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

Community Council Charter

Version 1.2 (proposal)

Last updated 2008-??-??

The Council Charter:

  1. Purpose of the Council:
    This Council is formed in order to provide guidance to the Community in the following areas:
    1. Strategic planning and resource allocation
    2. Relations with sponsors and the public.
    3. Arbitration within the greater Community.The Council is a voluntary, unincorporated association of Community members. It serves only with the goodwill and support of the Community.
  2. Powers of the Council:
    The powers granted to the Council in order to fulfill its purpose will be as follows:
    1. Strategic planning and resource allocation
      1. Consider proposals and pass recommendations to the Leads of Accepted Projects ("Projects") for development direction.
      2. The Community Council will have the task to research and identify a suitable fund management mechanism for the project, and if such a mechanism is identified, will work with Sun Microsystems to initiate this mechanism for the benefit of the project.
      3. Coordinate with Sun Microsystems on StarOffice, with producers of other derivative commercial products and with Open Source projects on long-term development planning issues.
      4. Coordinate public stable version releases.
    2. Relations with sponsors and the public.
      1. Act as a united Community voice to provide feedback, progress reports and pass recommendations and requests to Sun on legal, business, marketing and development issues.
      2. Represent as a community to the general public and the media.
      3. Create, maintain, and end relationships with external sponsors, donors, and other Open Source projects.
    3. Arbitration within the greater Community.
      1. Coordinate Projects on tasks and issues which involve more than one Project.
      2. Create new Projects and dismiss inactive Projects.
      3. Arbitrate community members' appeals of decisions by the Project Leads and other community authorities.
      4. Compose and distribute new or modified guidelines for Community membership, including setting criteria for what constitutes Community membership.
      5. Remove members from the Community, under the extraordinary circumstances where it is necessary to do so, according to written guidelines adopted by the Council.
      6. Arbitrate disputes between members of the Community which affect their or others' participation in
  3. Powers Not Granted to the Council:
    Other than the above powers, no other authority will be granted the Council. In particular, the Council will have no power over any of the following:
    1. Intellectual property ownership of
    2. Licenses under which is released.
    3. Resources controlled by Sun, sponsors or the contributing individuals.
    4. The Council may not sign contracts or enter into binding legal agreements.
    5. The Council will not attempt to directly manage individual projects, except where strictly necessary in pursuing the Council's duties above.
  4. Council Members
    1. The Ten Representatives:
      The Council will be a group of ten members, made up primarily of those individuals who are active contributors to the project, have taken responsibility for one or more aspects of it, and have the respect of their fellow contributors. This is in accordance with the principle of "meritocracy" upon which Open Source software throughout the world is built. The ten members will consist of representatives from following categories:
      1. Three “Code Contributor Representatives”
        Three persons who represent the developers who actively contribute source code t the code repository. They communicate concerns and proposals of individual as well as corporate code developers. Typically they should be members of the core projects of
      2. Six “Product Development Representatives”:
        These three representatives will be responsible for representing general will of all project members contributing to the product development that goes beyond code contribution (e.g. documentation, qa, distribution, marketing ...).
      3. Two "Lang Representatives":
        Once elected, the Lang Representatives are expected to actively coordinate and communicate the concerns and proposals of all Native Language Projects so that no individual language or regional group is alienated from the mainstream of community life.
      4. One Community Contributor Representative:
        One person 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.
      5. One Sun Staff Member:
        One representative from Sun Microsystems. As the founding member and sponsor of it is vital to understand Sun's strategy and position on issues. Therefore the council will include one person appointed by Sun who can represent Sun as well as championing Council recommendations and requests to Sun.
    2. Terms Of Service
      1. Elections
        All Council Members (but the Sun Staff Member) will be elected using an open process that respects the principles of democracy and meritocracy.
        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. Each community member is eligible for election.
        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.The Sun Staff Member will be appointed by Sun management.
      2. 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 Lang 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.
      3. Deputies
        1. Immediately on beginning Council service, each Council Member will appoint a Deputy. Where at all possible, this Deputy should be someone from the same category as the Council Member, and in any case must be a member of the Community.
        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 appoint a replacement Deputy.
      4. 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 category can reasonably 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.
  5. Business of the Council:
    the Community Council activities will be conducted on principles of openness and democracy, tempered by pragmatic realities.
    1. Online Forum for Council business
      1. Regular Council business will be conducted through an online forum with an archive accessible to all registered users and members. This may be one or more mailing lists, or some kind of enhanced Web or online conference forum, or some combination of the preceding.
      2. Occasionally, 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 Sun.
        2. Confidential legal or marketing discussions with OEMs, sponsors, partners, and similar external entities.
        3. Discussions of upcoming press releases.
        4. Discussions of removal of Council or Community members for misconduct where such discussions could cause harm to the reputation of the person discussed.
      3. 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.
    2. Consensus Voting:
      To avoid disenfranchising any group represented by a Council member, all Council votes will be by consensus of all ten voting members.
    3. Council Procedures
      1. Agenda:
        Every regular Council session (the duration of which will be set in the Council Bylaws), the Council will set an agenda of upcoming business which will be posted in a publicly accessible online location.
      2. 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 Rush Votes per below.
      3. Timing of votes:
        whenever possible, all votes will be called at least five days but not more than ten days in advance of a final vote, in order to allow the larger Community a chance for comment.
      4. Rush votes:
        In cases where immediate decision is required, a "rush" vote will be taken and enacted, which will be followed by a discussion period ending in a validation vote of this rush decision at the end of this period, on a normal schedule, which may result in the Rush vote being overturned or confirmed.
    4. Delegation of Authority:
      1. 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.
      2. 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. Bylaws
      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 binding on all Council members unless removed through a specific 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.
    6. 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) and Community Managers.
      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.
  6. Definitions
    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, may include, in the future, project of regional focus that do not involve non-English languages.
    9. Community Managers: Select full-time staff assigned to help manage the project by Sun, Collabnet, or sponsors.
    10. Sponsors: Commercial companies or other organizations with a substantial commitment to providing resources for, as approved by the Council, generally not including Sun Microsystems (whose status goes far beyond sponsor).
    11. Constituency: The group responsible for electing or appointing that particular representative as defined in the bylaws.
    12. “Discouraged from serving successive terms:”: The same candidate will not run for a second term for the same Council seat, unless there is a genuine scarcity of willing and qualified candidates.
    13. “May not serve successive terms”: Candidates who have just served one term are not eligible to run in the succeeding election.
    14. Absence from Council Participation: A Council member is considered "absent" if they fail to vote by a regular vote deadline.
    15. Council Seat: Any one of the ten Council representatives' positions.
    16. Meritocracy: The principle observed in many Open Source projects, which states, "The one who does the work calls the shots."
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