I am happy to hear of the high level of interest among engineers and researchers in participating in ONF. I can understand their enthusiasm, because it is an exciting place to contribute. But let me explain a few things about our fees and how we operate to answer many of the questions they are asking.
The message is that it costs money to run an organisation and that contributing organisations get full access to all of the shared intellectual property. Membership is per company, not per individual and the ONF expects some sort of engagement because of the membership fee. The ONF says they have a good relationship with the research community and it allows only the best of the best researching pioneers participation, not membership, privileges on a per year basis. The ONF thinks they are doing the right thing and they have no plans to change anything at all.
So, my conclusion is that researchers that have no Top Gun status and small companies (of individuals) have no place in the ONF, have no access to the full sources of Openflow and are thus kept outside, on purpose, with the high membership fee as a barrier.
I am a big proponent of Openflow but with this kind of attitude I want to redefine it as Closedflow from the Closed Network Foundation.