Landmark day in the history of Eclipse

Eclipse Foundation gets ACM honour

Chris Mayer

The Eclipse Foundation has received a prestigious honour, the Software System Award, from the Association for Computing Machinery to put it amongst the pantheon of greats

Today, the Association for Computing Machinery has announced
that Eclipse are the latest recipients of
Software System Award, recognising their decade of
influence within the development world.

To put this into context, previous winners of the award
include Java, Apache, Mosaic, the World Wide Web,
Smalltalk, and UNIX. We can all agree that these innovative
products stand in elite company for the way they’ve revolutionised
the software industry and beyond over the years. As you can see,
the crème de la crème of computing.

The award criteria for the Software System Award is as

Awarded to an institution or individual(s)
recognized for developing a software system that has had a lasting
influence, reflected in contributions to concepts, in commercial
acceptance, or both.

We congratulate the entire Eclipse Foundation on
this accolade – a richly deserved one for continually pushing the
Eclipse tooling platform and plug-in model onto higher

Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation, Mike
wrote on his blog
about Eclipse’s rise from humble beginnings
to what we know today and most importantly congratulated the entire
Eclipse ecosystem on this award:

The names listed on the award are a who’s who of the original
Eclipse development team from IBM who built Eclipse. They are: John
Wiegand, Dave Thomson, Gregory Adams, Philippe Mulet, Julian Jones,
John Duimovich, and Kevin Haaland; now at Oracle: Stephen
Northover; and now at Microsoft: Erich Gamma. Congratulations to
all of them for such a well-deserved recognition. But also
congratulations to the whole team. Obviously, not every single
contributor could be named, but this award is a recognition of what
was achieved by all involved.

On a personal note, it is incredibly gratifying to me to see
many of my former OTI colleagues recognized for their
contributions to the field of computer science and to the industry
as a whole. I still believe that OTI was one of the finest software
engineering teams ever assembled.

Right from the start, Eclipse tore the rulebook up. When
building the tooling platform from 1999-2001, the vision of
creating a modular architecture across the board had never been
fully realised before. Eclipse’s sucess has also been down to
recognising other technologies too – as it rehosted its plug-in
system to the OSGi standard. Speaking of which, there isn’t as good
a plugin model as Eclipse, and that in itself is a huge

Milinkovich went on further to state Eclipse’s impact:

In terms of its industry impact, it is hard to over-state
what Eclipse has accomplished since 2001. First of all, it was an
important strategic move by IBM to promote the success of Java by
consolidating Java tooling around an open, extensible and
professional quality platform – something no other company was
willing or capable of doing. Its importance as an endorsement for
open source was incredibly valuable. It demonstrated that even
large and conservative organizations saw the business value in
forging open source platforms and communities.

Today IBM includes Eclipse in over 500 shipping products.
But Eclipse broke ground in other ways as well. To the best of my
knowledge, Eclipse was the first open source project to consciously
create an industry consortium and commercial ecosystem around an
open source platform. We now take this model for granted, and new
organizations such as OpenStack consciously emulate it. But it was
ground-breaking at the time, and a key part of the industry-wide
success of Eclipse.

This nod from software luminaries represents the key part
Eclipse has played in pushing open source to of the top agenda but
also the vibrant ecosystem that has developed around the key
platform. Without them, Eclipse wouldn’t be the wildly successful
beast it is today, with at least one tool featuring heavily in any
given developer’s working environment.

With over 1,000 developers and 100 companies heavily
involved, it’s easier to see why Eclipse is so important. So once
again, we congratulate the entire team of pioneers on playing a
part in their success and also wish them the greatest success for
the future – hopefully for the next decade as well.

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