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Specification Project Committer Agreements

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 13:36 by Wayne Beaton

We identified a hole in our committer agreement process that excluded individuals with a certain employment status from participating in Eclipse Foundation open source specification projects operating under the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process (EFSP).

I’ll start by saying that you don’t need to be a committer to contribute to an open source specification project (in fact, notwithstanding the initial bootstrapping of a new open source project team, you cannot become a committer without first demonstrating merit as a contributor). If you just want to make a contribution in the form (for example) of a chunk of text in a specification document or a new method in an API, you can sign the Eclipse Contributor Agreement, create a pull request (the column in grey below) for review by a committer (the pull request can only be merged by a committer), and you’re off to the races!

After making a habit of contributing high quality contributions, an existing project committer may (I might argue should or must) nominate you to be a committer via election.

Specification Project Agreement Selection Flow

Elections generally run for a full week (they will end immediately when all existing project committers vote in the affirmative). Following a successful election, you will be put into our committer agreement workflow: the Eclipse Foundation’s system will send you, the newly elected committer, an email with the instructions you need to provide us with agreements we need to instate you as a committer (we refer to this as the “committer paperwork” process).

If you work for an Eclipse Foundation member company that is a participant in the working group, then we already have all of the agreements that we need and you’re good-to-go.

If you’re self employed, unemployed, or a student, we need you to sign the individual working group participation agreement (IWGPA). This agreement embeds the Individual Committer Agreement and Membership Agreement that are required to participate in a specification project. Once you’ve signed the IWGPA and have provided it to the EMO Records team, they’ll set you up as a committer and you’re good-to-go.

If you work for an Eclipse Foundation member company but that company is not a participant in the working group, or you work for a company that is not a member of the Eclipse Foundation at all, then you need to sign the individual working group participation agreement (IWGPA), and your employer needs to sign the Employer Consent Agreement for Eclipse Foundation Specification Projects (which we shorten to “Employer Consent Agreement” or just “Consent Agreement). This is the part highlighted in red in the above Specification Project Agreement Selection Flow chart.

Our committer provisioning process is automated. As a new committer, you will—following your successful election—be contacted by the EMO Records team by email to engage in our agreement workflow which guides you through signing those agreements that you need. These agreements are all available for your review on our Legal Resources page. The working group-specific agreements are on our Explore our Working Groups page.

Note that in order to get committer rights on a project hosted on GitHub, you need to set your GitHub Id in your Eclipse Foundation account.

The Employer Consent Agreement is the new bit. Due to the differences in the way that intellectual property flows are managed in a specification project (vs. a software project), we need this employer agreement. This agreement must be signed on behalf of the company, so—if you need one of these—you have to identify somebody within your organization with the authority to sign on behalf of the organisation (your manager will likely be able to help you with this).


  • Step 1: Sign the ECA;
  • Step 2: Establish a pattern of contributing high-quality pull requests to an Eclipse open source specification project
  • Step 3: Get voted in to join the project by the existing committers;
  • Step 4: Complete the necessary working group participation agreements; and
  • Step 5: Take your place in history.