OpenSolaris Polling Open

Polling is now open for the OpenSolaris elections and will remain open until March 24. If you have Core Contributor status in any OpenSolaris community, you are eligible to vote. In addition to some test questions which have been put back on the ballot, there are three important polls; two constitutional amendments plus the election of the 2008-9 OGB. Since I proposed both of the amendments, I'll explain them both.

Article IX: A Process For Managing The Constitution

The first proposes replacing Article IX of the constitution. At present this Article reads:

This Constitution and its bylaws may be altered, amended, added to, or repealed by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Members of record, provided that the proposed deletions and additions, when applied to the Constitution, will result in a new Constitution that remains in complete compliance with the OpenSolaris Charter. The complete text of the proposed deletions and additions must be delivered in a notice by electronic mail to the Members no less than ten (10) days prior to any vote on said deletions and additions.

In the run-up to the current elections, it became apparent that this article was not sufficiently detailed to tell people how to frame amendments. In addition, it did not specify who could propose amendments or when, or require any kind of community quality control to proposals prior to voting. I spent some time on IRC and then suggested text in the tracking system. After some discussion at the annual meeting I then sent the text to the Core Contributor list according to the current process. The proposed new text is:

This Constitution and its bylaws may be altered, amended, added to, or repealed by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Members of record during Annual and Special meetings as defined in 5.2 and 5.3, provided that the proposed deletions and additions, when applied to the Constitution, will result in a new Constitution that remains in complete compliance with the OpenSolaris Charter. The complete text of the proposed deletions and additions must:
  • be approved within an OpenSolaris Community Group using the Majority voting rule in article 8.4 prior to being delivered to the full Membership for adoption.
  • be delivered in a notice by electronic mail to the Members no less than ten (10) days prior to any vote on said deletions and additions.

This new text is intended to allow the flexibility members need to discuss and propose amendments anywhere in the OpenSolaris community. It also applies a quality control measure (the amendment has to be vetted in a Community Group somewhere) and limits consideration of amendments to either the Annual Meeting or, in exceptional cases, to a Special Meeting.

I believe that this amended text offers a more balanced and operable process for the constitutional amendments - something I am convinced we need - and I encourage you to vote "Yes" for measure "Amend_Amendment".

Article VI: Promoting OGB Transparency

One of the controversial topics associated with the OGB this year has been a lack of clarity about the connection between OGB members and their employment-related interests. While some have proposed attempting to prevent OGB members having such interests, I believe that's impossible. Instead, I suggested on the tracker that the OGB should engage in the same level of transparency expected of political leaders by declaring their employment-related and other interests that affect OpenSolaris. After discussion there and on IRC, my suggested amendment text is as follows:

Addition to section 6.3: "Candidates for election shall publish a list of their commercial affiliation, or other interests related to OpenSolaris, so that a voting member can understand the context from which they would act on the OGB and the likely biases they would bring. Candidates who before the start of voting do not publish such a statement and attest to its accuracy shall not be eligible for election. The Secretary of the OGB shall maintain a public register of OGB Members' interests."

Addition to section 6.2: "OGB members upon change of corporate affiliation or other interests related to OpenSolaris, must notify the membership of the same when that change applies.

I believe this approach recognises the inevitability (and indeed the desirability) of having an OGB consisting of people with a stake in the future of OpenSolaris while encouraging transparancy of motive. I note that many of the candidates for the current election have indeed declared their interests in a way that would satisfy the requirement as worded here and I think it is would be healthy to formalise this requirement. I encourage you to vote "yes" for measure "Amend_Board".

Board Election

Finally: the Board election. I would be delighted to have another opportunity to serve the OpenSolaris community on the Governing Board, as I was able to in 2006-7. I did not stand for election last year and since then have been observing and occasionally participating. My statements of interest are in my OpenSolaris profile so I'll not repeat them all here. I believe that in the coming year we particularly need an OGB that is equipped to communicate strongly, clearly and frequently with Sun's management. For communication to take place through channels other than the OGB undermines the OpenSolaris community. I also think that the OGB membership should reflect the interests around the project, and so in addition to the valued participation of those outside of Sun, I hope we will continue to see a strong showing of Sun employees elected to the OGB.

The candidates I'm referring to have all received endorsement to stand for the OGB from their management chain and all have seen Sun's employee policy on open source participation. They are all committed to asking Sun's management to communicate regularly and clearly with the OpenSolaris community and they represent a diverse cross-section of the community. I consider all to be independent-minded and honourable people. In arbitrary order they are John Plocher (plocher), Jim Grisanzio (jimgris), Glynn Foster (gman), John Beck (jbeck), Michelle Olson (michelle), Alan Coopersmith (alanc) and myself (webmink).

Of course, there are other excellent candidates. It is in the interests of getting proper Sun representation on, and dialogue with, the OGB that I encourage you to place the people I have listed early in your order of preference when you vote. I will be on IRC in the Annual Meeting at 10pm GMT each night this week if you'd like to discuss anything in this posting.

And thanks for reading to the end!

Update 15-Mar: I've clarified the intent behind these positions, take a look.

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