Today is a bit of a milestone for me, as it is exactly five years since I assumed the role of Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation.
I had an inkling that this was going to be a different kind of role when a few days before I even started a journalist by the name of Darryl Taft called my home to ask me if it was true I was taking the job. Being totally caught off guard, I think I said something dumb like “no comment”. Not an auspicious beginning for a very public position.
It is hard to over-state the early challenges we had getting the Eclipse Foundation up and running. Five years ago we had about fifty members, no staff, no bank account, no offices and the heat was on to take over the creaking IT infrastructure that was still hosted at IBM. The development and IP processes existed in paper form but had never even been tried for real.
Today we have over 170 members, seventeen wonderful staff in three locations and great IT infrastructure. Our development and IP processes have been refined through several iterations and are demonstrating real value to the committers, members and ecosystem at Eclipse. These processes are definitely not perfect, but they get the job done.
But the true excitement of being part of Eclipse has been seeing the original vision of a vendor-neutral open source foundation at the centre of a commercial ecosystem coming to fruition. That was the original vision of people such as Skip McGaughey, Dave Bernstein, Danny Sabbah and John Swainson. I am sure that there are others, and I apologize for not listing everyone. Those “founders” if you will deserve a lot of credit for getting the Foundation created and the Bylaws, etc. written.
Sure, we have no shortage of challenges, but today there exists a multi-billion dollar ecosystem with hundreds of companies and millions of developers using Eclipse. The growth in projects at Eclipse has been awesome to watch as well. The breadth of technology being developed at Eclipse would have been hard to even imagine five years ago. That is awfully darn cool.
This is a pretty tough job. It involves dealing with many different interests and trying to find workable solutions. Anyone who has known me for a long time will tell you that I am not a natural politician. But this has been the single most exciting job I’ve ever had and I look forward to the challenges of the next five years. We are not resting on our laurels here at the Eclipse Foundation. The best is yet to come.