Development Resources/HOWTO/Nominating and Electing a New Committer

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Guidelines for Nominating and Electing a New Committer

See "4.4 Project Team" in the Eclipse Development Process.

Contributors who have the trust of the Project's Committers can, through election, be promoted Committer for that Project using the process as specified in the Charter of the relevant Top-Level Project. The breadth of a Committer's influence corresponds to the breadth of their contribution. A Development Team's Contributors and Committers may (and should) come from a diverse set of organizations. A Committer has write access to the source code repository for the Project and/or website and/or bug tracking system. A Committer gains voting rights allowing them to affect the future of the Project. Becoming a Committer is a privilege that is earned by contributing and showing discipline and good judgment. It is a responsibility that should be neither given nor taken lightly, nor is it a right based on employment by an Eclipse Member company or any company employing existing committers.

What are the Requirements?

There are only three requirements around nominating and electing new Committers (note that as in section 5 below, there are additional paperwork requirements for the new Committer himself or herself):

  • Define Trust. Each project at Eclipse is entitled to define how it evaluates "[people] who have the trust of the Project's Committers ... [through] contributing and showing discipline and good judgment". This definition needs to be a transparent and public document on the project's website. It is extremely important to publish these criteria to avoid any issues around cliques or "the in-crowd" preventing others from joining a project. We haven't had a problem yet and we'd like to keep it that way.
  • Employment Neutral. There must not be any hint of "we (company W) hired person X to work on project Y thus person X should elected a committer". Eclipse Committer status is independent of employment; there are well-supported mechanisms (patch files) for contributors without commit-rights and thus Committer status is not required for a team member to be effective. Additionally, the team will want to make sure that they have confidence in the candidate irrespective of employment and management because the Committer status will continue even after moves to another job.
  • Public and Archival Election. The nomination and election process for a new Committer is for more than just the project team - it is also for the entire Eclipse community, current and future. The larger Eclipse community uses the artifacts of elections as (one of many pieces of) evidence about the maturity of the project team, and thus quality of the frameworks.
    Nominations such as "we all know Bob, vote for him" may work within the team, but actually harm the project's reputation in the larger Eclipse community - that larger community does not know Bob and does not understand why the project team trusts him with the source code.

What Should a Nomination Look Like?

A committer nomination should explain the candidate's contributions to the project and thus why they should be elected as a Committer. Cite the bugs they have fixed via patches; cite the newsgroup postings they have answered; cite the dev list design discussions to which they have contributed; etc. In all cases, provide urls to source material: the bugs, posts, emails, wiki pages, etc.

Hint: Bugzilla IDs in the "Reason for Nomination" field that are surrounded by square brackets (e.g., "She contributed patches to bugzillas [100000], [100001], ...") are converted into bugzilla URLs by the portal.

How Do We Hold The Election?

Use the MyFoundation Portal to hold Committer elections. The portal will not only step everyone through the process, reminding them to vote, reminding the PMC to approve and the EMO to process the paperwork, etc., but it also provides transparent explanations of the entire process.

Election workflow.png
  1. The election is started by an existing project committer in the developer portal:
    • The nomination criteria must demonstrate sufficient merit as described above
  2. Existing project committers vote using the developer portal
  3. The election runs for one week or until all committers have voted their approval (+1)
  4. The election will fail if:
    • Any committer rejects (votes -1)
    • Not enough votes are cast in the one week period:
      • A minimum of three +1 votes, with no -1 votes are required
      • For projects with fewer than three committers, all committers must vote
  5. A completed successful election must be approved by the corresponding PMC:
    • The PMC may veto an election if, for example, insufficient merit is demonstrated in the nomination
  6. The committer will be informed of next steps by email:
    • Fill out web forms in the developer portal and (possibly) provide paper documentation as described below.

If you have any questions, or have problems, please contact EMO.

What is the PMC's Responsibility Regarding New Committers?

The PMC educates the new Committer on their responsibilities for safeguarding the intellectual property of Eclipse and that they have read, understood, and agree to follow the Committer Guidelines. Being a Committer at Eclipse is more than just having write-access to the CVS repository and/or website - there are specific IP due diligence and record keeping activities that Committers must follow. The PMC is responsible for ensuring that their Committers understand and execute on these responsibilities.

What Paperwork Does the New Committer Need (and Why)?

Why all this paperwork?

The Eclipse Foundation needs to ensure that all committers to the code and/or the website and/or the bug system understand their role in safeguarding the intellectual property of Eclipse. The Foundation also needs to ensure that we have accurate records of the people who are acting as change agents on the projects.

The process the Foundation has chosen to ensure these goals (that committers/bug triagers understand their role; that Foundation has accurate records) is to have committers/bug triagers sign that they have read, understood, and will follow the Committer Guidelines and to have their employer sign that they agree that the new committer/bug triager can participate at Eclipse and can contribute under the terms of the Eclipse Public License.

What paperwork do I need to fill out?

After the Committer election is successful, the portal workflow system will ask the nominating project lead to fill out the New Committer Request Form (affectionately known as the NCRF). The NCRF will trigger the Eclipse Legal side of the Committer election, starting with an email request to the candidate (the new Committer) to fill out paperwork.

The candidate must fill out paperwork as per ONE of C,M,N,O,S or T:

CExisting Committer Added to New Project or Component.

If the candidate/new committer is already a Committer on an existing Eclipse project then additional paperwork may or may not be needed. The candidate will know he or she is a Committer because the candidate will have write-access to the eclipse.org source code repository via an eclipse.org login and password.

these documents refer to projects by name and thus if a project's name changes, that is legally a new project). If that MCA or ECECF already explicitly covers the candidate for the new project, or that MCA or ECECF is universal (for all Eclipse Projects), then no additional paperwork is required

  • If the candidate is covered by an MCA or ECECF that does not include the new project, then the candidate must complete the appropriate one of steps M, N, or O below.
  • If the candidate is being added as a new Committer on a new Component of the same Project on which he or she is already a Committer, then no additional paperwork is necessary.

...or...

MWorks for Member Company; Company has Agreement.

If the candidate/new committer (i) works for a Eclipse Member company and (ii) that company has signed and submitted1 a Member Committer Agreement covering all of its employees who contribute to Eclipse, then:

  1. The new Committer fills out the online Member Committer Questionnaire in the Developer Portal. Note that the questionnaire will only be accessible if the candidate has been elected as a committer on a project (either as an initial committer on a new project, or via election on an existing project).

...or...

NWorks for Member Company; No Company Agreement.

If the candidate/new committer (i) works for an Eclipse Member company but (ii) that company has NOT signed a Member Committer Agreement, then:

  1. The new Committer fills out the online Individual Committer Questionnaire in the Developer Portal. Note that the questionnaire will only be accessible if the candidate has been elected as a committer on a project (either as an initial committer on a new project, or via election on an existing project).
  2. The candidate/new committer signs and submits1 an Individual Committer Agreement. If you find the signature block of this form confusing, we've prepared an example for you to emulate.
  3. The candidate/new committer prints then has his/her employer sign and submit1 an Eclipse Committer Employer Consent Form.

...or...

OWorks for Other Company.

If the candidate/new committer work for a company that is NOT an Eclipse Member then:

  1. The new Committer fills out the online Individual Committer Questionnaire in the Developer Portal. Note that the questionnaire will only be accessible if the candidate has been elected as a committer on a project (either as an initial committer on a new project, or via election on an existing project).
  2. The candidate/new committer signs and submits1 an Individual Committer Agreement. If you find the signature block of this form confusing, we've prepared an example for you to emulate.
  3. The candidate/new committer prints then has his/her employer sign and submit1 an Eclipse Committer Employer Consent Form.

...or...

SSelf Employed.

If the candidate/new committer is self-employed, then:

  1. The new Committer fills out the online Individual Committer Questionnaire in the Developer Portal. Note that the questionnaire will only be accessible if the candidate has been elected as a committer on a project (either as an initial committer on a new project, or via election on an existing project).
  2. The candidate/new committer signs and submits1 an Individual Committer Agreement. If you find the signature block of this form confusing, we've prepared an example for you to emulate.
  3. If the candidate is self employed, an owner of his/her own company, has full ownership or part ownership in another company and has the authority to sign and submit1 the Eclipse Committer Employer Consent Form on his/her own behalf, then the candidate does so.
  4. Alternatively, the candidate may arrange for the company that is their principal business customer to sign and submit1 the Eclipse Committer Employer Consent Form on their behalf.

...or...

TNot Employed or Student.

If the candidate/new committer is not employed or a student, then:

  1. The candidate/new committer fills out the online Individual Committer Questionnaire in the Developer Portal. Note that the questionnaire will only be accessible if the candidate has been elected as a committer on a project (either as an initial committer on a new project, or via election on an existing project).
  2. The candidate/new committer signs and submits1 an Individual Committer Agreement. If you find the signature block of this form confusing, we've prepared an example for you to emulate.
  3. The candidate/new committer sends email to emo-records@eclipse.org explaining his or her not employed or student status (reason for this email: because most candidates/new committers are employed by a company, Eclipse Legal assumes that is the case for everyone, thus exceptions need to be noted).

What happens if I do not fill out the paperwork?

Then you don't get your login and password for write-access to the source code repository(s). Sorry. No exceptions.

What happens if I cannot convince my employer to fill out the paperwork?

The Eclipse Board of Directors has taken a firm position that if you are employed then you must meet criteria C, M, N, or O. If you cannot convince your employer to fill out the necessary paperwork, then you may not have write-access to the source code respository(s). This is the Board's position even if you are working on Eclipse projects on your own time. We realize that this prevents some talented and desirable people from being able to commit to the Eclipse projects but this is our IP risk reduction strategy.

The EMO and the Executive Director are happy to talk to your management and senior executives about these (and other) Eclipse legal documents to help them understand why these documents are the best risk reduction solution for everyone involved (Eclipse, you, and your employer) - just contact us at license@eclipse.org.

1 The Eclipse Foundation accepts any of the following formats for submitting a paper form:

  • Print, sign, and postal mail the form to the Foundation
  • Print, sign, and fax the form to the Foundation
  • Print, sign, scan, and email to the scan as an attachment to the Foundation

Where to email the paperwork

  • Email the completed paperwork to emo-records@eclipse.org


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