OpenJDK Community Bylaws and Governing Board

Dr Andrew John Hughes gnu_andrew at
Thu Feb 3 22:38:31 UTC 2011

On 3 February 2011 17:59,  <mark.reinhold at> wrote:
> A draft of the OpenJDK Community Bylaws is now available and an initial
> Governing Board has been named.  For further information please see:
> - Mark

I pretty much agree with everything Mark Wielaard just said, but here
are my initial impressions from reading this draft.  I'd be happy to
be proved wrong on the assumptions herein.

* 'The OpenJDK Lead is responsible for the overall technical direction
and activities of the major efforts within the Community, and for the
openness and transparency of the development process. The OpenJDK Lead
sits on the Governing Board.'
'The Governing Board is not an executive body: It has no direct
authority over technical or release decisions; that authority is held
by the OpenJDK Lead. '

So the project's direction is dictated not by the community, but by
one person appointed not by consensus but by Oracle.  Not good.

* 'A Participant is an individual who has subscribed to one or more
OpenJDK mailing lists. A Participant may post messages to a list,
submit simple patches, and make other kinds of small contributions.'

So we can finally have trivial patches go in without an OCA?  Nice to
see some progress.
On the flipside, I think Mark already outlined pretty clearly the
whole issue with having higher positions that this dominated by
copyright assignment to one corporate entity.

* 'An OpenJDK member is a Contributor who has demonstrated a history
of significant contributions to the Community'

Who determines 'significant'?  This seems essential, given effectively
these members get control over most of OpenJDK as a whole (voting
rights, etc.)

*'    * 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.

A board dominated by Oracle, with a position for IBM who have so far
contributed next to nothing, and two members chosen by a vote from
'OpenJDK members', presumably most of which will be Oracle employees.

* 'The members of the initial Governing Board are:

 - Adam Messinger (Chair, Oracle),
 - Jason Gartner (Vice Chair, IBM),
 - Prof. Doug Lea (At-Large, SUNY Oswego),
 - Mike Milinkovich (At-Large, Eclipse), and
 - Yours truly (OpenJDK Lead, Oracle).'

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've only seen contributions from two of
these five to OpenJDK (you and Doug).  Why have they been given these
positions?  Why should they get to make decisions over people who have
actually done work on OpenJDK?

What happens if we don't want to abide by these rules?  Do we not get
to join the OpenJDK club?

This seems less like progress than a step backwards into proprietary JDK land.
Andrew :-)

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