The project was proposed on the OpenJDK mailing list by Oracle software engineer John Coomes, who posted the official CFV (call for votes). Coomes, who is the OpenJDK HotSpot Group lead, proposed Oracle's Multi-language Lead, Jim Lasky, as the initial Nashorn project lead, and HotSpot as the sponsoring group.
OpenJDK is the free, open source implementation of the Java Standard Edition (Java SE) specification. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) with a linking exception. (The GPL linking exception exempts components of the Java class library from the GPL licensing terms.)
Only current OpenJDK members are eligible to vote on the proposed project, and voting it set to run through December 6. A new Nashorn blog has also been launched.