The Eclipse Technology Project Top Level Project Charter

Overview

The Eclipse Technology Top Level Project (the “Eclipse Technology Project”) is an open source software research and development project, which encapsulates three related activity streams, each of which is based on or uses the Eclipse Platform and/or Eclipse Tools:

  1. academic research projects and other exploratory investigations (“Research Stream”);
  2. development of educational materials, teaching aids and courseware (“Education Stream”);
  3. incubation of small-scale, innovative platform and tools projects (“Incubators Stream”).

Mission

The mission of the Eclipse Technology Project is to provide a home within the Eclipse Foundation for small, informally structured Projects which add new capabilities to the Eclipse software base (Incubators Stream), foster greater community awareness and understanding of Eclipse (Education Stream), or explore research issues in Eclipse-relevant domains such as programming languages, tools, and development environments (Research Stream). The Eclipse Technology Project is intended to:

  1. provide the open source community with a lighter weight alternative to the larger scale, more structured development activities carried out by other PMCs, and
  2. create opportunities for researchers, academics and educators to play a significant role within the Eclipse community.

Scope

The scope of the Eclipse Technology Project will encompass a wide variety of small Projects, rather than a few large ones. While anticipating enormous diversity in the content of these activities, from a process-oriented viewpoint they will all share important common characteristics, which argues for a common management envelope:

  • Focus on pre-competitive development and research
  • Use of informal development processes
  • Fluid Project tracking due to frequent plan changes
  • Flexible milestones which adapt based on partial results
  • Small teams
  • Resource commitments tentative, due to volunteer labor or lack of sponsor funding
  • Development often cross-cuts the scope of several other Eclipse Foundation Projects

The Eclipse Technology Project serves as a single point of focus for such teams, and provides them with a home within the Eclipse community, to encourage communication, and where appropriate, collaboration and coordination. Providing common management for these Projects facilitates maximum sharing and creation of common components, and avoids redundant efforts. In many cases successful Research Projects will evolve into Incubators, and Incubators in turn may migrate to other PMCs, either by merging into an existing Project, or by forming the basis for a new one.

The Education Stream plays a vital role in promoting the use of the Eclipse Platform. By making high quality educational materials freely available, we both enable self-education by individual users, and facilitate the incorporation of Eclipse-related materials into university courses and commercial educational offerings.

Project Management Committee

The Projects under this Charter are managed by a group known as the Project Management Committee (the “PMC”).

PMCs are expected to ensure that:

  • All Projects operate effectively by providing leadership to guide the Project’s overall direction and by removing obstacles, solving problems, and resolving conflicts.
  • All Project plans, technical documents and reports are publicly available
  • All Projects operate using open source rules of engagement: meritocracy, transparency, and open participation. These principles work together. Anyone can participate in a Project. This open interaction, from answering questions to reporting bugs to making code contributions to creating designs, enables everyone to recognize and utilize the contributions.

The PMC has the following responsibilities:

  • Providing the leadership and vision to guide the Project's overall direction in a manner consistent with the Eclipse Foundation Architectural Roadmap.
  • Providing assistance and support to the developers and researchers working on the Project by removing obstacles, solving problems, and resolving conflicts.
  • Ensuring that Project plans are produced.
  • Working with the Eclipse Management Organization (the “EMO”) to establish the development processes and infrastructure needed for the development team to be effective.
  • Recommending new Projects to the EMO.
  • Recommending the initial set of Project committers for each new Project overseen by the PMC, and establishing the procedures consistent with this Charter for voting in new committers.
  • Helping to ensure that the Projects overseen by the PMC have enough contributors, and working to fill vacancies in roles.
  • Producing “how to get involved” guidelines to help new potential contributors get started.
  • Coordinating relationships with other Eclipse Foundation Projects.
  • Facilitating code or other donations by individuals or companies.
  • Making recommendations to the Eclipse Foundation Board regarding contributions proposed under licenses other than the EPL.
  • Working with the EMO and Committers to ensure in-bound contributions are made in accordance with the Eclipse Foundation IP Policy.
  • Acting as a focal point for the community in representing the Projects it oversees.
  • The PMC Lead is appointed by the Board. The initial PMC is selected by the PMC Lead. Thereafter, to become a member of the PMC, an individual must be nominated by another member of the PMC, and unanimously approved by all PMC members.

In the unlikely event that a member of the PMC becomes disruptive to the process or ceases to contribute for an extended period, the member may be removed by unanimous vote of remaining PMC members. PMC members may resign at any time by delivering notice of their resignation to the PMC Lead.

The PMC is responsible for producing and maintaining the Project Charter. Development must conform to any rules or processes outlined in the Charter, so a change to the development process may necessitate a change to the Charter. Changes to the Charter are approved by the Board.

The work of the PMC is shared by the PMC members. All PMC members are expected to contribute actively. In particular, PMC members are expected to take responsibility for overseeing certain areas of work in the Project, and reporting to the PMC on these areas.

Active participation in the user newsgroups and the appropriate developer mailing lists is a responsibility of all PMC members, and is critical to the success of the Project. PMC members are required to monitor the main Project mailing list, and the developer mailing lists for all Projects and components they are overseeing.

Roles

The Projects under this Charter are operated as meritocracies -- the more you contribute, and the higher the quality of your contribution, the more you are allowed to do. However with this comes increased responsibility.

Users

Users are the people who use the output from the Project. Output will typically consist of software and research. Software in this context means intellectual property in electronic form, including source and binary code, documentation, courseware, reports and papers.

Developers

Users who contribute software or research become developers. Developers are encouraged to participate in the user newsgroup(s), and should monitor the developer mailing list associated with their area of contribution. When appropriate, developers may also contribute to development design discussions related to their area of contribution. Developers are expected to be proactive in reporting problems in the bug tracking system.

Committers

Developers who give frequent and valuable contributions to a Project, or component of a Project (in the case of large Projects), can have their status promoted to that of a "Committer" for that Project or component respectively. A Committer has write access to the source code repository for the associated Project (or component), and gains voting rights allowing them to affect the future of the Project (or component).

In order for a Developer to become a Committer on a particular Project overseen by the PMC, another Committer for the same Project (or component as appropriate) can nominate that Developer or the Developer can ask to be nominated. Once a Developer is nominated, the Committers for the Project (or component) will vote. If there are at least 3 positive votes and no negative votes, the Developer is recommended to the PMC for commit privileges. If the PMC also approves, the Developer is converted into a Committer and given write access to the source code repository for that Project (or component). Becoming a Committer is a privilege that is earned by contributing and showing discipline and good judgement. It is a responsibility that should be neither given nor taken lightly.

At times, Committers may go inactive for a variety of reasons. The decision making process of the Project relies on active committers who respond to discussions and votes in a constructive and timely manner. The PMC is responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the Project. A Committer that is disruptive, does not participate actively, or has been inactive for an extended period may have his or her commit status removed by the PMC.

Active participation in the user newsgroup and the appropriate developer mailing lists is a responsibility of all Committers, and is critical to the success of the Project. Committers are required to monitor and contribute to the user newsgroup.

Committers are required to monitor the developer mailing list associated with all Projects and components for which they have commit privileges. This is a condition of being granted commit rights to the Project or component. It is mandatory because committers must participate in votes (which in some cases require a certain minimum number of votes) and must respond to the mailing list in a timely fashion in order to facilitate the smooth operation of the Project. When a Committer is granted commit rights they will be added to the appropriate mailing lists. A Committer must not be unsubscribed from a developer mailing list unless their associated commit privileges are also removed.

Committers are required to track, participate in, and vote on, relevant discussions in their associated Projects and components. There are three voting responses: +1 (yes), -1 (no, or veto), and 0 (abstain).

Committers are responsible for proactively reporting problems in the bug tracking system, and annotating problem reports with status information, explanations, clarifications, or requests for more information from the submitter. Committers are responsible for updating problem reports when they have done work related to the problem.

Projects

The work under this Top Level Project is further organized into Projects. New Projects must be consistent with the mission of the Top Level Project, be recommended by the PMC, and confirmed by the EMO. Projects can be discontinued by decision of the Board.

When a new Project is created, the PMC nominates a Project lead to act as the technical leader and nominates the initial set of Committers for the Project, and these nominations are approved by the EMO. Project leads are accountable to the PMC for the success of their Project.

Project Organization

Given the fluid nature of Eclipse Technology Projects, organizational changes are possible, in particular: dividing a Project into components; dividing a Project into two or more independent Projects; and merging two or more Projects into a single Project. In each case the initiative for the change may come either from within the Project or from the PMC, but the PMC must approve any change, and approval must be confirmed by the EMO.

If a Project wishes to divide into components, commit privileges are normally granted at the component level, and the committers for a given component vote on issues specific to that component. Components are established and discontinued by the PMC. When the PMC creates a component it appoints a component lead to act as the technical leader and names the initial set of Committers for the component. The component lead is designated as a committer for the Project and represents the component in discussions and votes pertaining to the Project as a whole. Component committers do not participate in votes at the level of the Project as a whole, unless they are also the component lead.

In cases where new Projects are being created, either by splitting or by merging, the usual procedures as set forth in this Charter are followed. In particular, developers will not necessarily have the same rights after an organizational change that they enjoyed in the previous structure.

Infrastructure

The PMC works with the EMO to ensure the required infrastructure for the Project. The Project infrastructure will include, at minimum:

  • Bug Database - Bugzilla database for tracking bugs and feature requests.
  • Source Repository -- One or more CVS repositories containing all the software for the Projects.
  • Website - A website will contain information about the Project, including documentation, reports and papers, courseware, downloads of releases, and this Charter.
  • General Mailing List - Mailing list for development discussions pertaining to the Project as a whole or that cross Projects. This mailing list is open to the public.
  • Project Mailing Lists - Development mailing list for technical discussions related to the Project. This mailing list is open to the public.
  • Component Mailing Lists -- Development mailing list for technical discussions related to the component. This mailing list is open to the public.

The Development Process

In this section the phrase “release cycle” will refer to a significant block of Project activity, which corresponds to an actual release cycle in the case of Incubators or Education Projects, or to a major stage of a phased Research Project.

Each Project lead must produce a development plan for the release cycle, and the development plan must be approved by a majority of Committers of the Project. The plan must be submitted to the PMC for review. The PMC may provide feedback and advice on the plan but approval rests with the Project Committers.

Each Project must identify, and make available on its web site, the requirements and prioritizations it is working against in the current release cycle. In addition, each Project must post a release plan showing the date and content of the next major release, including any major milestones, and must keep this plan up to date.

The Committers of a Project or component decide which changes may be committed to the master code base of a Project or component respectively. Three +1 ('yes' votes) with no -1 ('no' votes or vetoes) are needed to approve a code change. Vetoes must be followed by an explanation for the veto within 24 hours or the veto becomes invalid. All votes are conducted via the developer mailing list associated with the Project or component.

Special rules may be established by the PMC for Projects or components with fewer than three Committers. For efficiency, some code changes from some contributors (e.g. feature additions, bug fixes) may be approved in advance, or approved in principle based on an outline of the work, in which case they may be committed first and changed as needed, with conflicts resolved by majority vote of the Committers of the Project or component, as applicable.

The master copy of the code base must reside on the Project web site where it is accessible to all users, developers and committers. Committers must check their changes and new work into the master code base as promptly as possible (subject to any check-in voting rules that may be in effect) in order to foster collaboration among widely distributed groups and so that the latest work is always available to everyone. The PMC is responsible for working with the Eclipse Foundation to establish a release engineering and build process to ensure that builds can be reliably produced on a regular and frequent basis from the master code base and made available for download from the Project web site. Builds in this context are intended to include not only code but also reports, documentation, and courseware.

Each Project is responsible for establishing test plans and the level of testing appropriate for the Project.

All development technical discussions are conducted using the development mailing lists. If discussions are held offline, then a summary must be posted to the mailing list to keep the other committers informed.

Licensing

All contributions to Projects under this Charter must adhere to the Eclipse Foundation Intellectual Property Policy.