Governance Board Minutes: 2008/4/10

The fifth meeting of the OpenJDK Governance Board took place via conference call on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 16:00 UTC, with the following agenda:

1 Dalibor’s change of status
2 Charter renewal
3 Building community before formalizing governance

All GB members were present: Doug Lea, Fabiane Nardon, Dalibor Topic, Simon Phipps, and Mark Reinhold.

The intent of these minutes is to capture the conversational flow of the GB’s discussion and also to record agreed-upon resolutions. If you are interested only in the latter then search for the word AGREED throughout the text.

1 Dalibor’s change of status

Dalibor had announced on his blog [1] that he would start working for Sun Microsystems on 15 April 2008. Mark presented three different options for dealing with that change of status:

A Dalibor steps down, Simon steps down, Sun appoints Dalibor as the second Sun member of the Interim Governance Board, and then Sun appoints someone else from outside Sun to fill Dalibor’s current seat.

Advantage would be that this option looks good from a community perspective, and is consistent with what the GB has discussed before in terms of having the Constitution require that no one organization hold a majority of the GB seats.

Disadvantage would be losing Simon’s expertise in the process of drafting a Constitution.

B Since the charter of the Interim GB does not actually require that the Community seats not be held by Sun employees, and Sun employees are Members of the OpenJDK Community, then we can retain the status quo, i.e., both Dalibor and Simon stay.

This option was discussed on the #openjdk IRC channel on Tuesday, 8 April 2008.

Advantage would be keeping Simon on board.

Disadvantage would be a Sun majority on the Interim GB.

C Sun expands the Interim GB by at least one seat, if not two, and Sun fills them with people who are not Sun employees.

This option was suggested by Simon to Mark on Wednesday, 9 April 2008.

Advantage would be broadening the Community representation on the GB, while also allowing Simon to stay on.

Disadvantage would be a larger GB, which would make consensus harder to achieve.

Fabiane wanted Simon to stay on board, and preferred option C. Doug preferred whatever option would cause this Interim GB to be dissolved first, so increasing the number of people who can produce rather than guide or critique documents and constitutions and rules would be really wonderful. Dalibor suggested that for him stepping down would be the easiest option, but it would burden the GB with having to find a replacement for the brief interim period before being rechartered at JavaOne under option C. Doug suggested that with Dalibor working at Sun, now there is somebody new who can put some energy and attention to the work on the Constitution, which requires access to Sun’s legal and other resources. Dalibor was happy to include the GB work in his duties, and favored option C. Doug agreed. Simon suggested to go with option C, expanding the GB by two members, based on his experience with OpenSolaris, with three members from Sun, and four members outside Sun. Mark’s favored option was C as well, expanding the board to seven members.

2 Charter renewal

After the above discussion the GB unanimously

AGREED To request Sun Microsystems to amend the OpenJDK Charter to expand the number of GB members to seven, with three members employed by Sun and four members from outside Sun.

The GB then discussed potential candidates for the two additional seats, and

AGREED To ask Doug and Mark contact potential candidates.

The GB then discussed the role Dalibor should play until the GB is rechartered, and

AGREED To ask Dalibor to publicly state that he will continue to participate, but abstain from voting until the GB is rechartered.

3 Building community before formalizing governance

The GB then went on to discuss the schedule for the Constitution. Mark pointed out that the initial schedule was optimistic; due to changes in Sun’s priorities over the past year the work on the Constitution is running behind the schedule and won’t be finished by JavaOne, as originally planned. In conversations over the past few months with Dalibor, Simon, and others, Mark had concluded that building the Community and the infrastructure for collaboration was much more important than formalizing governance, and prioritized his work accordingly.

Dalibor pointed out that currently the Community is for the largest part made up of Sun employees, and he’d prefer to see it grow to include significant Membership from outside Sun. Once a Constitution is ratified it will likely take a significant effort by new Community Members to amend it, so it would be better to grow the Community first than to rush to draft a Constitution that would ultimately end up being very tailored to what Sun wants.

Fabiane agreed that the Community as a whole has been more concerned about infrastructure and participation than about the Constitution, and suggested that the project should strive to increase non-Sun participation in all areas in order to be able to have a Constitution that makes sense for everyone. Mark agreed, and pointed out that a rushed Constitution would likely undergo fairly heavy revision as the Community grew. Doug pointed out that not doing things out of fear of doing them wrong was a bad idea. He instead suggested that if the GB wants want a thoughtful, high-quality, but not permanent and not oriented towards perfection Constitution out there by the end of the year, and driving that would be part of Dalibor’s tasks at Sun, that would be a great reason to adjust the schedule. Dalibor agreed, and the GB went on to discuss the schedule for further infrastructure improvements, and how that affected the schedule for a Constitution draft.

Simon proposed to have the Community reaffirm the Interim GB and the interim governance rules with the modification to increase the number of GB members to seven, for another 18 months. Doug liked the idea. Mark objected, noting that running a plenary vote in the couple of weeks before JavaOne would be logistically challenging since most of the Members work at Sun. Dalibor agreed, and Fabiane pointed out that, realistically, nothing is going to happen until after JavaOne.

Mark observed that the majority of Community Members working at Sun would be on vacation in the weeks after JavaOne, so early June/July would be the best time to start with regular calls and the discussion of drafts. Dalibor committed to writing up remaining minutes, and Mark was happy to delegate that task.

With that, the GB

AGREED To strive for a draft Constitution by the end of the year; and
AGREED To ask Dalibor to prepare the minutes of this meeting, and of the October meeting, as soon as possible.

At this point the GB adjourned.