Liferay Community Ethos

What we are.


The Liferay Community Ethos governs how we behave in public or in private whenever the project will be judged by our actions. We expect it to be honored by everyone who represents the project officially or informally, claims affiliation with the project, or participates directly.

The TL;DR (Too long; didn't read)

  • Be professional, considerate, respectful, and empathetic toward others
  • Value objectivity, decisiveness, clarity, and consensus
  • Take responsibility for your words and actions
  • Seek collaboration
  • Constructively and politely resolve conflicts
  • Ask for help if unsure
  • Give credit where credit is due
  • Do not misrepresent yourself or your agenda


Liferay was started for a purpose greater than revenue and profit growth: as a way to positively impact the world community, using technology and people as a vehicle for this purpose.

We want a productive, happy and agile community that can welcome new ideas in a complex field, improve every process every year, and foster collaboration between groups with very different cultures, backgrounds, needs, interests and skills. We expect that everyone who participates in the project does so with the goal of making life better for its people.

We gain strength from diversity, and actively seek participation from those who enhance it. This ethos document exists to ensure that diverse groups collaborate to mutual advantage and enjoyment. We will challenge prejudice that could jeopardize the participation of any person in the project.

The Liferay Community Ethos governs how we behave in public or in private whenever the project will be judged by our actions. We expect it to be honored by everyone who represents the project officially or informally, claims affiliation with the project, or participates directly.

We strive to:

Be considerate

Our work will be used by other people, and we in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision we take will affect others in the community, and we should consider them when making decisions.

Be respectful

Disagreement is no excuse for poor manners. We work together to resolve conflict, assume good intentions and do our best to act in an empathic fashion. We don't allow frustration to turn into a personal attack. A community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.

Take responsibility for our words and our actions

We all make mistakes; when we do, we take responsibility for them. If someone has been harmed or offended, we listen carefully and respectfully, and work to right the wrong.

Be collaborative

What we produce is a complex whole made of many parts, it is the sum of many dreams. Collaboration between teams that each have their own goal and vision is essential; for the whole to be more than the sum of its parts, each part must make an effort to understand the whole.

Collaboration reduces redundancy and improves the quality of our work. Internally and externally, we celebrate good collaboration. Wherever possible, we work closely with upstream projects and others in the open source community to coordinate our efforts. We prefer to work transparently and involve interested parties as early as possible.

Value decisiveness, clarity and consensus

Disagreements, social and technical, are normal, but we do not allow them to persist and fester leaving others uncertain of the agreed direction. We expect participants in the project to resolve disagreements constructively. When they cannot, we escalate the matter to structures with designated leaders to arbitrate and provide clarity and direction.

Ask for help when unsure

Nobody is expected to be perfect in this community. Asking questions early avoids many problems later, so questions are encouraged, though they may be directed to the appropriate forum. When asked, we strive to be responsive and helpful.

Step down considerately

When somebody leaves or disengages from the project, we ask that they do so in a way that minimizes disruption to the project. They should tell people they are leaving and take the proper steps to ensure that others can pick up where they left off.

Leadership, authority and responsibility

We all lead by example, in debate and in action. We encourage new participants to feel empowered to lead, to take action, and to experiment when they feel innovation could improve the project. Leadership can be exercised by anyone simply by taking action, there is no need to wait for recognition when the opportunity to lead presents itself.


Governance is a large and often necessary part of any community. It can bring order to chaos, clearly set out avenues for escalation, and identify leaders to which members can look to for advice and direction.

Although our Liferay Community is large in terms of raw numbers, we define no formal governance. Liferay, Inc., as primary commercial sponsor of the open source Liferay software project, retains the ultimate ability to make technical decisions regarding the project. However, it has historically relied on, and continues to heavily depend on the collaboration and collective inputs of our open source community formed around the project, and our community by and large governs itself.

We believe that when people do great work and dedicate themselves and their time to our community that they become natural-born thought leaders. Through this process we develop a sense of leadership in each area of the community that grows out of reputations of those that act, and act well. These leaders form close bonds and have strong influence on Liferay as a company and as an open source project. We strive to recognize leaders throughout the community, in various facets of the project.

This does not mean we will never have a different form of governance, along with elections, various community boards, etc. As the community grows and matures, there may come a time where the growth of volunteer resources, conflict, or other pressures force us to re-think how the community is governed.

Community Leadership

Leadership is not an award, right, mandate, or title; it is a privilege and a personal responsibility. Our leaders are passionate about their work, both on a personal level and in their actions in the eyes of the community. Our community relies on these leaders for guidance and contribution. In turn, leaders provide professionalism and a pragmatic check on the actions of the community and corporate sponsors as a whole. Our leaders are expected to represent Liferay and its community in a professional and courteous manner, with the same values as other members, and to act in the best interests of the community at all times.


A leader's foremost goal is the success of the team.

"A virtuoso is judged by their actions; a leader is judged by the actions of their team." A leader knows when to act and when to step back. They know when to delegate work, and when to take it upon themselves.


A good leader does not seek the limelight, but celebrates team members for the work they do. Leaders may be more visible than members of the team, good ones use that visibility to highlight the great work of others.

We value discussion, data and decisiveness

We gather opinions, data and commitments from concerned parties before taking a decision. We expect leaders to help teams come to a decision in a reasonable time, to seek guidance or be willing to take the decision themselves when consensus is lacking, and to take responsibility for implementation.

The poorest decision of all is no decision: clarity of direction has value in itself. Sometimes all the data are not available, or consensus is elusive. A decision must still be made. There is no guarantee of a perfect decision every time - we prefer to err, learn, and err less in future than to postpone action indefinitely.

Open meritocracy

We invite anybody, from any company, to participate in any aspect of the project. Our community is open, and any responsibility can be carried by any contributor who demonstrates the required capacity and competence.

This Ethos is not exhaustive or complete. It is not a rulebook; it serves to distill our common understanding of a collaborative, shared environment and goals. We expect it to be followed in spirit as much as in the letter.

The Liferay Community Ethos is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 license. You may re-use it for your own project, and modify it as you wish, just please allow others to use your modifications and give credit to the Ubuntu Project, from which this document was derived!