Life at Eclipse

Musings on the Eclipse Foundation, the community and the ecosystem

What is "Eclipse" anyways?

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.

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Written by Mike Milinkovich

April 19, 2005 at 9:37 pm

Posted in Foundation

2 Responses

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  1. Mike, you wrote:With over forty projects on the go, we hope that there will soon be many more award winners to accompany our Java tools.aI think that you are missing the mark, there are 1000+ Eclipse projects: some commercials, and most open source, and only 40+ led by Eclipse.org…And a good part of the folks involved with those 1000 projects may have a different perception when they deliver or use tooling for PHP, Python, Cold Fusion, .Net, Flash, Lisp, OCaml, Haskell, Eiffel, C++ and more… CordiallyPhilippe

    Philippe Ombredanne

    April 23, 2005 at 8:19 pm

  2. Philippe,I certainly agree that there are lots of great projects building on top of Eclipse. I also agree that these many projects are an important part of the Eclipse ecosystem, and are just as inherently valuable as what we build within the Foundation. That’s why we talk about the “Eclipse Platform”. It has truly been a case of “…if you build it, they will come”.But there are some differences that should not be forgotten when it comes to the projects hosted at Eclipse.org. Most importantly, Eclipse has a distinctive development process which ensures communication, review and *approval* within its community at each stage of its lifecycle. It is certainly much more heavyweight than creating something at SourceForge.It would be extremely cool to see some of these open source projects hosted elsewhere win awards. Does anyone out there know of any who have?

    Mike Milinkovich

    April 24, 2005 at 6:08 am


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