Time to get social

Eclipse development to be hosted on GitHub

Chris Mayer
Github-octocats1

Projects may soon be allowed to host trunk on external services, says foundation boss after Vert.x “epiphany”.

Eclipse projects will be able to maintain their mainline
development on third party hosting services, such as GitHub, in the
near future, the Eclipse Foundation has revealed.

Mike Milinkovich, Eclipse’s Executive Director,
revealed the news in his ‘
Social
Coding at Eclipse
’ blogpost, in which he outlined
a potential option for projects to move away from the foundation’s
own servers to GitHub or Bitbucket.

The catalyst for this decision appears to be
Vert.x – the asynchronous JVM framework which found its way to
Eclipse

earlier in the year
. The project has been
selected as the first candidate for the new process, with
Milinkovich adding that the foundation wanted to “start small and
continually improve”.  

Vert.x has been hosted on GitHub since its
inception and, according to Milinkovich, “is one of the

most
watched Java projects
[out] there.” The decision
to keep it hosted on GitHub is a sensible one, given the headache
that would come with moving the maturing project
elsewhere.

The Executive Director goes on to explain that
his team had “a bit of an epiphany” when discussing how to migrate
Vert.x to the foundation.

“If Eclipse projects could mirror to GitHub,
what would happen if we simply flipped things around and mirrored
projects hosted at GitHub on eclipse.org’s git repos? After some
discussion, we decided that this was a really good idea,” he
said.

Previously, the idea of GitHub and Eclipse
mixing was a non-starter. GitHub projects do not need a contributor
license agreement, while the Eclipse Foundation do.

With the introduction of this new policy,
projects
will now be able to host their
mainline development remotely, with all their code mirrored back
into Eclipse’s Git repositories. Metadata, committer records and
votes will be maintained in Eclipse’s project management
infrastructure.

Milinkovich also points to Mikeal Rogers’ two
year-old “
Apache
Considered Harmful
” post, as leaving a lasting
impression on him and the Eclipse community. “His key point that
open source foundations need to change to maintain their relevance
resonated strongly with us,” he explained.

In the past two years, numerous initiatives have
been introduced to embrace social coding, particularly with
Git.
Last
December
, the Eclipse Foundation migrated nearly
all of Eclipse’s projects to Git, shutting off CVS support. The
intention at the time was to remove barriers to contributions and
also allow Eclipse to mirror projects on GitHub. In February 2012,
the open source foundation also adopted
Gerrit,
the ubiquitous code review tool in use at Android and
OpenStack.

30.3% of those surveyed in the recent Eclipse Community
Survey are using Git as their primary source code management
system. While Subversion is still holding a slender lead, it is
expected to succumb to the rise of Git in the coming
year.

Image courtesy of Cameron McEfee

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