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Development Resources/Becoming a Committer

First and foremost, being a committer on an Eclipse project is an awesome bit of responsibility. Committers have access to all of their project's resources; tiny mistakes can have huge implications. Given the high level of responsibility, there is a bit of process to becoming a committer.

The short version:

  • Join the project team's communication channel (e.g. dev list);
  • Sign the Eclipse Contributor Agreement
  • Establish a pattern of providing high-quality contributions to the project in the form of answers on forums, patches, test cases, and other intellectual property (IP);
  • Be nominated by an existing project committer, and voted in by the project team; and
  • Complete the required committer paperwork; this may take the form of an individual or company agreement.

The first part, "Establish a pattern of providing high-quality contributions", is really the hard part. You can't just show up and say "please make me a committer": it doesn't work that way. You start your journey to committer status by making transparent contributions to the project in open forums. Contributions take many different forms: you can answer questions on the project forum; contribute code, tests, etc.; and more. As a general rule, code contributions carry the most weight.

By establishing a pattern of contribution, you demonstrate that you are serious about ongoing participation in the project. By providing high-quality contributions that are accepted by the project and committed into the project's source code, you demonstrate merit/value to the project. At some point, by demonstrating commitment and merit, a project committer will invite you to join their ranks and nominate you to become a committer. The actual bar for merit varies from project to project (and is difficult to quantify).

During the nomination process, the nominator is responsible for documenting the rationale behind the nomination. Generally this takes the form of a list of contributions. All existing project committers get a chance to vote in the election. To be successful, the candidate must receive a minimum of three (3) "+1" votes with no "-1" votes from existing committers. In the case of projects with fewer than three committers, all committers must vote +1. A single "-1" vote is essentially a veto; a -1 must be turned into a "0" or "+1" for the vote to succeed.

In some cases, known experts may be nominated to be committers. Whether or not this type of nomination is permitted is left to the discretion of the project leadership (including the PMC).

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