Eclipse Foundation Development Process Votes

If an Eclipse open source project team wants to include the community in a vote to, say, decide what functionality to include in the code base or decide whether or not they’re ready to do a release, that’s entirely up to the project team. If a project team wants to include the community in decisions (e.g., “do we implement X or Y?”), they’re free to do so. Personally, I think that it’s foolish to make community votes in such matters binding, but if that’s what a project team wants to do, they can have at it. The project team should have some sort of policy regarding who gets to vote and whose votes are binding; the Eclipse Foundation doesn’t prescribe how this happens, but rather leaves it to the project team to sort out what works best for them.


Regardless of how a project team thinks they regard a community’s vote regarding functionality supported by the open source project, the only votes that actually matter are the commits (that is, the community can say all they want about what the code should or should not do, but ultimately the code does what the people who actually commit code decides it does).

In the context of an Eclipse open source project, we have very specific rules regarding whose votes count in matters of governance. Committer elections are an example in the Eclipse Foundation Development Process: a committer election is held in public on a open channel, but only existing project committers get to vote. Likewise, while the ballots that are required in a specification’s key lifecycle events are held on open channels where anybody can express an option or vote, only the votes of specification committee members count toward the final tally (as defined in the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process).

Votes related to governance must be run on resources provided and managed by the Eclipse Foundation (we generally use mailing lists for this, but could theoretically use any resource that’s governed by the Eclipse Foundation’s Terms of Use).

Whether or not Eclipse Foundation-managed resources are used to run votes that are not related to governance, is more a matter of ensuring that there are no barriers to entry that prevent members of the voting constituency from having their voice.