OpenJDK Community Bylaws and Governing Board

Mike Milinkovich mike.milinkovich at
Tue Feb 8 13:36:09 PST 2011

> I don't think anybody thinks Oracle and/or IBM should be
> denied representation on the board. But the choice of nominees
> is certainly questionable. As is the fact that some of these
> seats seem to be by appointment only. If you want to have a
> IBM representative on the board, why not nominate someone like
> Steve Poole who actively communicates with the rest of the
> participants in the community? Just like Mark is a good choice
> for a nomination that will make Oracle feel like being represented.
> However nominating (or even just appointing without discussion)
> people from these companies who have not even once participated
> on the mailinglists means we do have a big problem. IMHO.

For good or bad, I think I can help explain the corporate logic that goes
into the appointees you are referring to. Simply put, they are the
executives who control the resources and business deliverables. Adam is the
SVP in charge of Java Platform at Oracle. Jason is the Director of the Java
Technology Centre at IBM. They have the responsibility to their respective
businesses to ensure that Java and OpenJDK are successful. And it is, to a
certain extent, their jobs on the line if it screws up. A more positive
interpretation of their involvement on the board is that it is a reflection
of the seriousness with which their respective companies view the OpenJDK

The Eclipse Board explicitly has a mix of business-centric and
community-centric representatives on it. In practice, it has actually worked
well because the diversity of views have generally speaking resulted in
better decisions. Diversity takes many forms, but it is almost always a
force for good.

Note that I am not making a value judgement on any of this. I'm just
explaining how it works. Please don't shoot the messenger :-)

A theme that I've noticed in several comments is one which could be
summarized as "the board needs to be bigger, with a more diverse
representation". That is perfectly valid and actionable feedback and I've
noted it. But I would also point out that it's not really a criticism of the
draft Bylaws per se, as it is certainly possible to grow the board within
the proposed governance framework.


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