OpenSolaris Elections

Posted on March 10, 2007

OpenSolaris will hold its first major community wide election next week, with voting opening on March 12th. The voting system is currently open now for testing, please take this opportunity to familiarize yourself with the system and help test it now.

The voting system is pretty simple but may be a bit odd at first. You simply create an SSH key pair (ssh-keygen) and add that public key to your OpenSolaris Profile page. You can add up to 3 keys so I added both my dsa and rsa keys. Once you’ve done that just ssh and start voting:

benr@ben-rockwoods-computer .ssh$ ssh
Last login: Fri Mar  9 23:10:59 2007 from c-24-6-105-152. Vote Recorder (poll)

        You may enter "help" or "quit" at any prompt.  Links to further
        instructions are provided at

USER: Ben Rockwood (benr)
GRANT: CONTRIBUTOR, cab, expiring Tue Feb 24 00:32:45 2009
GRANT: CORE CONTRIBUTOR, documentation, expiring Tue Feb 24 00:32:45 2009
GRANT: CORE CONTRIBUTOR, immigrants, expiring Tue Feb 24 00:32:45 2009
GRANT: CORE CONTRIBUTOR, marketing, expiring Tue Feb 24 00:32:45 2009

POLL 1: Community Priorities/Polling Test
This poll of Core Contributors serves both to test the polling
system prior to the Board Election, and to collect Community
priorities as input for the next Board's planning.

Place as many of the items as you wish to vote for into your order
of preference.  The voting system will use your list of chosen items
and order of preference to determine the winners of the vote using
the Meek variant[2] of the Single Transferable Vote[1] system.

[1] STV see
[2] Meek algorithm see

QUESTION 1.1: ("Priorities") Which of the following items, presented
in a randomized order, should be prioritized by the Governing Board in
order to promote OpenSolaris and increase its developer mindshare?

1 - Deploy a public code review facility on
2 - Provide a SPARC-based kernel/project build facility
3 - Deploy a public defect management system ('Defect_Mgmt')
4 - Remove inactive Communities or Projects ('Remove_Inactive')
5 - Eliminate reliability issues with web pages
6 - Replace tools with an open source CMS or wiki
7 - Deploy a public Request To Integrate (RTI) system ('RTI')
8 - Provide an x86/AMD64-based kernel/project build facility
9 - Replace or remove Jive forum interface ('No_Jive')
10 - Deploy a public wiki on ('Wiki')
11 - Reorganize the existing Community/Project organization
12 - Create an infrastructure project to run

This question is being resolved by single transferable vote.  Please enter
a space separated list of your candidates, ordered by preference.  You
may omit candidates.

RESPONSE 1.1 --> 1 3 11 10 4 
VERIFY:  Your ballot is:
Priorities: [Code_Review Defect_Mgmt Reorganize_Community Wiki Remove_Inactive ] 
COMMIT BALLOT (y/n) --> y
RECORDED:  ballot on "Community Priorities/Polling Test" from Ben Rockwood
Connection to closed.
benr@ben-rockwoods-computer .ssh$ 

Pretty easy. Stephen Hahn and crew did a good job with it and I think it’ll work well when people get the hang of it.

When it come time to vote next week, starting March 12th, you’ll be asked to vote on two things: ratification of the Draft Constitution and election of a new OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB).

Before you vote I urge you to read and familiarize yourself with the Draft Constitution and particularly asked yourself whether or not it fulfills the requirements set forth by the OpenSolaris Charter. Its a lot to read I know, and its pretty dry and in some cases confusing stuff, but the effort will be well worth it and really be a service to the community as a whole.

The Constitution defines the OGB as consisting of between 3 and 7 persons. We have 19 Canidates currently so it looks like we’ll have a full OGB of 7 persons.

Each and every one of the canidates is worthy of the post and would bring unique qualities to the table, but I want to especially highlight 3 people which I feel strongly about:

  • Michelle Olson: Michelle is one of the leaders of the Documentation Community and a powerful asset within the OpenSolaris Community. She is always interested in community affairs with an attentive ear toward everyone and is not quick to judge. She regularly attends meetings of the Silicon Valley OpenSolaris Users Group, has helped out at a variety of OpenSolaris community functions including LinuxWorld, and has helped drive community outreach with programs like the OpenSolaris Starter Kit. She is fair and kind and provides a much needed “beyond the code” view of the project. It would be a tragedy to not have her on the board.
  • Keith M Wesolowski: Keith wrote the Charter and set the tone for the Constitution although much of his input and suggestions were left out of the evolving drafts. No one knows the issues like Keith! He always keeps the issues in perspective and has the big picture in mind. Simply put, Keith has real vision of the project and the real world know-how to drive this project forward.
  • Stephen Lau: Stephen is absolutely committed to OpenSolaris and has been one of the hands that has made it successful to date. His experience working behind the scenes provides a powerful real-world insight into whats really needed and what does and doesn’t work. Stephen is involved in almost every aspect of the effort which brings even more to the table. On a board you need people with experience, passion, and ideals, and Stephen brings all three with him.

You can read each of these nominees positions on the election page. Please carefully consider putting these 3 people at the top of your list.

When turning your attention to the ratification, there are a great number of things to consider. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty, but I’ll throw out some things to think about:

  • Do you want an OGB that involved in day-to-day issues or passive until needed?
  • Should the Constitution be explicit in the structure of the organization or stay as general as possible so as to be later defined by other bodies (ie: the Dev Process)
  • Should governance within Communities (called “Community Groups” in the draft) be allowed to governed however they choose or should it be stipulated for them?
  • Are the Draft defined classes of membership (ie: “Roles”) sufficient and appropriate? (ie: Participant, Contrib, Core Contrib, Emeritus Contrib)
  • Should the OGB have say into code matters?
  • etc, etc, etc.

I forward to opinion on these things, I’ve spoken out on many of them in the past, but I offer them as a starting point for those who might feel overwhelmed by reviewing the Draft quickly prior to the vote. How do you feel? Are your feelings reflected in the current draft? Does it leave adequate room for you view to be applicable later?

There are many ways to view a constitution. When we started working on drafts I spent weeks reading every constitution I could get my hands on and trying to determine what one really is. As the process evolved the general consensus seemed to be that the purpose of the OpenSolaris constitution was to frame the social organization and to leave the technical organization to the Dev Process which would follow once the Constitution was ratified. In general you can view the current constitution as providing boundaries: how do you start it, deal with it, and kill it. The idea being to allow as much definition and redefinition within later resolutions as possible so as to form a more flexible organization. Depending on your point of view this can be good or bad, but I will say that I learned early on to let go of solidifying everything within the Constitution itself. Erroring on the side of flexibility is preferable to forcing a later amendment. In general my mindset became “don’t write it to be re-written by someone else”.

As to my personal input into the current draft, while I was very active in early drafts most of my direct contributions have been molded in or left out over time. On the Genunix Wiki, where the writing was done, you can see many of my edits and comments in the early draft. I will admit that the “7.5 Facilitator” was basically my fault and as written is not what I intended. I’m a proponent of a strong and rigid structure and originally called for each community to elect a “Community Lead” who would be the final responsible party for that community rather than just leaving things up to whichever Core Contrib felt like handling things (calling votes, communicating with the OGB, formally accepting proposals, etc). In essense I actually wanted things work work under the system of Parliamentary Order wherein each Community would be required to elect of their own accord (drawing straws, choosing amongst themselves, voting, whatever) both a secretary and a chair person… but those ideas got dumbed down into an Ambassador and then to a Facilitator. So anyway, if you read 7.5 and want to blame someone, you can point the finger my way. Sorry ’bout that.

Of course, I’m nominated for the board myself. This is the second time I’ve been nominated (I finished 3rd in the election of the 2 current community seats) and I’m honored to be on the ballot. Beyond what I’ve posted I’m not planning an election campaign or position papers. My opinions are out there, many people know them and others can find them on the CAB lists. In general I advocate a strong organization with clear delineations. I’m hopeful for the future and doing everything I can to make it a brighter one. I’m Director of Systems at Joyent where we’re running OpenSolaris in production for everything that we do and providing it directly to customers via our Accelerator product. I view my day job as an extension of my duties to the OpenSolaris Project itself and I’m proud of what I’m doing for OpenSolaris evangelism and feel that its important that for someone at a company like Joyent who is on the front lines with OpenSolaris to be an active part of the community itself. Whether I’m on the board or not, I’m working hard for the project every day in one way or another and that won’t stop.