What Does It Mean To Be An Eclipse Project?

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Earlier this week, jaxenter.com reported that Director of Web Technologies at Sun Microsystems Tim Bray had posted a blog discussing where Enterprise IT were going “billions and billions of dollars worth of wrong.” One of his major bug-bears, was that web-based developers could “deploy better systems at less cost in less time at lower risk than we see in the Enterprise.”

In response to Bray’s post, former Director of Committer Community at the Eclipse Foundation Bjorn Freeman-Benson re-posted Bray’s advice on his own blog. He went one step further, claiming that “it should take no more than 15 minutes to start a new project (or new projects will go to github).”

Intriguingly, Eclipse CDT Project Lead Doug Schaefer commented on Freeman-Benson’s post. “My understanding is that something like this is coming for Eclipse. Stay tuned,” was his cryptic reply.

This has spurred Freeman-Benson into writing a follow-up blog, based on the theory that “soon we’ll be able to create Eclipse projects in less than 15 minutes.” In it, Freeman-Benson wonders “what does it mean to be an Eclipse project?” He lays down six requirements Eclipse projects had to fulfil in the past:

  • “Source repository at eclipse.org (CVS or SVN)
  • Mailing lists, newsgroups and forums at eclipse.org
  • Following the Eclipse Development Process (committer elections, release reviews, etc)
  • Clearing all code through the Eclipse IP Process
  • An opportunity to be part of the annual coordinated release
  • A select few projects can be part of the standard distro.” Bjorn Freeman-Benson.

Freeman-Benson then factors in the advent of Eclipse Labs and the assumption that soon developers will be able to “create Eclipse projects in less than 15 minutes.” This leads him to the conclusion that four of the six requirements will no longer be required. These four are:

  • “Source repository at eclipse.org (CVS or SVN)
  • Mailing lists, newsgroups and forums at eclipse.org
  • Following the Eclipse Development Process (committer elections, release reviews, etc)
  • Clearing all code through the Eclipse IP Process.” Bjorn Freeman-Benson.

He concludes that, if these four requirements are to be dropped, it would mean that “if your project is Eclipse related and open source, you can be an Eclipse project.” He calls this state of affairs “Foundation as a Service.” To him, Foundation as a Service is where projects can “subscribe to whichever of the Foundation processes and infrastructure is best suited to that project.” He suggests that each project could have badges on its project page, indicating which services and characteristics it adheres to. He envisions that in this system, “some badges would be algorithmically determined (active), some by the Foundation (ip clean), and some by the community (well documented.)”

Ultimately, he sees the Eclipse Labs, combined with the hinted shortening of Eclipse project start-up times, as a:

“great way to expand and extend the Eclipse ecosystem. It allows the Foundation to do that which the Foundation is good at while at the same time broadening the definition of what it means to be an Eclipse project.” Bjorn Freeman-Benson.

Dann Martens agreed wholeheartedly with Freeman-Benson’s call for Eclipse Labs to be integrated as part of the existing Eclipse infrastructure, as oppose to running parallel to eclipse.org:

“Even if that second one proves less restrictive, it still makes no sense at all. If one would object to participate in eclipse.org directly, why would they feel Eclipse Labs is a better alternative? The only value lies in being part of eclipse.org; that’s why people are proposing to make that experience more rewarding.” Dann Martens.

However, Eclipse Executive Director Mike Milinkovich refuted Freeman-Benson’s speculation, saying:

“Your post is unfortunately off the mark because it makes an incorrect assumption. EclipseLabs projects are not going to be the same thing as Eclipse projects. As a result, what you have outlined here does not closely match the reality of where we’re headed.” Mike Milinkovich.

Eclipse are expected to make an announcement regarding Eclipse Labs at EclipseCon until March, giving the community plenty more time to speculate on how the proposed project will interact with eclipse.org

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