Governing Board Minutes: 2011/4/28

The OpenJDK Governing Board met via conference call on Thursday, 28 April 2011 at 15:00 UTC with the following agenda:

  1. Use of the Chatham House Rule
  2. Status update on Oracle legal work
  3. Cadence for approving and publishing meeting minutes
  4. Observers

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. Use of the Chatham House Rule

Earlier Mike had suggested, in e-mail, that the Board might consider using the Chatham House Rule to produce abridged minutes of sensitive discussions which the Board might otherwise decide to hold in private session.

The Chatham House Rule could encourage freer discussion amongst Board members, but it could also weaken the public perception of the Board by giving less insight into its operation.

Doug surmised that only the corporate representatives on the Board might prefer this rule. Mark observed that regular use of this rule would further weaken the perceived legitimacy of the Board. Mike reiterated that he wasn’t proposing this as the default policy, but rather as an option to be used when discussing sensitive topics. Jason agreed that being non-anonymous by default is preferable, noting that in the JCP even supposedly-private discussions eventually leak out. It was then unanimously

AGREED: Minutes of Board meetings will, by default, identify participants by name. The Chatham House Rule is left as an option to be used when desired and specifically agreed.

Jason asked a clarifying question: When the Board takes a vote, is the vote of each member to be reported as such in the minutes? After a very brief discussion it was unanimously

AGREED: When the Board takes a vote then the vote of each member will be reported in the minutes as having been cast by that member, unless the Board has decided to use the Chatham House Rule or to hold a completely private session.

2. Status update on Oracle legal work

In response to a question by Doug, Adam informed the Board that he expected Oracle’s legal department to start reviewing draft 8 of the OpenJDK Community Bylaws within the next week.

Doug had earlier communicated several changes to the Oracle Contributor Agreement which were suggested by potential contributors of his acquaintance. Adam promised to find someone at Oracle to work on proposing those changes for review by Oracle’s legal department.

3. Cadence for approving and publishing meeting minutes

Jason suggested that it would be good to have a regular cadence for the production, review, and posting of Board meeting minutes. Given that Board meetings are presently scheduled on Thursdays, he specifically suggested that the goal should be for minutes to be:

This cadence would allow immediate public comments upon the minutes, if any, to be taken into consideration during the following Board meeting.

It was unanimously

AGREED: The Board should strive to make meeting minutes available for members to review by close-of-business Pacific time on Fridays, to have each member’s approval no later than the same time on Mondays (assuming no objections), and to post the minutes publicly on Tuesdays.

4. Observers

The upcoming draft of the OpenJDK Community Bylaws defines a Governing Board Observer role as follows:

The Governing Board may, by a Simple Majority vote, invite specific individuals to attend Governing Board meetings as Observers. Such individuals need not be OpenJDK Members. Observers are welcome to both listen and contribute to the conversation, but they do not have any voting rights. The Governing Board may remove an Observer by a Simple Majority vote.

This role was created in response to comments, both public and private, to the effect that some historically-significant OpenJDK contributors are not represented on the Board.

Jason asked if those who thought themselves harmed by these omissions would actually accept such a role. Adam replied that he had received private feedback to the effect that this would be a step in the right direction.

Jason then asked whether Observer seats would be for individuals or for organizations. Mark pointed out that the draft Bylaws require that Observer seats be assigned to specific individuals.

It was then unanimously

AGREED: Board members would assemble an initial list of potential Observers to be considered at the next meeting.

At this point the Board adjourned.