Some thoughts about OpenJDK Constitution

Dalibor Topic robilad at
Wed Oct 24 16:54:56 PDT 2007

Andy Tripp wrote:
> Here are some random thoughts on the OpenJDK constitution.

Thank you for posting them, Andy.

> 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.

It's a self-bootstrapping definition. We're starting with the simplest
definition of community we have, and as the OpenJDK project adds further
groups & projects, I believe the boundary of what constitutes the
OpenJDK community will become less and less OpenJDK implementation
specific, and expand to include hybrid implementations, for example.

> The constitution should specify the bounds of the JDK:
> Is the TCK considered part of the OpenJDK?

As long as its code is not published as part of OpenJDK, probably no.

But the proposed conformance group, otoh, would be part of the OpenJDK
community, even if some of the tools it uses aren't.

> Are licensing issues part of OpenJDK?

Licensing changes are out of reach of the (interim) governance board per
its charter, if that's what you mean.

> Is compatibility with other implementations considered part of the OpenJDK?

That's what we have the JCP, and the OpenJDK TCK license for.

> What will your relationship be with alternative implementations? 

Good, I hope!

> For
> example,
> should you be having any discussions about Harmony at all? 

As long as they relate to development on OpenJDK, sure, why not.

> At what point
> would IcedTea
> be considered a part of the JDK? 


Once there is an official group / project proposal and it's accepted.

> What will be your stance be on "Open Source" and "Free Software"?

To borrow a bit from Simon Phipps, I'd call OpenJDK "Free Software
developed in an Open Source fashion".

But to me, personally, both are rather interchangeable, and I use one
when I want to emphasize the liberties, and the other one when I want to
emphasize the process.

> 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.

The TCK is orthogonal to OpenJDK's Free Software status. You don't need
the TCK in order to use, learn from, modify, or distribute OpenJDK, or
to contribute to it.

You need it if you want additional privileges and compatibility
guarantees (which are all very desirable things, of course).

> What will the relationship be between the GB (and OpenJDK in general)
> and Sun?

That remains to be formalized.

> What's the
> relationship
> between the GB/OpenJDK and the JCP?

Orthogonal. See

I'd expect OpenJDK to have a bit of a halo effect on JSR RIs going into
it, as it makes sense to develop them with the OpenJDK community, rather
then behind closed doors.

But I don't expect OpenJDK or the GB to take (or even desire) a formal
role in the JCP as such.

> 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?


OpenJDK != ISO, so paying a few thousand dollars here and there won't
get Microsoft influence. Coincidentally, We've discussed in our face to
face meeting how to avoid control of the GB by a single entity, and I
hope we'll get the minutes published soon.

> What's to stop one company from adding
> a few hundred JCP members and controlling the JCP elections and the GB?

JCP members != OpenJDK members.

In general, the interim rules, afair, require members to be approved by
their peers. That should suffice to avoid egregious stuffing, I hope.

> 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)

Thank you, those are all good suggestions, and I'd put them on the
agenda for the next call, with your approval.

> 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?

Legislative: changes to the constitution, charter, defining membership,
voting, etc.
Judical: actual dispute resolution.

There are some legislative necessities to be dealt with by the GB per
charter, but I am sure no one on the current IGB has legislative
ambitions that go far beyond that, as the minutes of the phone calls show.

We haven't really discussed a way to formalize dispute resolution yet.

> I hope you find these thoughts useful.
> Thanks for making the process open, and good luck with it.

Thanks, Andy, and thank you for contributing to make them better.

dalibor topic

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