Community Council/Items/Charter Proposal

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This page is for review of propsed changes to the charter. The charter text that is published here is not approved.

For the current and approved charter see

Version 1.2 (proposal)

Last updated 2008-??-??

The Council Charter

Objectives of the Council

The Community (“the Community”) exists through the activities of members in its various Projects. The Community Council (“the Community Council”) exists to support the activity of the Projects through:

  1. Co-ordinating the activities of the Projects to make sure the whole is more than the sum of its parts
  2. Owning and managing Community-wide assets
  3. Arbitrating issues which may arise between Projects, or issues which cannot be resolved within a Project
  4. Representing the Community to external organisations and the public

In scope activities

The Council will assume responsibility for the following activities in pursuit of its objectives:

  1. Co-ordinating the activities of the Projects to make sure the whole is more than the sum of its parts
    1. Create new Projects; dissolve inactive Projects; encourage the development and growth of Projects
    2. Consider proposals and pass recommendations to Project Leads for their Project's activities
    3. Coordinate Projects on tasks and issues which involve more than one Project.
    4. Coordinate the activities required to produce public stable version releases
  2. Owning and managing Community-wide assets
    1. The Community Council will manage funds donated centrally to the Community
    2. The Community Council will be reponsible for providing and managing common assets needed by Projects (web, mailing lists, code repositories, etc)
    3. The Community Council will ensure that all Council elections are conducted in accordance with the rules
  3. Arbitrating issues which may arise between Projects, or issues which cannot be resolved within a Project
    1. Arbitrate community members' appeals of decisions by the Project Leads
    2. Compose and distribute new or modified guidelines for Community membership, including setting criteria for what constitutes Community membership.
    3. Remove members from the Community, under the extraordinary circumstances where it is necessary to do so, according to written guidelines adopted by the Council.
    4. Arbitrate disputes between members of the Community which affect their or others' participation in
  4. Representing the Community to external organisations and the public
    1. Represent as a community to the general public and the media.
    2. Create, maintain, and end relationships with external sponsors, donors, and other Open Source projects.
    3. Coordinate with producers of derivative commercial products and with open-source projects on long-term development planning issues.

Out of scope activities

The Council will only undertake activities in pursuit of its objectives. Specifically, it will not:

  1. take Intellectual property ownership of
  2. select the Licenses under which is released
  3. sign contracts or enter into binding legal agreements
  4. attempt to directly manage individual projects, except where strictly necessary in pursuing the Council's duties above

Council Members

The Council shall consist of ten members. Members undertake to ascertain the views of the constituency they represent, bring those views to the Council, and represent the Council to their constituency. In addition, all members will be expected to work for the good of the Community as a whole.

Elected members

  1. Three “Code Contributor Representatives” to represent the developers who actively contribute source code to the code repository.
  2. Three “Product Development Representatives” to represent project members contributing to the product development outwith code contribution (e.g. documentation, qa, distribution, marketing ...).
  3. Two "Native Language Representatives" to represent the members of the Native Language Confederation.
  4. One Community Contributor Representative who has demonstrated active participation in the Project and advocacy of end users, but is not eligible for election for any of the other seats on the Council. This particularly refers to prominent members of's online user community.

Appointed members

  1. One representative from Sun Microsystems, the founding and principle sponsor of the Community and holder of key Community assets. The Council will include one person appointed by Sun who can represent Sun's interests to the Council and champion Council recommendations and requests to Sun.

Terms Of Service


Elected Council Members will be elected using an open democratic process. The detailed process for electing the members and the constituency for each category will be written in the bylaws but has to respect these basic rules:

  1. Any community member is eligible for nomination.
  2. The call for candidates will be published at an online resource which is accessible for every community member.
  3. Each community member is allowed to nominate candidates (including self-nomination).
  4. Candidate are encouraged to introduce themselves.
  5. Council members of the different categories will be elected by a corresponding constituency.

Length of Service

  1. The Product Development Representatives and Native Language Representatives will be re-elected every two years. These elections will be staggered so that half of each group is re-elected at twelve month intervals. Product development and Native Language members are discouraged from serving successive terms.
  2. The Community Contributor Representative will be re-elected every twelve months. This member may not serve sequential terms.
  3. The Sun Staff Member will be replaced according to the discretion of Sun Management.


  1. Immediately on beginning Council service, each Council Member will nominate a Deputy. This choice is subject to ratification by the Council. The Deputy must be a member of the Community, and where at all possible, should be someone from the same constituency as the Council Member.
  2. Whenever a Council member is unavailable for a vote or other duties, whether such absence is planned or unplanned, their Deputy will temporarily assume the duties and full authority of the Council member at the request of any Council member. To this end, all Deputies are expected to constantly monitor Council discussion and issues.
  3. If a Deputy becomes unable to participate actively in the Community for any significant period of time, that Deputy's Council member will immediately nominate a replacement Deputy.

Resignation and Removal

  1. Council members may resign at any time that their active and regular participation in becomes difficult or impossible. If a Council member is absent from Council participation for more than three weeks without giving cause and an expected return date, that Council member will be considered to have resigned.
  2. When a Council member resigns, his or her Deputy will serve in his or her place until a special election from the Council member's constituency can be held.
  3. Council members may be removed for proven misconduct, according to established guidelines, by a Consensus vote of the other nine Council members. When this occurs, all other Council business is suspended until a new election for that Council seat is completed and the replacement Council member is installed.

Business of the Council

The Community Council activities will be conducted on principles of transparency and inclusiveness. The Council will structure itself to enable efficient working across time zones when members may have little opportunity to work together in real time.

Online Forum

The Council will use an online forum with an archive accessible to all registered users and members for general discussions and for floating and shaping policies. This may be one or more mailing lists, or some kind of enhanced Web or online conference forum, or some combination of the preceding. This online forum will be hosted (preferably) at, or at another site owned and/or managed collectively by several Community members, depending on technology and available sponsorship.

Council Meetings

Council Meetings (the frequency of which will be set in the Council Bylaws) will be held on-line (IRC or similar) for the purpose of decision making through formally voting on proposals. The IRC logs and Minutes will be posted publicly.


For every Council Meeting, the Council will set an agenda of upcoming business which will be posted in a publicly accessible online location. The Agenda will specifically list the motions on which the Council will be asked to vote.

Modifications to the Agenda

Modifications to this agenda made necessary by events will be made both to the public agenda and posted to an appropriate general Community mailing list before being acted upon except for Emergency Motions per below.


No motions should appear before Meetings for voting unless they have been discussed beforehand on the on-line forum Whenever possible, all motions will be posted at least five days but not more than ten days in advance of the Meeting where the voting will take place, in order to allow the larger Community a chance for comment.

Consensus Voting

To avoid disenfranchising any group represented by a Council member, all Council votes will be by consensus of all ten voting members.

Emergency motions

In cases where immediate decision is required, an emergency motion may be passed. Any such emergency motions must then be re-presented to the next Council meeting for ratification after wider consultation with the Community.

Closed sessions

Rarely, the Council may have to close some business to the public, in which case a confidential session may be established with a Council vote. This session will be brief in duration, and specific in its content, and will be made public when the necessity for confidentiality has passed. Examples of topics requiring confidential sessions include:

  1. Sensitive strategic, legal or marketing discussions with sponsors, partners, and similar external entities.
  2. Discussions of removal of Council or Community members for misconduct where such discussions could cause harm to the reputation of the person discussed.

Delegation of Authority

In order to keep running, the Council may delegate some portion of the Council's authority either to existing Projects, or to new Committees created by the Council.

Example of groups to whom the Council may choose to delegate authority may be:

  1. The Project Leads
  2. Release Committee
  3. An Engineering Steering Committee
  4. The Marketing Project
  5. Budget holders within Projects


  1. The Council will keep written bylaws, which will be publicly available through an online resource.
  2. Each significant Council policy decision will be added to these bylaws, and thereafter become Community policy unless removed through a future Council vote.
  3. Standing prior decisions by the Project Leads will be automatically “grandfathered in” to these Bylaws, unless such decisions conflict with the terms of this charter.

Changes to this Charter

Any alteration of the terms of this charter requires a consensus vote of the Council, which must then be ratified by all of the following means:

  1. A two-thirds majority vote of the Leads of the Accepted Projects (except Lang)
  2. A two-thirds majority vote of the Leads of Native Language Projects.
  3. A plebiscite on or its successor(s) in purpose as a general Community forum.


  1. Community Member: Any participant, either an individual or a company, in the Project in good standing as defined by the Community Guidelines.
  2. Community Guidelines: A collection of guidelines on the criteria for Community membership and behavior of Community members as adopted by the Community Council. Until the Council is established, the published Guidelines at will be used.
  3. Sun: Sun Microsystems, Inc and its management.
  4. Consensus: A vote in which all eligible voters concur with the decision, and there are neither abstentions nor opposing votes.
  5. Plebiscite: A public discussion to determine the general approval or disapproval of a measure according to the responses given and objections raised without a numerical vote being taken.
  6. Simple Majority: Fifty-one percent (51%) or more of general or runoff votes.
  7. Projects: The "Accepted Projects" of according to the criteria and procedures already in place for the projects. This includes Incubator as a single Project.
  8. Native Language Projects: All sub-projects under the Native-Lang category,
  9. Sponsors: Commercial companies or other organizations with a substantial commitment to providing resources for, as approved by the Council
  10. Constituency: The group responsible for electing or appointing that particular representative as defined in the bylaws.
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