Life at Eclipse

Musings on the Eclipse Foundation, the community and the ecosystem

Archive for June 2006

Eclipse Callisto Installed!

Basically, I am at best a casual Eclipse user, as coding is not generally part of my day-to-day job any longer. But I do think it’s pretty cool how easy it is to download and install all of the projects that shipped as part of the Callisto release. I just grabbed the Eclipse SDK 3.2 and every Eclipse plug-in included in Callisto in about 40 minutes from home. And the process was smooth and obvious.

Here’s what I did:

  1. I went to and clicked on the “Callisto is Here” logo on the home page.
  2. Wayne Beaton and Nate Gervais have been working on the Callisto page, and there are some nice, obvious options to pick from (see pic above). I picked the “I build Java/Web Applications
  3. From there I downloaded the Eclipse SDK 3.2, installed and ran it. I think I was ahead of the rush, because the download was pretty quick, even though I picked the Eclipse site rather than be a good citizen and use one of the mirrors.
  4. After installing the SDK, I started it up and picked “New Updates” off the Welcome page.
  5. After that, I just picked the Callisto Discovery Site, selected all the projects and let it rip….

The whole process was really simple and straightforward.

I have no idea if this is actually the recommended way to go get the full release, but it worked for me and it was drop-dead easy. Hats off to everyone who worked on this to make it all happen. This is waaaayyyyy cool.

Written by Mike Milinkovich

June 30, 2006 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Foundation

Foundation in the Wild

The staff of the Eclipse Foundation are a little spread out. We have most of the people here in Ottawa, but Bjorn Freeman-Benson, Ward Cunningham and Anne Jacko are all in Portland, Skip McGaughey is in North Carolina and Ralph Mueller is in Germany.

Since everyone is so spread out, we really try hard to get together once a quarter for a face-to-face. Our last one was at EclipseCon back in March. A couple of weeks ago we all got together in Ottawa.

Anne Jacko was kind enough to take a pile of pictures of our staff get together at my cottage. For those that are interested, it’s on Otty Lake near Perth, Ontario.

So if anyone is interested in checking out the Foundation staff in relaxed party mode, you can enjoy Anne’s slideshow.

Written by Mike Milinkovich

June 26, 2006 at 1:04 pm

Posted in Foundation

The Callisto Culture

Probably very few people know this, but when I first heard of the idea of doing what has become known as Callisto, I hated the idea. In fact, I attempted an ultimately unsuccessful argument against it. There were various reasons for this, but chief amongst them was that I didn’t think it would succeed.

I was wrong.

Callisto has already been a major success for the Eclipse community. Shipping 10 projects on the same day is no small feat. Everyone who worked on making Callisto a reality deserves a huge round of applause for a job well done. And I need to make this really clear: the idea did not come from the Foundation, and the credit for its success is clearly due to the projects and committers that came together to make it happen. In particular, I would like to single out David Williams from the Web Tools Platform PMC who put a lot of time and effort into the peer leadership required to make Callisto a success.

That said, I think that the real impact of Callisto is yet to come. That’s because cultural change always occurs slowly, and it is the cultural impact of doing annual release trains which I think will be the most impressive over time.

The first major cultural impact will be on the committer community and the project development process within Eclipse. Don’t forget that the release train idea was a bottoms-up phenomenon and that participation in each train is voluntary. Each project decides to join on their own. But the interesting side-effect is that more projects want to join the release train. It’s like a rite of passage: being capable of participating in the release train will come to mean that a project has grown up sufficiently to become a fully mature pr oject within Eclipse. This year, the Callisto projects had a 9-item list of requirements to participate (see the Callisto page under “Requirements”). I’m predicting that next year will have a longer list. But working with a common set of requirements and expectations will have a profound effect on all of the projects on Eclipse as they grow and mature. Most tangibly, this is a process by which the original Eclipse project can instill in the newer Eclipse projects some elements of the Eclipse Way. Not by coercion or by preaching, but by leadership within a group whose membership is purely voluntary. I predict that this will have a profoundly positive impact on Eclipse by creating a more cohesive committer community over time.

The second major cultural impact will be on the technology consumers who use Eclipse. For years the software industry has been conditioned to accept and to even expect failure. Microsoft is a particularly hapless victim of this, to the degree that it has even spawned a cottage industry around explaining the Broken Windows Theory. Contrast that with the fact that for now three years in a row, the Eclipse project has shipped on June 28 [1]. And now with the release train, 9 additional Eclipse projects are shipping on the same day. I believe that this degree of predictability will have a profoundly positive impact on the Eclipse ecosystem, as consumers (a) build their plans with a high degree of confidence that their underlying technology will be available on schedule and (b) aspire to build development plans which have the same degree of predictability.

I really don’t think that any of this happened by accident. Accordingly, I would like to recognize the efforts of John Wiegand, Kevin Haaland and John Kellerman who persevered in overcoming my original objections to doing Callisto. Eclipse is a better place because of their foresight.

I am sure that others can think of additional cultural implications that annual release trains may have on the Eclipse community. Comment away!

[1] This year, the projects are going to be done Callisto on June 28, but the Foundation needs 48 hours to ensure that the mirrors have been populated before turning on the download taps. You can start downloading Eclipse 3.2 and the rest of Callisto on June 30.

Written by Mike Milinkovich

June 22, 2006 at 11:40 am

Posted in Foundation

Motorola Joins Eclipse Board

Motorola announced this morning that they have joined the Eclipse Foundation as a Strategic Developer and has proposed a new project focused on tools for mobile Linux. This is to complement the initiative they announced last week around mobile Linux.

We’ve been working towards this for some months now, and we’re obviously very pleased and excited to have Motorola join the Eclipse community in such a meaningful way.

Edit note: Added link to the project proposal and changed the sentence’s tense from future to past.

Written by Mike Milinkovich

June 22, 2006 at 10:08 am

Posted in Foundation

Maturity Models for Open Source Adoption

I’ve been meaning to blog on this for what feels like forever. I’m glad to finally have a moment to write this up.

Back on April 21st, I was one of a number of presenters at an event here in Ottawa put together by the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) on Competing With Open Source Software. By far and away, my favourite presentation was from Peter Carbone, the Acting CTO of Nortel. He focused on a maturity model for open source adoption that was developed by researchers at my alma mater Carleton University with support and involvement from Nortel.

The maturity model really resonated with me. It felt exactly right, given the experiences I’ve had here at Eclipse.

The six stages of maturity identified were:

  • Stage 0: Denial – open source has no value, or we’re not using it.
  • Stage 1: Use – passive use of FLOSS.
  • Stage 2: Collaboration – contribute code and/or resources.
  • Stage 3: Champion – executive support, project leadership.
  • Stage 4: Strategic – defined business model based on FLOSS, and drive projects to achieve business goals.
  • Stage 5: Aggressive – design products so that they can be based on FLOSS, obtain competitive advantage by harnessing changes in multiple ecosystems.

Within the Eclipse ecosystem we can see companies at every stage of this maturity model. We’re constantly working with organizations who are interested in getting to the next level of maturity.

In addition to the maturity model itself, I felt that this statement under success factors is particularly applicable to Eclipse: “Ability to appropriate co-created value is more important than lowering costs“. I think that statement really defines what brings so many companies to participate in Eclipse projects, where they can collaborate on the platform and then compete with the products they build on top.

I would be really interested in hearing comments on this maturity model and presentation. Like I said, I felt it was very good and really captured what we’re experiencing at Eclipse. Has anyone seen another maturity model that they feel is superior to this?

Written by Mike Milinkovich

June 5, 2006 at 9:57 am

Posted in Foundation