New Era Under Way at Eclipse Foundation

The open-source organization gains a new director, Oracle veteran Mike Milinkovich, as it prepares to expand its membership.

The Eclipse Foundation last week named Mike Milinkovich, an Oracle Corp. executive, to the position of executive director of the open-source organization.

The appointment gives the newly independent body a fresh outlook. In February, IBM spun the Eclipse consortium out from under its sponsorship and influence and into an independent entity to oversee the development and maintenance of the Eclipse open-source application development platform.

Milinkovich, who has experience in Java and object-oriented programming worlds, will join the foundation as its executive director following the organizations exhaustive search to name the individual who would lead Eclipse as an independent entity.

According to Eclipse Foundation officials, Milinkovichs initial priorities will include building the membership of the Eclipse Foundation and expanding the ecosystem of users and contributors; launching Eclipse 3.0 this summer; establishing a foundation for the new open-source WebTools project, which extends Eclipse to server-side Java; and forming the Eclipse Management Organization.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about Milinkovich getting the position.

Milinkovich will have to give up his post at Oracle and move over to the Eclipse Foundation, sources said. Prior to Oracle, the Ottawa-based Milinkovich held positions at now-defunct WebGain Inc., The Object People Inc. and Object Technology International Inc. He previously served as vice president of Oracle Technical Services at Oracle.

Sources said Milinkovich was chosen for his technology skills, as some of the other candidates competing for the position did not have strong technology backgrounds. However, said one person close to the process, who asked for anonymity: "They dont need a coder; they need somebody with organizational experience."

"Its really very positive," said an Eclipse member who requested anonymity. "Mike has a unique set of both technical and organizational skills that make him right for the job. His technical skills will earn him the respect of the open-source project developers, and his organizational skills will serve him well in running the organization and growing it. And, hes never directly worked for IBM."

The Eclipse Foundation coming-out party was held at the EclipseCon conference in Anaheim, Calif., in early February. In March, Eclipse began naming individuals to key positions in the organization, based on internal elections.

From those elections, Todd Williams, vice president of technology at Genuitec LLC, of Plano, Texas, and Rich Main, director of Java development environments for SAS Institute Inc., of Cary, N.C., were elected to the Eclipse board of directors as the two add-in provider representatives.

More than 40 add-in providers selected Williams and Main to represent them on the board.

Also in the earlier elections, the two persons voted to represent Eclipse "committers," or those with partial control over the content distributed in the CVS (Concurrent Versions System) repository, are John Wiegand, Eclipse platform lead for IBM, in Portland, Ore., and Bjorn Freeman- Benson, a research scientist at the University of Washingtons Department of Computer Science and Engineering, in Seattle.

Skip McGaughey, former chairman of the Eclipse board and now a spokesperson for the organization, said one of the primary criteria for the new executive director position is that the person not be an IBM employee. McGaughey is an IBM employee. McGaughey and other members of the board declined to comment for this story.

Reached at home by phone, Milinkovich said he could not comment on the status of the position.

Some observers said the naming of a new executive director is good news for the foundation, as now it can move forward with other pressing issues, such as dealing with the possibility of working more closely with Sun Microsystems Inc. and BEA Systems Inc., two Java companies that have had little to no dealings with Eclipse up to now, although board members said the organization extended invitations to both companies to join.

Sun toyed with the idea for several months before pulling back yet is still holding out the possibility of working with Eclipse in some capacity.

BEA, which recently open-sourced the run-time framework for its WebLogic Workshop Java development tool, under the code name Beehive, said it welcomes working with Eclipse on the open-source front.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about BEAs strategy, now called Apache Beehive, to turn over the development framework.

Cornelius Willis, BEAs vice president of developer marketing, said Beehive, being a framework and not an IDE (integrated development environment), is complementary to Eclipse. "We would love it if there [were] a plug-in for Eclipse targeting Beehive," Willis said.

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