Eclipse Goes Big
Eclipse has become one of the top open source projects in the world. In November 2001, banking on its success with Apache, IBM decided to further invest in Linux and donated $40 million of code to create this project. This open source project was intended to “eclipse” Microsoft’s VisualStudio. Today, Eclipse has not only eclipsed but passed many other commercial products with flying colors. It has created big opportunities in an emerging market for the developer community, services companies and user organizations.
“Eclipse has brought together IT competitors into a partnership ecosystem that’s a win-win for everyone.”
Using a collaboration project model and providing support with money and people to bring together competitors into a partnership ecosystem, IBM along with 9 initial members (Borland, WebGain, Red Hat, SUSE and others) decided to work as a consortium to drive marketing while allowing the open source community to control development. This was an revolutionary move for a company like IBM. As Slashdot put it, “Suddenly, IBM is cool.”
The Eclipse Foundation was formalized in 2004. It was further strengthened when BEA, CA, and Sybase recently joined as Strategic Developers and Board Members of the Eclipse Foundation –- “standing on the shoulders of giants” in the form of HP, IBM, Intel, MontaVista, QNX, SAP, Serena, TogetherSoft — to lead various Eclipse projects and support 8 community developers each.
Eclipse supports a substantial range of the software development lifecycle –- modeling, coding, testing, benchmarking for client applications and embedded applications. It runs on Linux, other Unix flavors, and Windows. As an IDE, it provides cross-platform, interoperable integration tools and frameworks to support programming languages like Java, C/C++, Python, PHP, Perl, and modeling languages like UML, and more.
EclipseCon and ESC
Two recent events in the Valley have highlighted the momentum of Eclipse. The first event, EclipseCon, the annual developer conference for Eclipse, was held in early March 2005 in Burlingame. It brought together top Eclipse developers, organizations and vendors to discuss key issues facing the community and future developments. The conference reinforced the energy of the Eclipse community in the keynote by Lee Nackman, CTO, IBM Rational who explained the project’s history, open license, model of innovative meritocracy and trail blazing success.
At the same time, the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) 2005, held right after EclipseCon, in San Francisco demonstrated the reach of Eclipse. Engineers, technical professionals, vendors, evaluators and customers witnessed the latest and greatest in embedded hardware, software platforms and tools. Every vendor showing Linux was using the Eclipse IDE to demonstrate development and debugging tools for embedded applications. The open nature of Eclipse represents practically a paradigm shift for traditional embedded vendors who have adopted this powerful platform to integrate their toolkits, development and debugging environments. At the show, several vendors announced Eclipse-based open source tools for embedded application developers allowing development, compilation and debugging of code for proprietary environments (such as VxWorks) as well as open source environments (such as Linux).
Why does this matter?
Whoever wins the hearts and minds of the developers wins the market in the long run. It’s the network of ISVs that builds value into the applications everyone uses. While Eclipse is not an end-user application, it provides a star cross-platform environment to the developers that build end-user applications and that do end-user integration. And everyone gains something. IBM gains by seeding a new development environment, creating competition and growing the market for products and advanced services. The community gains by having a hit OSS development platform, ISVs gain new markets for products. Users gain by getting best-of-breed, cross-platform, open solutions within a healthy, vibrant IT ecosystem. A win-win for all!