Governing Board Minutes: 2011/4/21

The OpenJDK Governing Board met via conference call on Thursday, 21 April 2011 at 15:00 UTC with the following agenda:

  1. Initiating the JDK 8 Project
  2. Review of OpenJDK Community Bylaws draft 8

All Board members were present: Jason Gartner, Doug Lea, Adam Messinger, Mike Milinkovich, and Mark Reinhold.

The intent of these minutes is to capture the conversational flow of the Board’s discussion and also to record decisions. If you are interested only in the latter then search for the word “AGREED” throughout the text.

1. Initiating the JDK 8 Project

Mark proposed to initiate the JDK 8 Project immediately, using the existing interim guidelines for creating Projects. The motivation for this is that work on the JDK 7 Project is ramping down in order to stabilize the code for release. Developers are starting to work on features, enhancements, and fixes for JDK 8, and they need to be able to push their changes into a shared code repository.

In an ideal world the new Bylaws would already have been ratified and in place, so that the JDK 8 Project could be initiated using the rules defined therein. That is, unfortunately, not the case, but that’s not a good reason to hold up the start of work on JDK 8.

Doug objected to this proposal, observing that the activity of creating and ratifying the Bylaws has already taken several more months than he’d expected, due primarily to delays on Oracle’s part. The Board should use this as an opportunity to apply leverage, forcing Oracle to finish the Bylaws and wait until they are ratified and in place before allowing the JDK 8 Project to be created. Mike agreed with this view.

Adam asked Mark to estimate when the Bylaws could be in place. Mark replied that his best guess was around the end of May: Two weeks for a public review of the next draft, a week to make any required revisions, and two weeks for the ratification vote. The biggest risk in this timeline is the need for Oracle’s legal department to review the next Bylaws draft prior to their public release.

Adam then stated that if the JDK 8 Project is not created soon then Oracle engineers will work on JDK 8 behind closed doors for five or six weeks until the Bylaws are in place and the Project can be created. That doesn’t seem like the right course of action, given our goal of operating transparently.

Doug replied that he’s perfectly okay with that. It’s more important to finish the Bylaws than to start work on JDK 8 in the open, and if embarrassing Oracle with this delay will help get the Bylaws finished then so be it. Doug further speculated that there would be pressure from engineers within Oracle to resolve this issue; Adam disagreed, noting that working behind closed doors is actually a more comfortable mode of operation for most Oracle engineers.

Jason agreed with Doug and Mike, saying that pushing forward on the open governance model is the right thing even though this delay will cause some consternation within IBM. Jason then offered an alternative proposal: Rather than wait for the Bylaws to be ratified before initiating the JDK 8 Project, instead just wait until the ratification vote has begun.

Mike supported Jason’s alternative proposal, noting that the point here is to make tangible progress on getting the new governance model up and running.

Adam asked if the JDK 8 Project could be initiated when the public review of the next Bylaws draft begins. Mike asked if the draft will have been reviewed by Oracle’s legal department, which is the most unpredictable risk in the overall effort; Adam replied that it would.

It was then unanimously

AGREED: The JDK 8 Project will be initiated once the next draft of the Bylaws have been reviewed and approved by the Board and by Oracle’s legal department, and posted for the next round of public review.

2. Review of OpenJDK Community Bylaws draft 8

Mark asked if anyone had comments on draft 8 of the Bylaws, which he sent to the Board for review last Friday, 15 April.

Doug and Mike had already indicated in e-mail that they had no comments. Jason agreed that this draft is ready for public review, and said that IBM’s legal department had also reviewed and approved it.

The Board then thanked Mark for his work on the Bylaws and unanimously

AGREED: Draft 8 of the Bylaws is approved by the Board.

Mark had one last question about the Bylaws: What should be the date of the annual election for the At-Large members of the Board? The draft says “the first day of April each year”, but at this point the Bylaws won’t be in place until around the end of May. Holding elections at that time of year, when people are starting to transition to their summer schedules, could reduce overall participation.

Mike said that holding elections on the first of April was fine, given that we’ve been operating as a Board for some time already.

It was then unanimously

AGREED: The annual election of the At-Large members of the Board will take place on the first day of April each year.

At this point the Board adjourned.