Life at Eclipse

Musings on the Eclipse Foundation, the community and the ecosystem

A Banner Week

Sitting at home in my pajamas with a fever and a sore throat does not usually put me in an great mood. However, there have been a number of news items this week that really do make for some very good news for the Eclipse community and ecosystem that I wanted to write about.

In no particular order:

  1. The Eclipse community kicked ass in the JDJ Reader’s Choice Awards. “Eclipse” or “Eclipse IDE” won five first place awards for Best Java Application, Best Java Debugging Tool, Best Java IDE Environment, Best Java Open Source Product, and Most Innovative Java Product. SWT (the Standard Widget Toolkit) won Best Java Class Library. EMF and WTP were also finalists in several categories.

    But if you dig a little deeper, it gets even better. By my count products based on Eclipse won more five categories and were finalists sixteen more times. Products such as MyEclipse, JBuilder 2007, WebLogic Workshop, Together and Actuate BIRT all did very well in the voting.

    Congratulations to all!

  2. I noticed announcements on three brand-new Eclipse-based products this week that look pretty interesting. First, RedHat beta released its RedHat Developer Studio to numerous positive reviews. Second, CodeGear is shipping JGear, which provides Java application performance, visual development, and team collaboration capabilities not part of Eclipse. Third, Motorola released MOTODEV Studio, their development tools for a wide array of Motorola products.

    Obviously, growth in products based on the Eclipse platform continues rapidly. My apologies to any cool new products that I missed.

  3. We had three new project proposals this week. I invite you to check out and comment on Abireo [Swing/SWT integration], Open Financial Markets Platform, and Virtual Prototyping Platform.

    I find the Financial Markets proposal particularly intriguing as it is being proposed by a bank and represents a foray by the Eclipse community into a whole new and very interesting world of finance.

  4. And last but not least, the Eclipse community model received some nice coverage in blogosphere by Matt Asay and Glynn Moody and in the press by Paul Krill. It’s always nice when someone thinks that Eclipse is open source’s best kept secret.

Not bad for one week, eh?

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Written by Mike Milinkovich

August 17, 2007 at 8:41 am

Posted in Foundation

One Response

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  1. I just got around to installing Eclipse, and I was surprised, or maybe amazed would be a better word. After 28 years battling Microsoft’s pernicious influence over this industry, I see light at the end of the tunnel. (Another reason: destkop based virtual operating systems.)Apropos the issue of trademarks, branding, etc. The potential for abuse of open-source by cherry-picking greed-motivated entrepreneurs is very real. In order to properly defend open-source, it’s important to realize there’s a solid business value proposition behind it. Part of that has to do with any front-loaded license-for-fee pricing model, which is unsustainable in most cases. More importantly, open-source development models are inherently far more efficient than any proprietary model because they preserve a significant part of the value of the man-hours invested. Even when an open-source project fails, the residuals of that project can be recovered in a variety of ways. When a proprietary software enterprise fails, it tends to be a total loss. In fact, ironically, I think Microsoft’s success at destroying it’s competitors and preventing competition generally which has contributed massively to the strength of this industry.However, there is a weakness in the open-source collaborative model, in that commercial users should be required to pay something for the enormous value of the building blocks they are able to utilize. Unless those of us who invest serious amounts of time and expertise in refining open-source applications can get some sort of reasonable return on that time, we will always be scheming on ways to fill in the gaps, even with the best of intentions.I believe open-source needs to develop a commercial licensing paradigm based on tiers of products and periodic ‘pay-per-usage’ fees, similar to the way cable companies provide movie channels. Under this system, open-source packages would be bundled into vertical tiers, with ordinary desktop usage at the bottom, but allowing for specialty tiers which could be priced according to the profile of a particular vertical market. Commercial users would be required to pay a monthly or quarterly per-desktop fee for access to all the products in a given tier. It wouldn’t have to be a large amount either, but that fee would be fixed, regardless of what products they used. The non-profit licensing organizations would in turn allocate those fees based in part on which products were actually used during a given time period, with provisions for subjective allocations in their charter. So, for example, the more time I spent using Firefox in a given month, the greater the percentage of my monthly fee would be allocated to Mozilla.org. The important dynamic to establish is very simple: reward those who keep their projects current & at the top of the heap (no pun intended). That’s the way open-source actually works already, it’s just that there’s no direct monetary validation for being on top of the heap (at present). This approach would recognize the fact that all software is a work in progress, and that end-users make choices to use a given application (or not) every day. I also believe that such a system must be moderated in order to prevent pernicious competition amongst developers. As open-source becomes more mainstream and high-profile, just the ego-competition alone could become problematic. (For example, I don’t really understand the relationship between Subclipse & Subversive in the Eclipse IDE community, but I’ll leave that for another time.)In any case, I’m quite in awe of what Eclipse seems to have accomplished, although I’m not really far enough into my learning curve to presume to offer an opinion. However, after having spent over two-decades in the Microsoft ‘knowledge-base’ quagmire, I can recognize an elegant and comprehensive counter-example when I see one.

    CosmoTopper

    September 9, 2007 at 9:17 pm


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