Vendor collaboration key ingredient of Eclipse success

Eclipse remains one of the top three examples of meritocratic open source driven by an open community; vendor collaboration makes this possible

I've been thinking more about the Eclipse Foundation over the past day. As many have written, getting 33 projects, consisting of 24 million lines of code, to deliver on one day is truly impressive.

What's more impressive is the collaboration across 44 competitors and vendors with their own plans and agendas that was necessary to deliver against the release schedule.

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By and large, Eclipse projects are shepherded by employees from one or more vendors whose business are tightly linked to the project. Each of these vendors across different Eclipse projects has different business targets and customer demands they're trying to address. As a theoretical example, the Mylyn project, driven by Tasktop, may have been ready to launch on June 1 with key features that its customer base was looking for, while the PHP Development Tools project, driven by Zend, may have needed a few more days to pull in a whiz-bang feature. Yet both projects released on June 24. (I picked the Mylyn and PHP Development Tools projects because they came to mind first.)

In the commercial software world, or when a single vendor is driving the release schedule of an open source project that they control, cross-project release planning is easy -- or at least easier. Anyone working at a large software company, with different divisions on different schedules, will tell you about the fun of lining up releases into a complete and integrated platform.

The Eclipse Foundation deserves the accolades it's receiving for getting 44 vendors to march in lockstep. Eclipse remains one of the top three examples of meritocratic open source driven by an open community (Apache and Linux being the other two).

And to think all this started as an IBM Canada project. Happy early Canada Day (July 1) ;-)!

Follow me on Twitter at: SavioRodrigues.

p.s.: I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."