This lifecycle document is maintained by the LF Energy Foundation (“LFE”), and its purpose is to:

LFE may adopt or amend this document by votes of its Technical Advisory Council (“TAC”) and Governing Board.



This document provides for five lifecycle stages for contributed projects (“Projects”):

All projects must meet the Sandbox stage requirements. It is possible that some projects may be approved as Incubation and pass a review for the Early Adoption and/or Graduated stage at the same time to advance directly to those stages. 


Projects being submitted to the LF Energy at the sandbox level are intended to be the entry point for early-stage projects. Characteristics for projects at the Sandbox Stage maybe one or more of:


To be accepted at the Sandbox stage, a project must:


The Sandbox Stage benefits are outlined below.


Sandbox Stage projects should provide a quarterly report to the TAC outlining its progress on completing the requirements for the Incubation Stage.

It’s expected that projects in the Sandbox Stage move to the Incubation Stage within one year. In the case of a Sandbox Stage project that is not renewed with LF Energy, the trademark and any other assets will be returned to the project maintainers or an organization they designate.


Incubation projects are projects which the TAC believes are, or have the potential to be, important to the ecosystem of Projects or ecosystem as a whole. They may be early-stage projects just getting started, or they may be long-established projects with minimal resource needs. The Incubation stage provides a beneficial, neutral home for these projects in order to foster collaborative development and provide a path to deeper alignment with other LF Energy projects.

Acceptance Criteria

To be considered for the Incubation Stage, the project must meet the following requirements:


Incubation stage projects receive a broad set of infrastructure and open-source advisement services to ensure the project can mature to the Early Adoption phase. In particular, Incubation projects are entitled to the following benefits in addition to those for Sandbox projects.

Early Adoption

The Early Adoption stage is for projects that are operating as an open-source community and are seeing a growing and diverse number of contributors and users of the project. 

Projects at the Early Adoption phase are focused on industry adoption and have completed the necessary steps for end-users to be able to consider these projects for future production deployments.

Acceptance Criteria

To be considered for the Early Adoption stage, the project must meet the following requirements:


The benefits for Early Adoption stage projects focus on ecosystem enablement. In particular, Early Adoption projects are entitled to the following benefits in addition to those benefits at the Incubation Stage.

Graduated Stage

The Graduated Stage is for projects that have reached their growth goals and are now on a sustaining cycle of development, maintenance, and long-term support. Graduated Stage projects are used commonly in enterprise production environments and have large, well-established project communities.

Acceptance Criteria

To graduate from Incubation or Early Adoption status, or for a new project to join with Graduated status, a project must meet the Early Adoption stage criteria plus:


Graduated Stage projects are considered “TAC Projects” as defined in the LF Energy Charter, with all the rights and responsibilities as defined in the LF Energy Charter. In particular, Graduated Stage projects are entitled to the following benefits in addition to those benefits at the Incubation and Early Adoption stages.

Emeritus Stage

Emeritus projects are projects which the maintainers or the TAC feel have reached or are nearing end-of-life. Emeritus projects have contributed to the ecosystem, but are not necessarily recommended for modern development as there may be more actively maintained choices. LF Energy appreciates the contributions of these projects and their communities, and the role they have played in moving the ecosystem forward.

Projects in this stage are not in active development. Their maintainers may infrequently monitor their repositories, and may only push updates to address security issues, if at all. Emeritus projects should clearly state their status and what any user or contributor should expect in terms of response or support. If there is an alternative project the maintainers recommend, it should be listed as well. The foundation will continue to hold the IP and any trademarks and domains, but the project does not draw on foundation resources.

Acceptance Criteria

Projects may be granted Emeritus status via a 2/3 vote from the TAC and with approval from project ownership. In cases where there is a lack of project ownership, only a 2/3 vote from the TAC is required.


Emeritus stage projects will have a long-term home for the project assets and code. Each Emeritus project will have a sponsor from the TAC to monitor any security or trademark concerns raised, and at the TAC’s discretion may address them. LFE will remove the promotion of Emeritus projects from its website and other promotional materials.

Annual Review Process

The TAC will review each project on an annual basis. This review will gauge whether the project is still at the correct maturity stage based on the criteria for the current stage.

Projects will schedule their annual review as part of the next TAC meeting following the anniversary of the project’s acceptance. Projects should prepare a short presentation that covers the following points, which the TAC will use in its review of the project:

Projects can use the template here for this presentation.

Annual reviews require a majority affirmative vote of the TAC for the project to continue at the current stage or the appropriate number of votes to move to the next stage. If the TAC deems the project not to be currently meeting the requirements of the current stage, it may vote to move the project to the appropriate stage or Emeritus stage. The project may choose to move outside of the LFE at any time.


The TAC is expected to review all projects during their next review cycle based on the criteria for each stage and the process as defined in this document.

Any projects on the TAC with a voting seat prior to this lifecycle taking effect will retain a voting seat unless they move to Emeritus status.