Eclipse Director Takes on Challenges of Growth

Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, talks about the growth of the group's open-source projects.

Mike Milinkovich became executive director of the Eclipse Foundation in June after 20 years in the software business. Most recently, Milinkovich was vice president of Oracle AS Technical Services at Oracle Corp. Milinkovich has held key management positions at Oracle, WebGain Inc., The Object People Inc. and Object Technology International Inc., which became a wholly owned IBM subsidiary. Milinkovich spoke with eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft via phone from his base in Ottawa.

What prompted you to accept the job as executive director of Eclipse?

My whole career has been about walking the line between business and technology. I was fascinated with the role at Eclipse because it allows me to deal with both of those in very deep ways. I get to work with some of the brightest technical minds in the software industry, working on projects that millions of developers use. On the business side, I am very interested in the enormous amount of innovation happening in open source. The opportunity to take a role at Eclipse was just too interesting a challenge to pass up.

What have you accomplished during your tenure?

There are three major areas: growth in our open-source projects, growth in membership, and progress in administration and governance. With our open-source projects ... we have created three new top-level projects for Web tools, test and performance tools, and business intelligence and reporting tools. At the same time, we have also proposed and/or created a number of very exciting technology incubators such as Pollinate, the Eclipse communications framework, and the embedded rich-client platform.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read of the growth of the Eclipse open-source development platform.

On the membership side, we have brought in more than a dozen new members since May. It is a great mix of companies large and small. We have established the Eclipse councils for requirements, planning and architecture. Eclipse is the only large open-source community that is trying to have all of its major projects share a common vision and road map. These councils are the mechanism we are using to accomplish that goal. It is still a bit of an experiment.

What was your biggest challenge coming in to the job?

Dealing with the rate and pace of growth at Eclipse. We are basically starting from scratch in many areas but, at the same time, are supporting hundreds of developers, hundreds of commercially available Eclipse-based products, and providing downloads and access to millions of users.

Whats your biggest challenge going forward?

Dealing with growth. Eclipse is growing at an enormous rate on all dimensions. But the staff of the Eclipse Foundation is currently five people. We are not going to be able to do everything that Eclipse needs on our own. It is only by relying on the energy and passion of Eclipses supporters that we can be successful.

Next Page: Rapid growth.