Greg Stein, an engineering manager in the open-source group at Google and chairman of the Apache Software Foundation, told eWEEK that Google has considered joining Eclipse and has talked with Eclipses executive director, Mike Milinkovich, about the possibility.
In an interview following his keynote address at the EclipseCon 2006 conference here March 22, Stein said of the search giants possible move toward Eclipse: "Were thinking about it. Weve been talking to Eclipse. Ive had some conversations with Mike, and were either going to join in some capacity or were going to donate money. But either way we want to help Eclipse."
Should Google join, it would be another major software-as-a-service provider in the Eclipse fold, as Salesforce.com announced its membership in Eclipse earlier this week.
"Weve had conversations with Google about them becoming a member," said Milinkovich.
"We would love to have them. Theres been discussion of them contributing in some way, but Im not sure whether theyll join or not."
Added Milinkovich: "We talk to Google quite a bit. They use Eclipse internally, and we hope theyll join."
Stein spoke at EclipseCon as chairman of Apache. He discussed comparisons between Apache and Eclipse, and even described how the two organizations can work together and already successfully have worked together.
In fact, Stein said some technology that was proposed to Apache as an incubator project was later split in two, with one part staying in Apache and another part going to Eclipse.
The technology was proposed to Apache by Zimbra and is known as Kabuki.
Kabuki is essentially the Zimbra AJAX Development Toolkit, which provides a rich client library, similar in style to traditional object-oriented widget libraries like Eclipses SWT.
The Eclipse AJAX toolkit is known as the Eclipse ATF (AJAX Toolkit Framework) Project and is led by IBM with participation from Zimbra and others.
Milinkovich said this kind of dichotomy is not new between the organizations.
"You tend to see the runtimes at Apache and the tools at Eclipse," Milinkovich said, citing BEA Systems Beehive runtime that went to Apache and the Pollinate tools that went to Eclipse.
Meanwhile, on March 20, Adam Gross, vice president of developer marketing at San Francisco-based Salesforce.com announced that the company had joined the Eclipse Foundation and released a new AppExchange Toolkit for Eclipse.
Available as a free download from the AppExchange Developer Network, the toolkit provides developers with tools to customize, integrate and build on-demand applications on the AppExchange platform.
"We are actively reaching out to Eclipse developers," Gross said. "We think Eclipse is the way things are trending."
Meanwhile, in a brief discussion regarding licenses, Stein argued that Eclipses Eclipse Public License is less free than the Apache License.
However, Milinkovich said it is a matter of perspective. "We say its the freedom of the producers versus the freedom of the consumers," he said. "We agree to disagree," he added.
Moreover, "Were starting to see more and more cooperation between Apache and Eclipse," Stein said.