OpenJDK Governing Board Minutes: 2021/02/25

The OpenJDK Governing Board met via conference call on Thursday, 25 February 2021 at 16:00 UTC with the following agenda:

  1. Observer nomination (Samir)
  2. Any other business

Five Board members were present: Georges Saab, Samir Kamerkar, Andrew Haley, Christian Thalinger, 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. Observer nomination (Samir)

Georges began the meeting by thanking everybody for attending and observing that this would be the required quarterly meeting. He said that the Board's policy to call meetings only when there were agenda items would continue and encouraged Board members to raise potential agenda items whenever they occurred, not just when they were solicited.

Moving to the topic, Samir asked what the process was to nominate an Observer, noting that Steve Wallin (IBM) had recently relinquished this role. Georges replied that it might be worth stepping back to review the intent of the Observer role. He stated that it was a means for the Board to leverage knowledge or expertise of an individual who would not normally be part of the Board's operation. Observers were advisory and were appointed either because they had some particular wisdom to impart or they were helpful during transitions. Georges added that Observers were not appointed based upon company affiliation. As examples, he cited Mike Milinkovich bringing his experiences from the Eclipse Foundation during the Bylaws revision and Steve Wallin, the former Governing Board Vice Chair, during John Duimovich's transition to Vice Chair. When asked if anybody had other examples, Mark noted that the Board appointed Doug Lea as an Observer when he stepped down as one of the original At-Large members.

Chris shared, when he was new, that he too had suggested an Observer because he did not know the criteria and asked Samir why he wanted to nominate an Observer. Samir's response was that he did not have very much exposure to open source communities since that was primarily the responsibility of another part of his organization. He named his candidate, BJ Hargrave of IBM, and outlined his candidate's credentials. While acknowledging respect for the candidate's technical ability, Mark did not believe that the candidate possessed specific expertise that the Board could utilize. Furthermore, the candidate had never contributed to the OpenJDK Community. Chris was confident that Samir already had the necessary skills since the Board does not make technical decisions related to OpenJDK Projects. Georges summarized the Board's sentiment saying that it did not appear appropriate to appoint Samir's candidate. Samir said he understood the Board's position. Georges appreciated the Board's collegiality despite the fact that members are competitors. He hoped that if the Board was ever needed to understand and resolve a technical dispute, the members would help each other gain the deepest understanding to make a wise decision. Various board members expressed agreement with this sentiment.

2. Any other business

Andrew noted that it would be unrealistic to expect any in-person OpenJDK events this year and asked about the possibility of an OpenJDK Committers' Workshop (OCW) in 2022, perhaps as a remote event. Mark responded that a remote event had been briefly discussed, but there was no excitement in that direction. Given the passage of time, perhaps that decision should be reconsidered. He found it interesting to observe organizations struggle to host good a online conference. Andrew agreed that conferences with large numbers of attendees were challenging and the unconference format of the OCW made things particularly difficult. He disclosed that he had yet to enjoy an online conference and considering the effort to organize and/or attend, they were not worth it.

Georges outlined that OCW was traditionally held twice a year, after FOSDEM in February and JVM Language Summit (JVMLS) in July/August. He thought that an in-person meeting after JVMLS 2021 was doubtful since he did not anticipate easy travel by that time. He also believed that an in-person event would be irresponsible given the pandemic's status. Mark suggested that an OCW immediately after FOSDEM 2022 was a possibility. Andrew was hopeful for 2022. He said that he had been contacting people about issues that would normally be a chat at JVMLS. Georges recognized that some valuable kinds of interaction may be difficult to get at a typical conference and much harder to get at virtual versions of those conferences so the problem of keeping people informed needs to be solved in different ways.

At this point, the Board adjourned.