Eclipse + Academia?


Chris Aniszczyk has put forward a portfolio of ideas on how to encourage academic participation in the Eclipse ecosystem.

His thoughts include a stronger Eclipse presence at academic conferences and a list of all academic publications that use Eclipse technology. He also proposes an “open source technology incubator” where people could take a project from, and subsequently build a business. Finally, he considers amending EclipseCon to accept position papers, which would then be published in an Eclipse-themed academic journal.

Other ideas that have arisen in reaction to Aniszczyk’s proposal, are EclipseCon tracks where researchers discuss how Eclipse tools have impacted their own academic projects.

However, there has been some disagreement, with one blog visitor pointing to a potential discrepancy between the goals of academia and the goals of Eclipse. In research, success is measured in terms of papers published, whereas at Eclipse, success is measured by the number of users. “And to get papers accepted the software must not work perfectly – it just has to work “a little” In his opinion, Eclipse tools that are created in academia, are lacking that final “polish,” which prevents the academic ecosystem from being a perfect fit for the Eclipse ecosystem. But, he acknowledges that some tools born in academia, don’t fit this stereotype and when this is the case, he approves the tighter integration of Eclipse and academia suggested by Aniszczyk.

He builds on Aniszczyk’s initial proposal, suggesting that Eclipse should encourage the community to become “Beta-Users” of fledgling software being created within academia. He suggests a “data collector framework” plugin which presents the user with a pop-up, asking them to share their data with a different open source project each day. He casts academia as the provider of this data and Eclipse as the host making it available to all researchers currently developing with Eclipse.

Finally, he suggests running regular challenges and community votes, which would encourage researches to create better tools in the hope of acquiring a “Winner of the Eclipse XY Challenge” banner at the top of their page.

Read the full discussion at Chris Aniszczyk’s blog post.

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