Two weeks ago at EclipseCon, the Eclipse Che project announced its 4.0 release. This announcement is the first major result from the Eclipse Cloud Development strategy we announced eighteen months ago. Eclipse Che is an innovative new IDE platform which has been designed specifically for the needs of web and cloud developers, offering a whole new way to think about developer workspaces in a container world. Tyler Jewell, the Che project leader and CEO of Codenvy did a keynote at EclipseCon North America where he welcomed IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, and SAP on stage to show what they are already doing with the Che technology. The reaction to the announcement from developers, adopters, and the press has been amazing.
In short, Eclipse Che is on track for becoming a huge success.
However, as with many things in life success in one area raises questions about others. In particular we’ve heard some questions about what this all means for the Eclipse JDT IDE that developers have known and loved for the past fifteen years. TL;DR: Eclipse Che and the Eclipse IDE platform are complementary to one another, and both are going to be more successful because of each other.
Is Eclipse Che going to replace the Eclipse IDE?
No. It’s a different project, staffed by a different team. Remember, this is open source where the community is the capacity. There is obviously some overlap between both, but they have distinct goals, advantages and benefits, so the Eclipse IDE platform remains relevant and actively developed.
Is Eclipse Che and the Eclipse IDE interoperable?
Partially. There are ways to move many projects between the Eclipse IDE and Eclipse Che. We generally see many opportunities to make it simpler for developers to smoothly transition from local to distributed development and back. There are generally more opportunities for the projects to collaborate together than to compete.
So there are 2 IDE platforms in the Eclipse Community?
The Eclipse Community actually has three platforms for building tooling extensions. Eclipse RCP, Eclipse Orion, and Eclipse Che. Eclipse RCP’s desktop plug-in model and structure is widely adopted and broadly understood. Eclipse Orion provides a client-side plugin framework to enable web tooling and editor extensions. Eclipse Che builds on Orion and Eclipse JDT to create a distributed workspace and cloud IDE extension platform. These platforms are partially competing, and we’re fine with that.
Why is the Foundation fine with that?
The community is the capacity, and we would much rather have innovative new projects happen at Eclipse than elsewhere. The Eclipse Foundation is fine with internal competition. Both the Foundation and the Community know that competition can bring innovation. Moreover, Eclipse Che and the Eclipse IDE have different objectives that drive them to create different extension architectures.
What are the main differences?
Che defines a workspace to include all of the dependencies necessary to let a developer contribute without first installing software. The Che workspace includes a runtime, project files, and a cloud IDE. The nature of workspaces makes them portable and shareable. Che provides a server that hosts multiple workspaces for a group.The Eclipse IDE targets the developer workstation with tighter integration to the system and more options to customize it locally.
Is this short-term, mid-term, long-term…?
We are not the ones who decide this. Developers now have one more alternative with Eclipse Che, and we’ll let them make their choices and drive the future of software development. Let’s ask this again in 5 years😉
Yesterday I talked about three interesting new runtime projects which have joined the Eclipse community, and made the point that we are extending our reach beyond our “…original comfort zone of tools…”. But that doesn’t mean that we are not seriously investing in tools. In fact, in 2016 the Eclipse Foundation itself is hiring new staff to do exactly that.
The first position was just posted on our forums. For the first time ever, the Eclipse Foundation is looking to hire a full-time Eclipse platform developer. This position will be responsible for adding new features and fixing bugs in Eclipse under the umbrella of the Friends-Enabled Eclipse IDE/Platform Enhancements Program (FEEP). (Awkward name, great acronym!) The FEEP process ensures that it is the community leadership that guides what new investments we make in the Eclipse IDE and Platform. It is financially supported by the personal and corporate donations that we receive under the Friends of Eclipse program. You can help make Eclipse better with your donations!
Around the middle of this year we also intend to hire a Java Tools Evangelist, who will work with the community to help promote not only the Eclipse IDE, but also newer tool projects such as Eclipse Che.
Like I said, 2016 is off to a great start!
Yesterday was quietly one of the biggest days ever for Eclipse. That is because of three new project proposals that went live. It’s certainly unusual for us to have three new projects at once, but I’m not sure if it’s unprecedented. However, I am really excited about these projects, and what they mean for the future of the Eclipse community.
- Edje is a new IoT project that brings Java functionality to very small devices. It provides a standard hardware abstraction Java API required for delivering IoT services that meet the constraints of small, Arduino-class devices. The initial code contribution for Eclipse Edje is coming from MicroEJ, who has been working in this area for many years.
- IoT Connector provides a generic, cloud-based IoT platform architecture which supports the implementation of IoT solutions requiring device connectivity, device management, and interaction with business applications. The Eclipse IoT Connector project is targeting numerous runtimes such as Cloud Foundry, RabbitMQ and AMQP, and Docker. It is co-led by Bosch and Red Hat, two of the Eclipse Foundation’s Strategic Members.
- OMR aims to provide a technology platform for building language runtimes. It consists of core components that can be used to build runtimes for languages such as Ruby and Python. These components include: memory management, threading, platform port (abstraction) library, diagnostic file support, monitoring support, garbage collection, and native Just In Time compilation. Eclipse OMR is led by the same folks who build the IBM J9 Java virtual machine.
Several years ago we decided that the Eclipse Foundation was going to start welcoming projects outside of our original comfort zone of tools based on Java and OSGi. It has taken a while to get that message out, but it is clear that it is starting to be heard. None of these project are tools in the traditional Eclipse sense. They are runtimes and frameworks targeting environments from the smallest microcontrollers to the largest clouds.
Each of these projects are very ambitious in their own right. To have all three launched on the same day is crazy cool. I am really looking forward to watching these grow and mature as part of the Eclipse community.
EclipseCon North America March 7-11 in Reston, VA will be the place to be to find out more about these new projects. We’ll have talks on all of them.
A few weeks ago, Andrew called me into his office, and told me “I’m sure you’ve figured this out already, but I’m transgender.” To which I replied “Uhhh….I had no idea. ” I am so oddly oblivious to these sorts of things, it’s sad.
Today Andrew becomes Andrea.
What I know already is that Andrea retains all of the attributes that made me want to work with Andrew. She is a warm, and funny person who cares deeply about the technologies, communities, and people she works with. She is committed to her family and local community. We are lucky to have her at the Eclipse Foundation, and as part of the Eclipse, Eclipse Science, and LocationTech communities. She is on a very courageous journey of personal discovery, and to a small degree, we’re along for the ride.
Andrea is at once both an old and a new member of the Eclipse community. Please give her a warm welcome.
Last month I announced that the Eclipse Foundation is going to begin using personal and corporate donations to fund Eclipse platform development. Of course, the devil is in the details, and as an open source community we need to define an open and transparent process for how work is prioritized, and funds are allocated. Today, we are publicizing a draft document that lays out such a process.
One thing that we know is that the process can seem sort of heavyweight when you first read it. Be assured that we will be putting together some open-ended work packages to ensure that it remains lightweight and agile as possible.
We are looking forward to your feedback!
The news this morning that JetBrains is switching to a subscription-only model is a perfect example of why and how trusting a proprietary tools vendor leaves you and your business exposed to the whims of their profit margins. Make no mistake: this is motivated by what’s good for their business, not what is good for the developer community. Even if JetBrains backpedals on this decision, it is a lesson worth learning.
Eclipse is the only truly community-based tooling platform. We are 100% open source from top to bottom. There is no “Community Edition”. It’s all open source. We are not beholden to any vendor’s agenda.
We are well aware that IntelliJ is a great product. We are also aware that Eclipse has not been moving forward as quickly as we would have liked this last few years. But we are actively working to change things, and you — the developer community — can help. First of all, the Eclipse platform is now a truly open and community-driven project. Your time and code contributions will be welcomed. Also, we recently announced that 100% of all personal donations will be directed to funding Eclipse enhancements. So you can help in your personal capacity by donating even a fraction of JetBrain’s subscription fees to Eclipse. Just as importantly, we will take directed corporate donations to fund Eclipse enhancements as well. Is there a couple of missing features that is slowing down your company’s use of Eclipse? We can fix those for a fraction of what JetBrains wants to extract from your employer.
Eclipse is a true free and open source software community, focused on the needs of developers everywhere. Let’s use this opportunity to re-invest in it so that it is the tool that you want to use every day. For free. Now and forever.
Today, we are significantly lowering the barriers for companies and individuals to actively invest in the ongoing development of the Eclipse platform. Eclipse has an amazing community of individuals and companies that invest significant amount of resources in the development of Eclipse open source projects. We also have a huge community of users that benefit from Eclipse technology. They use Eclipse tools and technology to build their software products and applications. Most of these users don’t have the time required to participate in an open source project but they do want to see ongoing improvements and investment in Eclipse. We now have a way for these users to invest in Eclipse improvements.
We are pleased to announce the Eclipse Foundation has begun to fund development work on Eclipse projects. In fact, there are a number of features and issues in the Mars release that were funded through the Foundation. The initial focus is on improving the core Eclipse platform, JDT and Web Tools. As the program expands we expect the list of projects will grow too. The process by which funds will be allocated is still a work in progress, but will be made available soon. It will be based on the core principles of openness and transparency.
The funding for the development work will come from individuals and corporate users. Earlier this year, Ericsson provided the Eclipse Foundation funds to improve the Eclipse platform which resulted in SWT, GTK3 and PDE improvements available in the Mars release. Ericsson is a large user of Eclipse and they see the value of investing in ongoing improvements. We hope other large corporate users of Eclipse will follow Ericsson’s lead.
We are also pleased to announce that all users’ donations to our Friends of Eclipse program will be used to fund Eclipse development work. Last year we raised over $120,000 from the Friends of Eclipse program, so we hope the ability to directly fund Eclipse development will significantly increase the donations we gain from our individual user community. To make things even easier, we have added Bitcoin as a payment option. Please take this opportunity to help improve Eclipse by making a donation.
Eclipse open source development will continue to move forward through work of our committer community. Committers are the heart and soul of any open source project. However, we are confident having additional investment from our user community will help accelerate future improvement to Eclipse. If you are a user of Eclipse, individual or corporate, it is now simple to participate in the future of Eclipse.