Is the Eclipse Foundation a true open-source community or simply a trade association? That's the issue a former Eclipse Foundation bigwig raised recently before being slapped down by Eclipse Foundation Executive Director Mike Milinkovich.
Is the Eclipse Foundation a true open-source community or simply a trade association?
That's the issue a former Eclipse Foundation bigwig raised recently before being slapped down by Eclipse Foundation Executive Director Mike Milinkovich
In a post titled, "It's a Trade Association," Bjorn Freeman-Benson
former Eclipse Foundation committer community director and mainstay at
industry events representing the foundation, criticized the foundation
for not doing enough to "provide the leadership and resources to
maintain the core" Eclipse technology.
"So it looks like I've been wrong all along: I've been believing and
promoting that the Eclipse Foundation is a new combination of open
source and commercial interests. But I've recently been forced to
conclude that I was wrong and that the Foundation is just an industry
Further, Freeman-Benson said it is "OK that the Foundation is an
industry trade association, but it means that the open source side of
Eclipse must stop wishing for the Foundation to solve the Tragedy of
the Commons and must find a way to do it ourselves. The Foundation can
continue to provide benefits to the corporate members, that's fine-I've
always been pro-profit."
There is an element of truth at the core of Freeman-Benson's
argument in that the foundation's actions do in many ways reflect those
of a trade association. But, then, it is what it is. The foundation is
a clear example of what JBoss founder Marc Fleury used to call
"professional open source" at work-where profit-seeking companies apply
open-source technology to making money. Gotta make that money. This is
a capitalistic society after all.
But then Freeman-Benson oversteps a bit in challenging the Eclipse Foundation "leadership." Said Freeman-Benson:
"But if the Foundation is not going to provide the leadership and
resources to maintain the core, how can we do it ourselves? What are
the mechanisms and rewards we need to put in place? One thing that a
number of people have concluded is that we need a repository that is
not constrained by the IP process. That should be easy to do (google
code or github). What else?"
That prompted a strong and swift response from Milinkovich in a post
that lights Freeman-Benson up. Milinkovich, who at one time viewed
Freeman-Benson as a valued ally, apparently now views him as a "steady
acid drip of negativity" that should just "go away." Said Milinkovich
in his post:
"Your former colleagues at the Eclipse Foundation have tolerated
your public abuse quietly because we are professionals, and we honestly
thought that you would tire of it. Apparently we were wrong. But the
time has come to say it: You are a jerk. Please go away. You quit the
Foundation, you have zero commits since April, and we tire of your
sniping from afar.
"It is no secret that the Eclipse Foundation is a 501(c) 6 and is
supported financially by members. But to say that the Foundation does
not care deeply about the open source community is a pure fabrication.
It attacks the personal and professional reputations of all of us who
work hard at the Foundation for the entire community."
Meanwhile, commenting in response to Freeman-Benson's post, Doug
Schaefer, project lead on the Eclipse CDT Project and a Wind River
software engineer, said, "There are already a number of projects out
there that aren't at Eclipse.org due to the IP process and the non-open
culture. It indeed would be interesting to fork the rest of it. Throw
it in git and have the Eclipse members bring in what they consider safe
as they need it."