OpenJDK Community Bylaws and Governing Board

Mark Wielaard mark at
Sat Feb 5 04:56:01 PST 2011

On Fri, February 4, 2011 19:12, Doug Lea wrote:
> Here are a few followups. My main hope is that, for
> present purposes, people will focus on the bylaws
> themselves, and not on related but distinct issues
> such as revising contributor agreements. These also
> need attention, but first things first.

Some of these things are crucial for effective governance.
Ignoring those issues means you are crippling the community
and board by design. I really like Simon's score card, you
really need to make sure you address at least every item on
that list to get a real community going. Or as someone said
less politely, without addressing all issues, you are just
setting up some nice rules for working in the sweat-shop.

Seriously, if you are not addressing these things, please
at least document the rational for not addressing these issue.
And who is responsible for them if not the community of participants
nor the governance board.

>>> The Bylaws define a Governing Board which "oversees the structure,
>>> operation, and overall health of the Community.  It upholds and
>>> maintains
>>> these Bylaws, resolves procedural disputes, and ensures that sufficient
>>> infrastructure is available to Community members.
>> There is no definition what infrastructure.
> I recommended that we not enshrine a particular infrastructure
> in the bylaws. However perhaps this could be minimally
> specified by replacing "sufficient infrastructure" with
> "code repositories"? (See also last item below).

The reason I brought it up, is that it should be clear whether or
not it is ultimately the governance board and by extension the
community who controls what happens with the resources or not.
If you are not in control, then just document that.

>>> The OpenJDK Community is an association of developers who collaborate
>>> upon open-source implementations of present and future versions of the
>>> Java Platform, Standard Edition, as defined by the Java Community
>>> Process
> As you might expect from me or anyone else who understands that
> the JCP is an irrelevant body, I was OK with its reference here
> only because I don't know of another way to say what JavaSE is
> without wasting pages of boring description.


But either it is an irrelevant body and then OpenJDK shouldn't be
linked to it, or it is relevant, but then we have the problem that
the chaos or legal issues around the JCP leak into OpenJDK.

So, does OpenJDK implement/define JavaSE or not?
It might be more constructive to admit the reality that OpenJDK
is just the code base that is done in the open by the community
and then others might or might not use that code base for defining
JavaSE under their own separate rules. Just don't link them if
the rules are in conflict.

>>> The Governing Board consists of five individuals:
>>>   * The Chair, appointed by Oracle;
>>>   * The Vice-Chair, appointed by IBM;
>>>   * The OpenJDK Lead, appointed by Oracle; and
>>>   * Two At-Large Members, nominated and elected as described below.
>> It doesn't seem right that the first three say they are appointments.
> I didn't like this much at first. But notice from the various
> Voting Rules clauses, that having more than one dissent is
> generally enough to kill "important" votes. And starting with
> a small GB to oversee the OpenJDK reboot seems to be the only
> way to get it done any time soon. So I'm not convinced that
> it should be changed for initial bylaws.

Killing votes goes both ways.
I just object to the appointed part.

As others have said, it is perfectly clear why you and Mark
are part of the initial board. The other appointed people
however have no known interaction with the community. So
why are the even on the board? There are better candidates
to choose from from the current community and/or previous
government boards.

>> ... rules to make sure that JSR spec, RI and
>> TCK licenses will be published under GPL-compatible terms so they can be
>> used by OpenJDK participants.
> Note that you could equally have said that repositories must
> make available the code, javadocs (aka specs) and tests necessary
> for Contributors to contribute, in which case I agree.

That would be a very good addition. Make sure that projects
and/or contributions consist of everything necessary under free
licenses, code, specifications and conformance tests.

Thanks for the feedback,


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