Fri 4 Feb 2011
Mark Reinhold has published a draft of the OpenJDK community bylaws and Governing Board, and both Mark Wielaard and Simon Phipps have already responded with their comments.
Things do not look positive. The new rules set out a governing board (GB) dominated by assigned positions for Oracle and IBM employees (the latter having so far contributed little to OpenJDK). There are two elected positions, but the elections process described in the draft gives votes only to “OpenJDK Members”. These members are defined as those who have made “significant contributions” but with no description of how such significance will be decided. My guess is that most of these members, at least initially, will be Oracle employees as well, leading to the board being pretty much dominated by Oracle and IBM.
The rules also give overall power to the “OpenJDK lead” which is one of the two GB positions appointed by Oracle. They get to dictate the direction of the project.
There is some positive aspects, one of the main ones being the definition of an “OpenJDK participant” which finally allows trivial patches to be committed without the need for Oracle copyright assignment. However, the rules mainly codify the current status quo (which is far from ideal) in stone, entrenching Oracle as supreme overlords, and also giving rights to IBM, despite their lack of contribution to the project so far.
Even with a positive optimistic outlook, Simon Phipps ranks the rules as -3 on a scale of -10 to 10. An interim board has been established, throwing out the existing members and introducing three people who I’ve never seen contribute anything to OpenJDK.
The rules are still in draft, so there is room for change. But I’m not overly optimistic at this stage.