Introducing the Eclipse Foundation staff

“Eclipse IDE still has bright days ahead”

Dominik Mohilo
Retro microphones image via Shutterstock

Welcome back to our series ‘Foundation Talk’ in which we introduce the staff of the Eclipse Foundation. Meet Mikaël Barbero, Senior Platform Developer.

We talked to Mikaël Barbero, Senior Platform Developer, about what Eclipse means to him, what will happen in the future and we turn back time to the moment he joined the Eclipse Foundation. 


JAXenter: What are your duties and responsibilities within the Eclipse Foundation?

Mikaël Barbero: Since its inception, the Eclipse Foundation has never participated in the code development of the hosted projects. That situation recently changed. The board of directors noticed that contributions to the core Eclipse projects  (Equinox, Eclipse Core / UI, JDT) were dangerously dropping year after year.

Two decisions were taken to revive these fundamental projects. The first one was to set up the Friend of Eclipse Enhancement Program [1]: donations made to the Eclipse Foundation are now used to fund people to fix outstanding bugs as identified by the community. The second one was to hire an experienced developer to technically supervise this program and to make actual improvements! This is where I stand. My role is to continuously contribute to the core Eclipse projects by fixing bugs and adding features expected by the end users but less interesting in the developer community’s eyes.

JAXenter: When did you join the Eclipse Foundation and why?

Mikaël Barbero: I joined the Eclipse Foundation in February 2015. But I jumped on the Eclipse train long before that! I have been developing Java projects with Eclipse for 10 years and I have been a committer on several projects for seven years. I really love this community, made of smart people that I’ve got to know and work with. I even became friends with some of them.

My role is to continuously contribute to the core Eclipse projects.

So when I heard about an open position at the Eclipse Foundation, I did not hesitate long before submitting my résumé and it was a great honor to become part of the team. My main motive to join the Foundation was to give back. I’ve benefitted from the help of the Foundation and the community for many years now, and it is very rewarding to be able to develop and nurture the platform, the ecosystem and the community.

JAXenter: Which project(s) do you like most?

Mikaël Barbero: Even if I’m less and less involved in the Modeling projects, I started my Eclipse journey with some of them. They obviously still have a special place in my mind; especially the Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF), a very brilliant piece of software engineering. In my humble opinion, it has been a real force multiplier for Eclipse. Besides EMF, my favorite projects are, of course, the ones from the core platform stack (i.e., Equinox, SWT, RCP and IDE Platform, and JDT).

My main motive to join the Foundation was to give back.

JAXenter: What does the future of Eclipse (and the Foundation) look like?

Mikaël Barbero: I want Eclipse and the Foundation to be disruptive again. In the early 2000s, the Eclipse Project and the Eclipse Foundation created the new standard of IDE, providing a open source common portable software development platform. They did it while implementing a framework to allow individuals and organizations to collaborate on commercially-friendly open source software.

All this was quite new at that time, and it’s impressive how ubiquitous this kind of framework is nowadays. The Foundation did its job very well for more than 10 years, but as Mike (Ed. Mike Milinkovich, the Executive Director of the Foundation) once told me, “you can do something very well during 10 years, but after 10 years it may not be right thing anymore”.

The disruption might as well be the working groups that the Foundation created in the past few years. The working groups gather people with common interests (like Eclipse IoT about the IoT (sic), or Polarsys about the system engineering and the embedded systems) and the Foundation is here to help them collaborate.

JAXenter: Finally — Eclipse Neon. What is your favorite feature?

Mikaël Barbero: I’m not a web developer, but I am really enthusiastic about the rebirth of the JavaScript and Web Development Tooling in Eclipse. It has been neglected for so many years to a point that it was mostly irrelevant to any developer who wanted to get his work done. The renewed interest that the community has provided to create a modern and performant Web Development Tooling is very encouraging and is the proof, if any was needed, that the Eclipse IDE still has bright days ahead.

Thank you very much!

[1] If you want to know more about this program, I recently wrote a blog post about it.

Dominik Mohilo
Dominik Mohilo studied German and sociology at the Frankfurt University, and works at S&S Media since 2015.

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