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Apache Flink Project Bylaws

This document defines the bylaws under which the Apache Flink project operates. It defines the roles and responsibilities of the project, who may vote, how voting works, how conflicts are resolved, etc.

Flink is a project of the Apache Software Foundation. The foundation holds the copyright on all Apache code including the code in the Flink codebase. The foundation FAQ explains the operation and background of the foundation.

Flink operates under a set of principles known collectively as the 'Apache Way'. If you are new to Apache development, please refer to the Incubator Project for more information on how Apache projects operate.

Roles and Responsibilities

Apache projects define a set of roles with associated rights and responsibilities. These roles govern what tasks an individual may perform within the project. The roles are defined in the following sections.


The project's Committers are responsible for the project's technical management. Committers have access to and responsibility for all of Flink's source code repository.

Committer access is by invitation only and must be approved by consensus of the active PMC members. A Committer is considered emeritus by their own declaration. An emeritus committer may request reinstatement of commit access from the PMC, which will be sufficient to restore him or her to active committer status.

Commit access can be revoked by consensus by the active PMC (except the committer in question if they are also a PMC member).

All Apache committers are required to have a signed Individual Contributor License Agreement (ICLA) on file with the Apache Software Foundation. There is a Committer FAQ which provides more details on the requirements for Committers.

Project Management Committee

The PMC is responsible to the board and the ASF for the management and oversight of Apache Flink's codebase. The responsibilities of the PMC include

  • Deciding what is distributed as products of the Apache Flink project. In particular all releases must be approved by the PMC.
  • Maintaining the project's shared resources, including the codebase repository, mailing lists, websites.
  • Speaking on behalf of the project.
  • Resolving license disputes regarding products of the project.
  • Nominating new PMC members and committers.
  • Maintaining these bylaws and other guidelines of the project.
  • Ensuring the compliance with ASF brand management policies
  • Reporting misuse of ASF brands

Membership of the PMC is by invitation only and must be approved by a consensus of PMC members. A PMC member is considered emeritus by their own declaration. An emeritus member may request reinstatement to the PMC, which will be sufficient to restore him or her to active PMC member.

Membership of the PMC can be revoked by a consensus vote of all the active PMC members other than the member in question.

The chair of the PMC is appointed by the ASF board. The chair is an office holder of the Apache Software Foundation (Vice President, Apache Flink) and has primary responsibility to the board for the management of the projects within the scope of the Flink PMC. The chair reports to the board quarterly on developments within the Flink project.

When the current chair of the PMC resigns, the PMC votes to recommend a new chair using consensus, but the decision must be ratified by the Apache board.

Release Manager

A release manager takes responsibility for the mechanics of a release. Release managers take care of shepherding a Flink release from an initial community consensus to make it to final distribution.

Release managers do the work of pushing out releases. However, release managers are not ultimately responsible. The PMC in general, and the PMC chair in particular (as an officer of the Foundation) is responsible for compliance with requirements.

Any committer may serve as the manager of a release.

A release starts when the project community agrees to make a release.

Decision Making

Within the Flink project, different types of decisions require different forms of approval. For example, the previous section describes several decisions which require 'consensus' approval. This section defines how voting is performed, the types of approvals, and which types of decision require which type of approval.


Decisions regarding the project are made by votes on the primary project development mailing list ( Where necessary, PMC voting may take place on the private Flink PMC mailing list. Votes are clearly indicated by subject line starting with [VOTE]. Votes may contain multiple items for approval and these should be clearly separated. Voting is carried out by replying to the vote mail. Voting may take three flavors




'Yes,' 'Agree,' or 'the action should be performed.'


Neutral about the proposed action (or mildly negative but not enough so to want to block it).


This is a negative vote. On issues where consensus is required, this vote counts as a veto. All vetoes must contain an explanation of why the veto is appropriate. Vetoes with no explanation are void. It may also be appropriate for a -1 vote to include an alternative course of action.

All participants in the Flink project are encouraged to show their agreement with or against a particular action by voting. For technical decisions, only the votes of active committers are binding. Non-binding votes are still useful for those with binding votes to understand the perception of an action in the wider Flink community. For PMC decisions, only the votes of active PMC members are binding.

Voting can also be applied to changes already made to the Flink codebase. These typically take the form of a veto (-1) in reply to the commit message sent when the commit is made. Note that this should be a rare occurrence. All efforts should be made to discuss issues when they are still patches before the code is committed.

Only active (i.e. non-emeritus) committers and PMC members have binding votes.


These are the types of approvals that can be sought. Different actions require different types of approvals.

Approval Type



Consensus requires 3 binding +1 votes and no binding vetoes.

Lazy Majority

A lazy majority vote requires 3 binding +1 votes and more binding +1 votes than -1 votes.

Lazy Approval

An action with lazy approval is implicitly allowed unless a -1 vote is received, at which time, depending on the type of action, either lazy majority or consensus approval must be obtained.

2/3 Majority

Some actions require a 2/3 majority of active committers or PMC members to pass. Such actions typically affect the foundation of the project (e.g. adopting a new codebase). The higher threshold is designed to ensure such changes are strongly supported. To pass this vote requires at least 2/3 of binding vote holders to vote +1.

In order to address the case of insufficient active binding voters to reach 2/3 majority, one can follow the process below to exclude a binding vote from the counting of this particular voting thread. 

  1. Wait until the minimum length of the voting passes.
  2. Publicly reach out via personal email to the remaining binding voters in the voting mail thread for at least 2 attempts with at least 7 days between two attempts.
  3. If the binding voter being contacted still failed to respond after all the attempts, the binding voter will be considered as inactive for the purpose of this particular voting.


A valid, binding veto cannot be overruled. If a veto is cast, it must be accompanied by a valid reason explaining the reasons for the veto. The validity of a veto, if challenged, can be confirmed by anyone who has a binding vote. This does not necessarily signify agreement with the veto - merely that the veto is valid.

If you disagree with a valid veto, you must lobby the person casting the veto to withdraw their veto. If a veto is not withdrawn, the action that has been vetoed must be reversed in a timely manner.





Binding Votes

Minimum Length (days)

Mailing List

Code Change

A change made to a codebase of the project and committed by a committer. This includes source code, documentation, website content, etc.

one +1 from a committer followed by a Lazy approval (not counting the vote of the contributor), moving to lazy majority if a -1 is received.

Note that this implies that committers can +1 their own commits and merge right away. 
However, the committers should use their best judgement to respect the components expertise and ongoing development plan.

Active committers


JIRA or Github Pull Request (with notification sent to

FLIP (Major Change)

A major change to the codebase that meets the FLIP criteria.


Release Plan

Defines the timetable and actions for a release. The plan also nominates a Release Manager.

Lazy majority

Active committers


Product Release

When a release of one of the project's products is ready, a vote is required to accept the release as an official release of the project.

Lazy Majority

Active PMC members


Adoption of New Codebase

Adoption of large existing external codebase. This refers to contributions big enough that potentially change the shape and direction of the project with massive restructuring and future maintenance commitment.

2/3 majority

Active PMC members


New Committer

When a new committer is proposed for the project.


Active PMC members


New PMC Member

When a committer is proposed for the PMC.


Active PMC members


Committer Removal

When removal of commit privileges is sought.
Note: Such actions will also be referred to the ASF board by the PMC chair.


Active PMC members (excluding the committer in question if a member of the PMC).


PMC Member Removal

When removal of a PMC member is sought.
Note: Such actions will also be referred to the ASF board by the PMC chair. See PMC Member Change Process for details.


Active PMC members (excluding the member in question).


Modifying Bylaws

Modifying this document.

2/3 majority

Active PMC members


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