Bringing Eclipse into the Open

Former Eclipse Foundation executive Dave Bernstein discusses the foundation's transition from an IBM-dominated group into an independent organization.

Dave Bernstein is a former senior vice president of product development at Rational Software Corp., who was tasked with leading the effort to transition the consortium of vendors working on the Eclipse open-source development platform from an IBM-dominated group into an independent organization. Bernstein decided to go his own way rather than to join IBM following its acquisition of Rational early last year, but he stayed on in a "consulting" role to facilitate the transition. These days, the Wayland, Mass.-based Bernstein is "developing ideas around which I might build a new company," he said. Bernstein spoke exclusively to eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft for a cover story on Eclipse.

With Mike Milinkovich now ensconced as the director of the Eclipse Foundation, whats next for the foundation?

Well, the foundation has a huge opportunity in front of it in terms of the impact it can have. Its one of those rare conjunctions where its a win for the large suppliers, its a win for the small suppliers, and its a win for the end users. And to take advantage of that opportunity the foundation has to drive collaborative development among the contributors—the tier one companies. And has to organize the rest of the foundation members, the membership at large, to grow the infrastructure. And has to build the Eclipse management organization to facilitate that and make it all work.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read eWEEKs interview with Mike Milinkovich.

So what were you looking for in terms of an executive director? What kind of qualities?

Well, first and foremost would be leadership—someone who can lead the organization and lead its members. Eclipse doesnt have any power. Eclipse doesnt control what individual members do. It operates by inspiration and by leadership.

So first and foremost we needed an executive director who could inspire and attract the members of the consortium who were going to collaboratively develop the parts of Eclipse. These are companies who were natural competitors. Collaborative development is fundamentally hard inside a single, monolithic company. To accomplish it among multiple competitive companies at multiple sites will be extraordinarily challenging. And the fundamental skill you need there is leadership. Thats followed closely by management ability, the ability to orchestrate projects and execute and deliver, and by a set of technical skills that would enable the person to effectively interact with a broad range of participants—some of whom are operating at the appliance level and some who will be fundamental technical contributors.

So those were the top three qualities, I think.

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