Life at Eclipse

Musings on the Eclipse Foundation, the community and the ecosystem

Archive for May 2010

Introducing Eclipse Labs

Back in December, I discussed a number of initiatives that the Eclipse Foundation was going to be working on in 2010. The one that attracted the most feedback was “Eclipse Labs”. Well, we are very happy to announce that thanks to Google, this idea has become a reality. Better yet, Google has already released a cool new project “Workspace Mechanic” on Eclipse Labs.

The Eclipse community has a large and vibrant ecosystem of commercial and open source add-ons to the Eclipse platform. In the open source world, there are two options if you want to start an Eclipse oriented project: 1) propose a project with the Eclipse Foundation or 2) start a project on one of the existing forges, ex. Google Code, SourceForge, Codehaus, etc. For some projects, the IP due diligence and development process expected of Eclipse projects is not warranted. However, creating an Eclipse project on a forge makes it difficult to gain visibility in the Eclipse community. Can we find a third option that allows projects to start and prosper without the process of the Foundation but at the same time gain some of the visibility Eclipse projects often get by being at the Foundation?

Last year, we started a discussion with the people running the Project Hosting on Google Code service to see if they would be interested in creating an Eclipse area on Google Code. They had already been thinking along the same lines and were very receptive to the idea. Therefore, I am excited to announce the availability of Eclipse Labs, a third option for Eclipse oriented open source projects.

What is Eclipse Labs?
If you have ever created a project on Google Code you will quickly recognize Eclipse Labs. Eclipse Labs allows you to very quickly create an open source project with access to an issue tracking system, source code repository (Subversion or Mercurial) and a project web site. The default license is EPL but you can change it to the other licenses available on Google Code. Anyone can create a project on Eclipse Labs at any time. (Assuming you agree to the Google Code terms of use and the Eclipse Labs guidelines.) Eclipse Labs projects are encouraged to use the org.eclipselabs namespace, but are not required to do so.

Eclipse Labs project owners will also be encouraged to create tags/labels to describe your project. We have pre-populated a set of Eclipse specific labels that will be displayed on the Eclipse Labs search page. Eclipse Labs will also have an API that allows people to search on these labels. My hope is that Eclipse projects will begin to highlight on their own web site Eclipse Labs projects that are relevant to their own project. For example, Eclipse BIRT could list all the BIRT add-ons created on Eclipse Labs. We also want to populate Eclipse Marketplace with the projects from Eclipse Labs. The API is not yet available but it should be in the next couple of weeks. I think this will present a lot of opportunity for cross pollination for Eclipse Labs projects.

What is Eclipse Labs Not?
Remember, this is a third option. Projects hosted on Eclipse Labs are not official Eclipse projects. Therefore, they can’t be called Eclipse projects, use the org.eclipse namespace or be included in the Release Train or Packages. If an Eclipse project wants to include an Eclipse Labs project they will need to go through the normal IP process. If a project wants any of these benefits they must become an Eclipse Foundation project. The details have been specified in the Eclipse Labs Guidelines.

Moving Forward
Eclipse Labs is open for business now. It is still in a beta form, so please provide your feedback.

Our hope is that Eclipse Labs quickly grows to a larger number of projects than are already hosted at the Eclipse Foundation. We need to make it as easy as possible for someone to open source their awesome Eclipse based technology. Not all projects need to be hosted at the Eclipse Foundation and in fact I am hoping more projects will start at Eclipse Labs and then, if they choose, graduate to the Eclipse Foundation.

Big Thanks to Google
The people at Google have been great during this process. Google has once again shown their commitment and support for the open source community. Obviously without this support Eclipse Labs would not have been possible.

Thanks also goes to Ian Skerrett for driving this from our side!

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Written by Mike Milinkovich

May 13, 2010 at 1:42 pm