Eclipse Reaches Out, Joins Three Groups

In a triple-play move, the Eclipse Foundation joins the JCP, OMG and the OSGi Alliance in an effort to broaden the organization's already substantial base in the Java world and beyond.

The Eclipse Foundation has extended its reach into the open-source and broader Java development communities by joining a trio of organizations: the Java Community Process, the Object Management Group and the Open Services Gateway initiative Alliance.

"Eclipse is in the process of joining the JCP, OMG and OSGi Alliance," said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Ottawa-based Eclipse Foundation. "Participating more fully in industry organizations is a sign of Eclipses growing role and maturity in the software marketplace. Were happy to support these community organizations as members. This complements our long-standing policy of implementing based on standards wherever possible."

With the new moves, Eclipse is reaching out and expanding its substantial base of supporters in the Java space and beyond.

Despite joining multiple organizations, Milinkovich acknowledges that the JCP news is the biggest piece of the triple play of new memberships. The JCP is led by Sun Microsystems, and Eclipse has courted Sun to become a member of the foundation—even offering to change the name of the organization if Sun were to join. Yet, although Sun considered joining Eclipse, the company decided against it.

Now Eclipse has joined the JCP in an effort to be involved in shaping the future of Java. Indeed, in a blog post last year, Milinkovich suggested that Sun should follow the Eclipse process in governing the open-sourcing of Java.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about how Sun finally open-sourced Java.

However, regarding the new move to join the JCP, Milinkovich told eWEEK: "We dont see this as any kind of concession, and it definitely has no link to open-source Java. We believe that combining open source and open standards are the forces that drive adoption in our industry today."

Moreover, Milinkovich said the new memberships are primarily a signal of the Eclipse Foundations support to these community organizations. "Clearly we are a big fan of these types of organizations," Milinkovich said. "Our projects rely heavily on standards set by these three organizations, and we felt it important to acknowledge our support and to participate as much as we possibly can. We have benefited greatly from the specifications developed by all three."

However, Eclipse is "still evaluating how deeply we can participate in the organizations, as we have limited resources to invest in their expert groups and task forces," Milinkovich said.

Meanwhile, regarding the past tension between Eclipse and Sun, Milinkovich quipped, "Perhaps now that Eclipse has taken the initiative and made this gesture of goodwill, Sun would consider joining Eclipse?"

Steven OGrady, an analyst with RedMonk, said, "A closer relationship between the Java specification body and the most popular tools consortium is a good thing."

With OMG, the Eclipse membership could be viewed as a tit-for-tat situation, as OMG has been a member of the Eclipse Foundation since its inception. Indeed, OMG sponsored the first annual EclipseCon conference in Anaheim, Calif. This years EclipseCon will be held March 5-8 in Santa Clara, Calif.

Meanwhile, joining the OSGi Alliance is a natural move for Eclipse, as the OSGi framework specification forms the basis of the Eclipse Runtime. And the runtime is fully based on the OSGi notion of "bundle," which is equivalent to Eclipse plug-ins.

In addition, the OSGi work at Eclipse is the basis of the Eclipse Equinox project. Equinox is an implementation of the OSGi R4 core framework specification, a set of bundles that implement various optional OSGi services and other infrastructure for running OSGi-based systems, Eclipse officials said.

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