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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <>
Subject 2015-08-26 Role of the Chair
Date Wed, 26 Aug 2015 22:27:20 GMT
[BCC to the AOO PMC]

>From the Chair,

It is useful to know some specifics concerning the role of a Project Management Committee
(PMC) Chair.   This is what I rely on as guidance for carrying out my responsibilities.

**PLEASE NOTE** It might appear in the material below that the Chair is in a position to be
the (benevolent?) dictator of the PMC and the project.  
   That is not the case.  
   The technical decisions and detailed work fall to the PMC, the committers, and, for Apache
OpenOffice, the community of contributors all the way out to end-users who submit bugs, complaints,
and requests for assistance in difficulties of successful use.  
   You might say that the Chair has oversight on how well that activity is managed and fits
under the umbrella of the Foundation.  This is not about technical direction to the extent
there is no collision with over-riding ASF policy (e.g., in handling of IP).

Since the PMC Chair is a member of the PMC, an useful place for that important context is
the "Project Management Committee Guide" at <>.

The section on "PMC Required Policy" is very brief and to the point.  An aspect of PMC activity
that is questioned from time to time is where the PMC conducts its business.  The final section
of the required policy establishes *strict, mandatory* limitation on what PMC deliberations
are allowed on private mailing lists under "Conduct Project Business on Mailing Lists."  

Everyone on the AOO PMC must understand and respect the "PMC Required Policy," including myself.
 We're fully capable of it, despite what are seen as excessive private discussions in the


For the Chair, the "PMC FAQ" section provides two additional explanations about what is expected.

First, all the way down at "Changing the PMC Chair" there is an important link to "Why are
PMC Chairs officers of the corporation, 

Some general duties are described in the earlier "PMC FAQ" section on "What Are the Duties
of the PMC Chair and How To Perform Them?"   Beside required administrative activities, there
is this particular guidance:
  "Remember, that, as in any meeting, the chair is a
   Facilitator and their role within the PMC is to
   Ensure that everyone has a chance to be heard and 
   to enable meetings to flow smoothly.  There is no
   Concept of 'leader' in the Apache way."

This section also links to an additional definition of PMC and Chair at <>.
 This is important for understanding the relationship of the Chair to the Board:

   "The chair of the PMC is appointed by the Board and
    is an officer of the ASF (Vice President).  The 
    chair has primary responsibility to the Board, and 
    has the power to establish rules and procedures for 
    the day to day management of the communities for which
    the PMC is responsible, including the composition of 
    the PMC itself."

Finally, there is reference to section 6.3 of the Bylaws of 
The Foundation.  The section is essentially the origin of
the description above, in its final statements:

   "Subject to the direction of the Board of Directors, the
    chairman of each Project Management Committee shall be
    primarily responsible for project(s) managed by such
    committee, and he or she shall establish rules and 
    procedures for the day to day management of project(s)
    for which the committee is responsible.

   "The Board of Directors of the corporation may, by 
    resolution, terminate a Project Management Committee
    at any time." 


It might seem that this could be very heavy-handed and dry.

In practice, the philosophy on establishment of sustainable communities that produce software
in the public interest involves very great patience and tolerance for how communities come
together and ultimately thrive.  The idea is for communities to work out a way of working
that achieves the purposes of the project and the over-arching ASF principles on how the public
good is served, and being able to sustain the project for as long as that is important.  

At the ASF, I don't expect to ever see a counterpart of the business-world "public hanging"
and those who call for them need to understand this is not how the ASF operates.  Period.
 These examples, also from the FAQ, may be informative:



I don't need to write any further on this subject.  If there is any question about actions
on my part as Chair, please check this and the source documents.  If I appear to be unfaithful
to this, shout out and let's clean it up.

Now to the work at hand.

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