and the OpenSSF report on mobilizing OSS security names Rust as a key potential tool in making the internet more secure. It is really great to see industry media picking up these and other positive stories about Rust.

I attended the Linux Foundation OSS Summit in June, and felt that it was a useful and educational event. There were a lot of sessions where I got to learn about how other OSS Projects and Foundations operate and how they tackle common issues. Importantly, I got to have individual conversations with people genuinely interested in supporting OSS effectively, I met with current and potential members of the Rust Foundation, and other bodies looking to potentially support the great work we do.

Looking forward...

We began quite a few exciting conversations about collaborative projects, memberships, new in-kind resources and new funding in recent weeks, and over the next few months we are going to be working on making these ideas and possibilities a reality. We are trying to build on the political momentum behind security in OSS to identify how we can work with our members to support security in Rust, we are going to be working on updating our Trademark Policy, which we will consult on publicly shortly, we will be attending a few more events to meet more of our fellow Rustaceans (including the OSS Summit Europe, where we will be speaking about the Rust Foundation), and we will be opening applications for Project Grants from the Community Grants Fund in the autumn.