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OpenJDK Bylaws Delay JDK 8 Project, Slightly

by Michael Floyd on May 24, 2011 |

Mark Reinhold introduced the second public draft of the OpenJDK Community Bylaws last week on his Blog. Reinhold is the Chief Architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle, and a member of the interim governing board that oversees the OpenJDK Community. As reported by InfoQ in February the OpenJDK project has been operating without bylaws in place. This particular draft is significant in that its publication clears the way for the JDK 8 project.

At an April governing board meeting Reinhold, in an attempt to push the JDK 8 project forward, proposed to initiate the JDK 8 project under existing interim guidelines. However there was concern by GB members that the passing of bylaws had already taken several months longer than expected. In a post to the gb-discuss mailing list, OpenJDK Vice Chair Jason Gartner wrote:

The new Governing Board is taking longer than expected to establish, and while progress on the bylaws is slower than expected, it seems prudent to get the bylaws accepted and in place ahead of asking for the new Board's approval to establish the OpenJDK8 project.

Ultimately it was decided that the JDK 8 Project could be initiated as soon as the ratification vote on the bylaws had begun rather than waiting for the bylaws to be ratified. In the gb-discuss mailing list, Doug Lea wrote:

...the GB was opposed to indefinitely using old rules for new projects under the possibility of indefinite legal review stalls. But now that we have a definite schedule for ratification, we agree that living under old rules for a finite period for JDK8 makes sense.

In announcing the latest draft of the bylaws Reinhold wrote in his blog:

In this draft we’ve attempted to address all feedback received, both publicly and privately, on the first public draft. If any comments on that draft remain unaddressed or questions remain unanswered then please do let us know.

One issue that seems to have gone unanswered is the criticism from former board member Simon Phipps that the board’s makeup relied heavily on Oracle and IBM. InfoQ reported on this in February. According to Draft 9 of the bylaws document, the governing board is comprised of five contributors:

  • The Chair, appointed by Oracle;
  • The Vice-Chair, appointed by IBM;
  • The OpenJDK Lead, appointed by Oracle; and
  • Two At-Large Members, chosen by the members

Other members have raised concerns regarding the appointment of two members who are not involved directly in the OpenJDK community. This was addressed in a Community Bylaws Q&A, which was posted in conjunction with the bylaws draft document:

It's true that the Chair and Vice-Chair positions are held by business executives who have not yet been active in the Community. These individuals are, however, responsible at their respective companies for directing the efforts of hundreds of engineers who will contribute to the Community. They are also responsible to their companies for delivering supported products based upon JDK Release Projects.

The board is seeking comment by June 2.

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