Image Problems

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-11-15 Print this article Print

But the team ran into issues around the image of Eclipse in the community. "The issues as we saw them were that Eclipse had a relatively poor image with commercial end-user organizations in the sense that it wasnt really understood what Eclipse was," Bernstein said. "It was often mispositioned as a standards organization as opposed to a creator of a platform that many different companies could use. It was well-understood by developers, but as one went up the management chain in larger companies, the understanding of what Eclipse was would decrease. There was no articulated vision for Eclipse, and there was no credible road map for it."

By May 2003, Bernstein had a series of next steps to present to the board, including developing a business plan; preparing for the recruitment of members; converting the IBM CPL (Common Public License), which Eclipse was using, to a formal EPL (Eclipse Public License); preparing bylaws and a membership agreement; and creating an independent entity.

Click here to read eWEEKs interview with Dave Bernstein.
Yet, while IBM no longer dominates the Eclipse Foundation, the organizations failure to reel in two other Java heavyweights—Sun Microsystems Inc. and BEA Systems Inc.—has not gone unnoticed. BEA is, however, working indirectly with Eclipse on a project called Pollinate. The goal of Pollinate is to build an Eclipse-based IDE and tool set that leverages the open-source Apache Beehive application framework. Beehive is based on BEAs WebLogic Workshop.

The Eclipse leadership is excited about the groups future, but no more so than the developer community that has built up around it.

"Simply stated, we now have the very best open-source movement that has a predictable, business-driven, tested and open environment," said Howard Lewis, former president and CEO, and current board member of SlickEdit Inc., in Morrisville, N.C. "All are free to contribute based on their creditable capabilities. There is no longer an IBM stigma. Whether good or bad, its just not there. Having met the new foundation team in Dallas, Im hopeful—well, actually—delighted. Its great to work with such talented, driven people who have a vision with substance, energy and commitment. We have a ton of work in front of us, but it will be fun and worthwhile—of that I am sure."

Todd Williams, vice president of technology at Genuitec LLC, in Plano, Texas, said: "Im constantly surprised at the rate of adoption of Eclipse into both new horizontal and new vertical markets. Horizontally, I think youll soon see development tools for almost every computational platform based on Eclipse. Vertically, I think well begin to see external industry consortia build interoperable tooling, unique to the standards in their vertical, on Eclipse as well. Given those avenues of growth, Id say the movement to Eclipse is only just beginning."

Indeed, future directions for the Eclipse Foundation include developing tools and support for plug-ins to assist developers in constructing applications for industry vertical segments; worldwide marketplaces; and systems that extend beyond the traditional IT world, such as embedded systems, sources said.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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