GlassFish Community - Roles & Governance

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The projects within the GlassFish community have a very flat, lightweight governance structure. Decisions are made in public discussion on public mailing lists. There are few formal roles--an individual's word carries weight in accordance with their contribution to the project. Decisions are made by consensus, rather than voting--most decisions are of interest only to members of the community who will be affected by it. The combination of public mailing lists and consensus ensures that any person who could be affected by a decision both finds out about it, and has a voice in the discussion.

Roles and Responsibilities

There are quite a few ways to participate on projects within the GlassFish community, and not all of them involve contributing source code to a project! Simply using the software, participating on mailing lists, or filing bug reports or enhancement requests is an incredibly valuable form of participation.

If one were to break down the forms of participation in GlassFish projects into a set of roles, the result would look something like this: Users, Contributors, Committers, Maintainers, and Project Lead.


Users are the people who use the software. Users are using the software, reporting bugs, making feature requests and suggestions. This is by far the most important category of people. Without users, there is no reason for the project.

How to become one: Download the software and use it to build an application.


Contributors are individuals who contribute to a GlassFish project, but do not have write access to the source tree. Contributions can be in the form of source code patches, new code, or bug reports, but could also include web site content like articles, FAQs, or screenshots.

A contributor who has sent in solid, useful source code patches on a project can be elevated to committer status by the maintainer.

Integration of a Contributors' submissions is at the discretion of the project maintainer, but this is an iterative, communicative process. Note that for code to be integrated, a completed Oracle Contribution Agreement (OCA) is required from each contributor. See the OCA policy for info.

How to become one: Contribute in any of the ways described above: either code, examples, web site updates, tests, bugs, and patches. If you're interested in becoming a Committer to the source base, get the sources to the project, make an improvement or fix a bug, and send that code to the developers mailing list or attach it to the bug report in the project issue tracking system.


Committers have write access to the source tree, either for the individual modules they are working on, or in some cases global write permissions everywhere in the source code management system.

A committer must complete and send in a OCA to commit code. See the OCA policy for info.

Rules for how to commit, once you have commit access, will vary by project and module. Be sure to ask before you start making changes!

How to become one: Submit some patches via email, and ask the maintainer of the code you've patched for commit access. The maintainer will seek consensus before granting Committer access, but their decisions are final.


Each module has one maintainer, who has check-in permissions (either for that module or globally), and "manages" a group of Committers. They are responsible for merging contributors' patches, bug fixes, and new code from the development branch of the source tree into the stable branch. Maintainers are responsible for making sure that these contributions do not break the build.

The Maintainer is also responsible for checking that everyone who contributes code has submitted a OCA. See the OCA policy for info.

A Maintainer is responsible for their module, and for granting check-in privileges to contributors. They also act as the "police force" of the module, helping to ensure quality across the build.

How to become one:

Project Lead

Each project in the GlassFish community has an overall Project Lead. The Project Leads are currently appointed by Oracle. They are responsible for managing the entire project, helping to create policies by consensus that ensure global quality.

OCA Policy

The first step to contributing code or submitting a patch is to sign and return a signed copy of the Contributor Agreement.
Please print this form out, fill in all the necessary detail, scan it in, and return it via e-mail : oracle-ca_us [at] oracle [dot] com.

The main OCA page has more information and the list of current signatories.
You may also want to read the Contributor agreement FAQ.

Appendix A

GlassFish community projects may be instantiated within one or more open source project management systems. This appendix contains information about how the community roles map to these systems.

Roles and

Many GlassFish community projects use to manage the source code and facilitate the project. This section explains the mapping between the roles defined here and roles. Role

Project Role


User (to submit a bug or feature request directly to the issue tracking system requires the Observer role, but any User can send email to the project)


User, Contributor

Content Developer

Committer (but only for project web site content, not source code)


Committer, Maintainer

Project Owner

Project Lead