Life at Eclipse

Musings on the Eclipse Foundation, the community and the ecosystem

Archive for February 2014

The Eclipse Foundation’s 10th Birthday

Today the Eclipse Foundation celebrates its 10th birthday. Boy, time flies when you’re having fun!

It is very hard to put your mind back to an event in the past. I don’t mean simply remembering the event; that’s easy. What is hard is to recall what the environment was really like at the time, without the context of all of the subsequent history.

But if you look back at the original press release, with all of its quotes, and the open letter Sun wrote to the Eclipse Foundation Board, how did we do versus the expectations of the time?

  • The first thing that struck me was how much has changed in 10 years. If you read Sun’s open letter in particular, it’s definitely a bit of a time capsule. Of course, Sun itself has long since been acquired by Oracle. And although NetBeans does continue to thrive, I can barely remember¬†Sun Java Studio Creator, or the Java Tools Community. (The “Page last updated 15 January 2004” rather says it all.)
  • One of the questions that Sun raised was around the true independence of the Executive Director (which five months later turned out to be me) and the organization itself. On that topic, I think that the Foundation deserves very high marks. We’re fiercely vendor neutral at Eclipse, and every decision we make is checked against that principle. As for me, I answer to the entire Board at Eclipse, as well as the community, and I consider the independence of the Foundation to be paramount. I think a watershed moment in the Eclipse Foundation’s history was when both Borland and BEA signed on as strategic members in time for EclipseCon 2005. Having those direct competitors join the fun was a very clear endorsement of the Eclipse Foundation’s governance and independence.
  • On helping to improve Java¬†interoperability, Eclipse has been part of the Java Community Process for many years, and I’ve served on the JCP Executive Committee for six. I can’t say that we’ve fixed all the issues with the JCP, but we’re certainly committed to trying.
  • Remember the Swing vs. SWT debate? Although it was wonderful flame bait for quite a while, the whole thing seems so overblown in retrospect. Especially given that Swing seems destined for maintenance-only with JavaFX on the horizon. And the development world has definitely changed from once wanting a high degree of desktop fidelity to caring more about custom application look and feel.

Overall, I think that the biggest change at Eclipse is the breadth of the technology that is happening here. Reading the initial announcement, the focus was entirely on Java and tools, and tools for Java. Our community’s reach has now extended into rich client platforms, runtimes, modeling, geospatial. and the Internet of Things. In addition, the tooling platforms that we’re now seeing developed at Eclipse range from browser-based development such as Orion to full lifecycle model-based development for safety critical software like PolarSys. These are very cool new technologies, and I am very excited about the future direction of our community.

Here’s to the next 10 years!

Written by Mike Milinkovich

February 3, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Posted in Foundation