Servo Technical Steering Committee Meeting

Date: 2020-10-09 Location: Zoom


  • Welcome!

  • Select chair. Nominations:

    • Alan Jeffrey
  • Select representative to the board. Nominations:

    • Same as chair
  • Select other officers. Candidates:

    • Secretary (Nominations: Josh Matthews)
  • Form subcommittees. Candidates:

    • Technical direction
    • Launch
  • Plan for future meetings

  • Any Other Business


Attending: jdm, asajeffrey, kvark, mrobinson, kichjang, larsberg, cybai, ferjm, paul, manishearth, simonsapin, cbrewster, jack, jgraham, nox, aas, emilio

Alan welcomes the inaugural technical steering committee. Introductions all around.

  • alan: ex-mozilla.
  • Paul: embedding. ex-mozilla.
  • lars: political/money stuff. ex-mozilla.
  • mrobinson: igalia. Graphics.
  • kvark: mozilla. Webgpu, webrender.
  • manish: ex-mozilla. Dom/css/networking/media/webxr.
  • jdm: ex-mozilla. Figured out what project should work on.
  • cybai: working on servo since 2017. Implemented various features.
  • keith: mostly Dom/networking.
  • cbrewster: browser navigation, custom elements, webrender.
  • jack: manager 2013-2018. Facebook.
  • Ferjm: ex-mozilla. Media/dom.
  • jgraham: Mozilla. Web-platform-tests.
  • simon: ex-mozilla. CSS.
  • nox: ex-mozilla. Dom/stylo/webgl.

alan: two positions in charter. Chair and representative to the board. This group will likely be too large for regular groundwork, so can form subcommittees to make decisions and recommendations.

lars: update for the current plans?

alan: spin up a new project under the linux foundation that governs the servo project going forward. The TSC has been spun up, there is a charter and an LLC. Formal set up of the technical project has happened. Mozilla still holds some rights/trademarks and domain name, so discussions about obtaining those are ongoing. There’s a separation of concerns between technical direction of project (the TSC) and the financial direction (the board). Plan to have corporate membership which gives seat on the board, and that helps fund the project to pay for things like CI bills.

ssapin: In the draft budget you sent, there are two levels of members. What do those mean?

alan: Side point: there is a [email protected] that anybody can sign up for. There was a draft budget the LF sent to us that I edited and sent to that list. There’s premium level (seat on the board) and general level (for every 10 general members there’s a seat on the board, and an election). So it determines whole seat or 1/10th of a seat on the board.

alan: currently, there has not been a public announcement. EU LF summit happens at end of October, and that would be a good vehicle for public launch on Oct 26. More likely than not to happen. LF will feel much happier about doing this announcement if the Mozilla trademark stuff is resolved due to concerns about project name.

lars: when we go live, there are folks giving money and folks giving quotes/affirmations of support/press, so we’ve been working our networks for both.

paul: is there any change for people contributing code to the project?

alan: LF is a little more conservative. You need to use the -s option when running git commit.

kvark: so is the servo org technically competing with Mozilla? This could have legal implications.

lars: you would need management approval to participate in this space, regardless of competitive or not. However, Mozilla wouldn’t be spinning out the IP if they believed the project would be competing with Mozilla’s business. I do recommend Mozilla employees let their managers know.

keith: what exactly will be the relationship between Firefox and servo going forward?

manish: we share some components that are co-maintained, and nothing will change there. Firefox already soft forked some parts of servo years ago.

ssapin: and servo is not trying to build a desktop browser.

kvark: what is servo trying to make, then?

alan: a browser engine. There’s a lot that goes into a full browser, UI, marketing, etc. I don’t see servo competing in the same space.

kvark: that could change if a browser decided to switch to servo, right?

alan: I don’t see that changing.

nox: do we intend to kill the gecko legacy code?

manish: that might make Emilio mad.

alan: good ideas for subcommittees! First agenda item: selecting a chair. One nomination, me.

ssapin: what is the role of the chair?

alan: mainly chair the TSC meetings. Committees have chairs, the chair walks through the agenda, ensures everyone has input. Also there are some actions that a committee says “the chair takes that action”.

jdm: I second the motion for Alan to be chair.

alan: does anybody object? No? Ok, unanimous.

Action: Alan is chair.

Alan: at some point there will be a board, and there will need to be a representative from the TSC to be on the board. It can be the chair, but it could be someone else too. Any opinions?

manishearth: we could figure it out later.

alan: By default it’s the chair, but we can revisit it when there’s a real board.

ssapin: can we change the representative later?

alan: yes. All positions can be changed later by the TSC. By default there’s an annual election for the chair. Any other positions besides secretary that people think would be useful?

Manish: There was an earlier suggestion for a community person that made sense, but it might make sense to see how the project does without.

Alan: yes, an earlier draft of the agenda had “technical community manager”, but holding off seems reasonable. Right now I’d love there to be a secretary since I don’t want to take notes.

alan: I propose we appoint a secretary with primary job of looking after minutes and agenda for meeting. Josh is nominated.

manish: I second Josh.

alan: Anybody want to put it to a vote? No? Done.

Action: jdm is secretary.

alan: next agenda item: forming subcommittees. Expectation that when decisions need to be made, will form a smaller group to hash it out and report back to TSC with a recommendation. Any thoughts?

ssapin: three that make sense right now. 1) technical direction (eg. What to do with stylo; sharing with gecko; general future of project) 2) launch committee 3) technical maintenance of infrastructure (keeping CI working, GitHub permissions, set of passwords, etc.)

martin: would issues of budget be handled by main committee?

alan: LF tradition - budget resides with board rather than TSC, so could form a joint subcommittee with TSC if they wanted. Then that joint sub would produce reports for TSC and recommendations for board. At some point would want to spin one of those up. Do we want to do that immediately and have a joint sub with the TSC and a board that doesn’t exist?

ssapin: when do we expect to have a board and non-zero budget?

alan: process for forming a board: need to ratify funding charter and get approved by linux foundation (should only take a few days), need a membership agreement (including what are the funding levels). We could decide this is all part of the launch and delegate responsibility the launch subcommittee.

ssapin: how soon can we spend money on infrastructure even if we don’t have everything else in place?

alan: also, at what point will servo project be responsible for that rather that Mozilla?

ssapin: we may want a paid 1password account soon.

alan: for small expenses like that, it might be useful to have some personal sponsorship options.

ssapin: is that a donation to the servo foundation that pays for stuff, or is it a personal expense to purchase a domain and donate that.

alan: there would be a weird period where there’s a small amount that’s come in and don’t have a board.

jack: I’m happy to leave that to chair’s discretion.

lars: I can talk some more with Alan about this subject.

alan: motions to form three subcommittees: technical direction, launch, and infrastructure.

alan: i propose technical direction sub.

manish: second.

Action: form technical direction subcommittee.

alan: propose launch subcommittee.

manish: second.

Action: form launch subcommittee.

alan: propose infrastructure subcommittee.

nox: second.

Action: form infrastructure subcommittee.

alan: for each sub, we could either have a point person or make secretary do it. Let’s have the secretary do it, and make prs to the project repo.

jdm: ok.

alan: for launch subcommittee, there’s a deadline on that one. There’s been a standing zoom call for the former core team, so let’s repurpose that for the launch committee. Any objections to using that?

manish: seems good.

alan: for infrasturcture committee, do you want that to meet soon?

ssapin: for stuff during transition, there will need to be some keys handed over to the infrastructure group. Having one or two people there would be helpful.

alan: process for scheduling meetings. Do you want to take lead on setting up kickoff meeting once there’s members?

ssapin: don’t know if there’s need for specific actions right now besides setting up accounts.

alan: is there an urgent need for the technical direction, or can it wait for after launch?

ssapin: there hasn’t been much work on servo in past couple months.

alan: any objections? no. deferred! Last agenda item: how often should we meet?

manish: two months seems good.

Martin: may depend on how often subcommittees are meeting.

ssapin: for this whole group, do we need a cadence, or can we meet as-needed?

alan: I find an infrequent standing meeting is useful. Many things could be dealt with asynchronously. Proposal for meeting in two months time.

jack: seocnd.

alan: Any objections? no. next meeting in two months time! Exact timing can be chair’s action. Any other business?

nox: thank you for taking lead on all this stuff.

ssapin: question: what happens to GitHub projects under servo besides servo itself?

alan: each subproject will need to decide whether to be part of servo org or not. There’s a formal mechanism through, but will be up to each one.

cybai: what about signing whatwg participation agreement? If on TSC, do we need to re-sign, or keep individual agreement?

Collective uncertainty.

Alan: at some point we’d like the project to have more formal status with whatwg and w3c, but don’t have that yet.

jgraham: non-lawyer guess - if it’s not a formal entity (employer), possibly doesn’t matter.

Alan: any further business? no. thank you everybody!