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Hats Term Limits Policy


The FreeBSD Core team appoints several individuals ("hats") that perform critical roles within the project. It is important to reduce single points of failure in these roles. Additionally, turnover in hats can provide fresh insight and help avoid burnout.

The current set of core-appointed hats is core secretary, head release engineer, the security officer, and postmaster.

It is suggested that shortened terms longer than half of a core term be considered a full term for purposes of eligibility.

This policy will begin with the start of the next core term, and all hats will start off with zero terms at that time.

The FreeBSD Core team approved the following hats term limits policy which was posted to the Developers mailing list on June 22, 2012.


An individual may serve as a core-appointed hat for at most two consecutive terms. Each hat's term begins three months after the start of a core team's term and ends three months after the end of a core team's term. Hats are explicitly approved by the new core team at the start of a hat's term. An individual who serves as a hat for two consecutive terms may serve again after a break of at least one full term.

Core shall review all hats annually.

If a hat becomes vacant during a term, core shall appoint a replacement for the remainder of the term. It is at core's discretion whether the shortened term will count for purposes of limiting the terms of the replacement.

If a core team is dissolved prematurely, then the next term for each hat will begin three months after the new core team's term begins. It is at the new core's discretion whether the shortened term will count for purposes of limiting the terms of current hats.

These limits apply to individual hats and not to teams. For teams with a single lead role, the limits shall apply to the lead role. An individual that is not eligible to serve as the lead of a team may continue to serve as a member of the team.