Life at Eclipse

Musings on the Eclipse Foundation, the community and the ecosystem

Archive for February 2010

Oracle Keynote on Java Technology and Community at EclipseCon

This year’s EclipseCon has a little bit of that “right time, right place” magic going for it. As a significant conference soon after the oft-delayed closing of the acquisition, it provides a good opportunity for Oracle to talk directly to developers about where they are going to take Java. There is both a technology and a community story to be told, and from the abstract it appears that Steve Harris and Jeet Kaul are going to be tackling both topics. Steve and Jeet are the development execs responsible for driving the Java platform and I, for one, can’t wait to hear what they have to say. Phrases like “rational optimism”, “profound opportunity” and “empowered community” in the abstract have certainly captured my interest.

If you’re looking forward to hearing about the Oracle-Sun strategy for Java’s future, EclipseCon will be the place to be. We’ve extended the early bird registration rates for one extra day, until Monday February 15th, so register now! See you at EclipseCon.

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Written by Mike Milinkovich

February 15, 2010 at 9:30 am

Posted in Foundation

EPL Growth: The Symbian Foundation Goes Fully Open

It’s not too surprising that the Eclipse Foundation thinks that the Eclipse Public License is a darn fine open source license. It is arguably the most commercially-friendly of the copyleft licenses, and one which is particularly well suited for fostering a community building a software platform.

So in June of 2008 we were thrilled with the announcement concerning the formation of the Symbian Foundation and their selection of the EPL as their community’s license. It was a huge endorsement of the EPL which immediately shattered a couple of misconceptions about it. (I’m thinking of things like “the EPL is a Java license”, “the EPL is only for Eclipse projects” and the like.) But of course migrating a large and mature code base to open source takes a lot of work to do, so the original announcement was basically a promise of good things to come.

Today is the day that promise becomes a reality. The Symbian Foundation is releasing its entire code base under the EPL to the world. This is a major accomplishment for that community, and one which they accomplished months earlier than originally planned. Please join me in congratulating the Symbian Foundation in achieving an important milestone in their voyage to becoming a truly open source and open development community.

Written by Mike Milinkovich

February 4, 2010 at 9:15 am

Posted in Open Source

2010 Elections: Candidates Posted

The candidates for the 2010 Eclipse Foundation Board of Directors are now posted. There are five nominees for Committer Rep and five nominees for Sustaining Member Rep, each group competing for three available seats.

We will have the candidates full bios and positions up by February 8th. Voting opens on February 22nd. You can find a full description of all of the key dates here.

I hope to see lots of community members getting involved in the discussions!

Written by Mike Milinkovich

February 3, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Foundation

The Two Solitudes

I don’t think you can go to school in Canada and not read Hugh MacLennan’s the Two Solitudes. So for me it was an obvious metaphor for a phenomenon that has become apparent to me over the past year or so. That is: Europeans and Americans (particularly Californians) view the practice of software development in materially different ways.

I travel a lot to both Europe and California and I talk to a lot of people about what they are building and how they are building it. In my personal and completely unscientific experience the difference between the two regions is stark. I thought it might be interesting to explain what I am observing and see if others see things in a similar way. I freely admit that my experiences could be completely coloured by sample bias (e.g. maybe I’m just talking to completely different crowds in the different regions).

BTW, some of these ideas are distantly related to Michael Cusumano’s book The Business of Software, where he points out that the US is somewhat unique in looking at software as a business. Certainly there are not that many European independent software vendors relative to the US.

It seems that most of the Europeans I talk to are focused on large systems engineering problems. As a result, they largely view software as part of a supply chain, where what they are working on is going to either be part of or in support of a systems engineering product such as an automobile or an airplane. The next largest group that I talk to are fairly typical application developers working in large banks, insurance companies and the like. But here are the interesting bits:

  • Both of these groups are deeply concerned about software complexity and both are looking to modeling and model-driven development as part of the solution. They view modeling as absolutely strategic to their future ability to develop the software their customers or businesses will need.
  • I also see a lot more interest in desktop applications as opposed to web applications. Just recently I had two different conversations with groups that are migrating existing web applications to Eclipse RCP desktop applications. This is not to say that Europeans don’t build websites or use RIAs! But in my experience there is a very noticeable difference in the relative interest in desktop applications in Europe.

Now if you’re still reading this, you’ve likely guessed where its going next. My experiences in the US generally and even more so in California is that the Web is king and that anything which doesn’t run in the browser is uninteresting. I also uniformly get incredulous reactions if you ask someone in the US if they’re using modeling or model-driven development practices. They’re all hacking code with small, fast, super-smart teams. It’s just a completely different world in my personal experience.

Do others have similar observations?

The challenge for Eclipse in this context, of course, is to be relevant in both contexts. I actually think that we are doing a good — but not yet great — job of doing so. Projects like e4 are leading the way to making the Eclipse platform more relevant in the Web 2.0 world. But it certainly has a ways to go. The Modeling project has a virtual alphabet soup of technologies in it, but at the moment falls short of a providing a cohesive modeling platform. Something I hope to see the community begin to address shortly.

Written by Mike Milinkovich

February 1, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Posted in Foundation