Archive for April 2005
Well, I am just about to pack it in and head to Tokyo’s Narita Airport for the flight home to Ottawa. The place is going to be a madhouse, as today is the start of Golden Week and is the largest travel day each year in Japan. Not very good planning on my part.
The enthusiasm for Eclipse in Japan is enormous. Everywhere I went, people knew all about it. In particular, there were many people who knew about several Eclipse projects, not solely our Java tools. There is a lot of interest in and use of CDT and TPTP, for example.
One of my favorite meetings was with Kazunori Mizushima, Eclipse supporter extraordinaire. About two-and-a half years ago, Mizushima-san first used the Eclipse JDT and fell in love with it. He noticed that there was a real lack of materials available for Eclipse in Japanese. So on his own initiative, he created eclipsewiki.net — a Japanese language wiki devoted to Eclipse. His site is now getting 6000 visits per day.
His latest accomplishment is authoring a Japanese book on Eclipse 3.0, that was just released last month.
It is the dedicated and energetic developers like Mizushima-san that really make the Eclipse community something special. Meeting people around the world with that kind of enthusiasm sure is a lot of fun.
This week I am in Tokyo speaking at a number of events and meeting with a number of member companies. This is my first time in Japan so I’m pretty excited about the trip, even though the jetlag already has me reeling.
The first event I am speaking at is the first general meeting of the Eclipse Japan Working Group. We are certainly thrilled to have companies such as Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM Japan, NEC and NTT Comware all supporting Eclipse in Japan.
The Eclipse community is huge here in Japan. I’ve seen a published survey of developers that in 2004 put Eclipse at 61% of the Java developer tools market. What’s really exciting though is that the same survey had Eclipse at 1% in 2002. Not bad, eh?
One of the interesting things about Eclipse is trying to define exactly what the label means. There is no doubt that it is an overloaded term.
- Eclipse is a plug-in based platform for building and integrating tools. And now with RCP, a platform for building and integrating applications.
- Eclipse is a great Java IDE.
- Eclipse is an open source community which is rapidly growing in terms of projects and committers.
- Eclipse is an ecosystem where open source projects and commercial offerings add value on top of the work done within the Eclipse projects. The term ecosystem is sort of all-encompassing. It includes our committers, users, developers, book writers, service providers, product sales guys. You name it.
Certainly when you read about Eclipse in the press and other places, it can certainly get confusing. I got a good laugh out of this Eclipse satire posting on JavaLobby. Certainly we had a PR storm around EclipseCon that exceeded our expectations, so we deserved the shot.
But I think that one spot where the satire missed the mark was that the author clearly just thinks of Eclipse as a Java IDE. Although that misperception is definitely prevalent, the fact is that we are now clearly a community. With over forty projects on the go, we hope that there will soon be many more award winners to accompany our Java tools.
I hope that down the road the word “Eclipse” will come to mean “a great open source community that has lots of interesting and useful projects”. But these types of changes take time.
I am very fortunate to have a professional position which I thoroughly enjoy. Really, not that many people get to have a job that they are really passionate about.
Over time, I expect that this blog will be filled with postings about Eclipse and its various developments. That’s what I do, and that’s my main purpose in writing here.
But I thought that it might be fun to start off my blog talking about the other thing that I am truly passionate about. (Well, OK, my family is truly #1, but that’s a given.)
In my case, the activity that I love the most outside of the job is hockey. More specifically, it’s coaching young kids’ house league hockey. I’ve been doing this in one capacity or another for ten years now, so I don’t think that this is just a passing interest. I still play twice a week when I’m not traveling, but most of the eleven and twelve year olds on my team already play better than I do.
This is my fifth season as a head coach and for the first time I coached my team to a league championship just this weekend. This whole season has been a really positive experience for myself and the boys on my team. I coach my youngest son, and he’s pretty happy that I’ve finally come through with a winning formula. Usually my pattern is to coach teams which end the regular season in first place and then tank in the playoffs.
The difference this year was that I really focused on the psychology of the team and worked hard to ensure that the team did not peak too early. It is a strange thing, but this simple idea worked wonders. In case you haven’t guessed, I am Canadian. In this country recreational hockey is played for almost eight months. Keeping kids interested, committed and keen for that long is an exercise in motivation. Since I coach recreational hockey, everything has to be kept positive and fun. Actually, I believe that even if I was coaching competitive-level hockey that would be the way to do things.
If you’ve never tried volunteering in your community as a coach, I highly recommend it. I do other volunteer activities, but there is nothing nearly as rewarding as teaching kids how to play a game that you truly love. And surprisingly, I have learned a lot from kids about how to motivate and lead in other situations. In some ways, coaching a team has similarities to leading a community. That may someday be a topic for another post.