OpenJDK Governing Board Minutes: 20011/4/21

Mark Wielaard mark at
Sun May 8 19:44:55 UTC 2011

Hi Doug,

> The GB prepared a response to previous rounds of feedback that
> address some of these, but is also still held up because the
> Oracle members of GB require it to go through legal review (sigh).

It isn't that strange that some legal review is needed for legal
agreements are made effective. But you might consider just
publishing the boards thoughts on it and let people know that
they aren't final before legal feedback has been processed.
Then people can a) actually see what has been and what hasn't
been addressed yet, b) learn something about legal pitfalls
when the legal review is returned, and c) possibly contribute
their own legal resources to help with the legal review.

Since this is a free software project the Software Freedom
Law Center for example can help. And there are other companies
contributing which have some lawyers on staff that can provide
corporate legal feedback to speed up the process.

>> - Get rid of the SCA. Commit to using the GPL for everything.
>>   People should be able to be members of the community without
>>   having to assign all their rights on non-reciprocal terms to
>>   Oracle.
> I don't think this can happen, but the OCA (was SCA) can
> at least be improved to address most concerns that appear to
> have caused some potential contributors to hesitate doing
> so. My guess is that some aspects of non-reciprocity will
> likely remain though.

I am looking forward to the improvements. The reciprocity is
important, but so is equality and clear rules on inbound and
outbound licensing. I don't think this is a "can happen", but
more a "must happen" to create a really healthy community of

>> - Don't tie OpenJDK work to the JCP/JSRs as long as those use
>>   terms which are community-hostile/GPL-incompatible.

> The bylaws can avoid any *necessary* linkage between OpenJDK
> and JCP, modulo harmless dependencies based on JCP
> currently defining what JavaN consists of. On the other hand,
> some projects may choose to operate using rules based on
> JCP expert groups etc.

Sure. What I think is most important is that we prevents something
like what happened with JSR336 [*]. Where the open and free code
of OpenJDK ended up in a proprietary RI (which forbids usage for
learning from it and improving OpenJDK itself), the documentation
was turned into a GPL-incompatible specification, with community
hostile terms, and it came with a TCK that cannot be used by the
OpenJDK community.

As long as the JSRs "tied to" OpenJDK projects use GPL-compatible
terms for their RI, spec and TCKs, working together with experts
groups shouldn't be a problem. But that IMHO should be the minimum
requirement for any linkage with the JCP.

At Fosdem there were talks where people said they had wanted to
do work based on some JSR, but the legal terms prevented them
from even accepting the click-through, so they had to base
their implementation on other publicly available documentation,
testing lots of applications and just guessing what the actual
spec would have said because they could use them... [**]

>> - Create a board without non-OpenJDK hackers or appointed seats.

> For now I'll just say: The revised bylaws include several
> compromises on this point.

That sounds great.
Thanks for your work on all of this.



[*] Not everything that happened with that JSR was bad. A lot
    of good was being done by several individual, it was just
    the legal mess that was a disaster. The positive side and
    the thanks to various individuals are described here:

[**] This one for example, where there is a whole slide about
     the problem:

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