At our last Sandbox application review meeting, TOC didn't vote on k3s pending a discussion with the K8s Steering Committee on whether k3s makes more sense as a standalone project or as a subproject of Kubernetes. There are arguably some parallels with kind and minikube (which live within the Kubernetes project) and also with KubeEdge and Virtual Kubelet (which are separate projects).
We had a very productive discussion on this yesterday and reached the conclusion that it makes more sense as a standalone project at this time. I'm now calling a TOC vote on whether to accept k3s into the Sandbox.
* We are asking the k3s team to publish the roadmap (including intention to stay conformant with k8s, and to continue with release cadence) - this is already in the k3s sandbox submission but we'd like to see it documented in the k3s repo itself
* We encourage k3s contributing changes upstream to k8s so that divergence is as small as possible, and we would like to see the projects co-operating harmoniously :-)
And also noting that
* we already have form for "distribution-esque" projects in the form of Thanos & Cortex
* becoming a CNCF sandbox project now does not preclude the possibility that k3s could become part of k8s project in future - only if that were desired by both sides (following the model that kind and minikube fall under k8s right now)
(Amye please can you set up an email vote, no need to wait for the next review meeting)