Some thoughts about OpenJDK Constitution

David Herron David.Herron at Sun.COM
Wed Oct 24 11:30:05 PDT 2007

Hi Andy, you've got some great questions and ideas here.

The core thing I see here is a matter of 'scope', what scope does the 
OpenJDK community encompass?

I know we at Sun in establishing the OpenJDK project intend the scope to 
be just the source code of Sun's JDK.

For example...

'Compatibility with other implementations': That's the job of the JCP.. 
because it's the JCP and JSR's and TCK's which define compatibility with 
the specification.  It's the joint compatibility with the specification 
which determines compatibility between Java implementations.

Um, as the Quality rep in this... I can say that we at Sun are doing 
testing of the jdk7 binary builds and are trusting that since the source 
for openjdk and jdk7 is almost entirely the same that jdk7 testing is 
enough to ensure the openjdk is good quality.  But we generally don't do 
specific testing of openjdk builds.

'TCK considered part of the OpenJDK': Um.. this raises some interesting 
questions for me, that are related to the proposed Conformance group.  
I'm thinking the Java TCK (JCK) belongs in the JCP scope rather than the 
OpenJDK scope.  All TCK's are defined as part of a JSR, and the JCK is 
no different.

Those are all the thoughts I have, and I wish to thank you for stirring 
up some good thinking on my part.  I hope to help stir others to discussion.

- David Herron

Andy Tripp wrote:
> Here are some random thoughts on the OpenJDK constitution.
> I assume you're way ahead on this, but using the
> OpenSolaris constitution as a starting point would make sense.
> One thing that the constitution should be explicit about is the scope of
> "the OpenJDK Community". From your first two meeting minutes, you seem to
> be clearly headed towards covering just the OpenJDK implementation, not
> other implementations or the Java development community in general.
> Clarity on this in the constitution is needed so that later
> you don't get stuck if confronted with
> an issue where you have to decide between what's best for
> the OpenJDK community and what's best for some larger community.
> The constitution should specify the bounds of the JDK:
> Is the TCK considered part of the OpenJDK?
> Are licensing issues part of OpenJDK?
> Is compatibility with other implementations considered part of the 
> OpenJDK?
> What will your relationship be with alternative implementations? For 
> example,
> should you be having any discussions about Harmony at all? At what 
> point would IcedTea
> be considered a part of the JDK? Will you support the interests of 
> OpenJDK only,
> or also other implementations? For example, suppose you need to handle 
> a dispute or a
> request that involves an alternate implementation; would it matter 
> whether that alternate
> is Harmony, Classpath, or (a not-yet-merged) IcedTea? Or suppose you 
> need to choose
> between two competing implementations for a new feature, say one from 
> Sun and one
> from IcedTea. What would be the guiding principles for choosing?
> What will be your stance be on "Open Source" and "Free Software"? I 
> noticed that
> in your first two meetings, you often talked about "open source" but 
> rarely
> about "free". The OpenSolaris constitution mentions "Open source" and 
> the OSI,
> but never "free software" and the FSF. The easy answer is "we're 
> both", but
> what if some issue comes down to "that goes against what Free Software 
> is all about"?
> Is Freedom a goal? For that matter, assuming that "Open Source" a 
> goal, should that
> be stated in the constitution? And if stated, should you specify
> that OSI compliance is a goal, do you say something about "Open Source 
> principles",
> or just leave it ambiguous? The reason I bring this up is that if you 
> look at the current
> TCK/Harmony issue, you might find that it comes down to whether to 
> follow the
> spirit or the letter of "open source". Better to get the GB all on the 
> same page
> of guiding principles right off the bat.
> What will the relationship be between the GB (and OpenJDK in general) 
> and Sun?
> The OpenSolaris contitution simply says that their GB is the "official 
> liaison" to Sun.
> I think this may be too vague. For example, if OpenJDK decides on a 
> change, but the
> Sun employees can't or won't make the change, what happens? What's the 
> relationship
> between the GB/OpenJDK and the JCP?
> Will there be any mechanism to avoid "ballot stuffing", for both the GB
> and the groups, such as Microsoft just
> did with OSI for OOXML? What's to stop one company from adding
> a few hundred JCP members and controlling the JCP elections and the GB?
> I'm surprised that the OpenSolaris constitution says nothing about 
> overall principles.
> I think it should state some guiding principles, such as:
> * The ongoing maintenance, enhancement, and viability of OpenJDK
> * Increased community participation in OpenJDK development
> * Collaboration with alternative implementations (or not)
> * Collaboration with ports of the reference implementation (or not)
> * Adherence to principles of Open Source and/or Free Software (or not)
> Finally, you say the GB will be both a legislative and a judicial 
> "branch".
> But I haven't seen what "laws" or rules the GB would be creating, so I 
> don't
> see how it's legislative. Will the GB have any role in creating rules, 
> or is
> it strictly for settling disputes?
> I hope you find these thoughts useful.
> Thanks for making the process open, and good luck with it.
> Andy Tripp

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