Tragedy of the Commons Problem

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-12-03 Print this article Print


However, Schaefer followed that comment with a caveat: "Of course my idea is highly hypothetical and would be contingent on IBM already reaching an involvement level of zero, or near zero where it wouldn't matter."

Yet, the issue of IBM, the provider of the core Eclipse technology and the foundation's biggest benefactor, pulling out is central to Freeman-Benson's argument.

Freeman-Benson told eWEEK: "My primary issue with the Eclipse Foundation is that it is not working to solve the Tragedy of the Commons problem. IBM is removing resources from the core, and nobody is stepping up. I believe there are a number of simple process changes that could greatly increase the community participation in the maintenance and innovation of the core. I was hoping that the foundation would see fit to make those changes, but I have-as of two weeks ago-decided that the foundation is never going to do them, so I've been working on an extra-foundation way to do that. Nothing major and with the whole goal of enabling a larger participation in the core. It's based around my IP Burden post and my belief that an easy build system is needed and the fact that most community contributors only stick around for a few months."

However, "after being slammed so viciously by Mike, I'm questioning whether I really care enough to take that kind of bullying," Freeman-Benson told eWEEK. He also submitted an apology of sorts in a post subsequent to Milinkovich's.

Meanwhile, Mik Kersten, project lead of the Eclipse Mylyn Project and CEO of Tasktop Technologies, told eWEEK:

"One of the unique things about Eclipse is that it employs a vendor-neutral open-source business model. That makes it different than other successful open-source business models, such as SpringSource's. Both the community and business rules of engagement around the vendor-neutral model are evolving. Mike Milinkovich created the business landscape and technical road map that has made Eclipse such a success. Bjorn drove fundamental changes to the Eclipse development process, release train and community channels. His question of whether Eclipse functions like a trade association is an interesting academic point, and could help refine our understanding and implementation of the social rules that support individual and vendor collaboration in the Eclipse ecosystem. The implementation of social rules is just as important to open-source communities as it is to social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. It needs both Bjorns and Mikes to continue to evolve."

In a blog post of his own, Kersten notes that both Milinkovich and Freeman-Benson have contributed significantly to Eclipse. Kersten said:

"Mike's leadership is astounding in its steady navigation and coordination of the Eclipse membership and ecosystem. Bjorn's contributions have been remarkable as well. I was one of the first non-IBM committers and then committer representative on the Eclipse board, and have watched as Bjorn's five years of service drove each of the most fundamental changes to the Eclipse development process, release coordination, and community channels including EclipseCon. Having collaborated with both Bjorn and Mike throughout most of this decade has given me an appreciation on how different their perspectives are."

Meanwhile, also in his post, Milinkovich gave an update on some of the new efforts the Eclipse Foundation is pushing:

"Since you left, the team has made great strides in pulling together a number of wonderful, committer-oriented programs for 2010. Included amongst the items already committed to the Board is a branded Eclipse forge hosted elsewhere (e.g. IP Policy free), Git support for the whole community and major improvements in hosted build and test at" 

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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