Life at Eclipse

Musings on the Eclipse Foundation, the community and the ecosystem

Dear Bjorn: Go away


Your latest post deserves a clear response.

Your former colleagues at the Eclipse Foundation have tolerated your public abuse quietly because we are professionals, and we honestly thought that you would tire of it. Apparently we were wrong. But the time has come to say it: You are a jerk. Please go away. You quit the Foundation, you have zero commits since April, and we tire of your sniping from afar.

It is no secret that the Eclipse Foundation is a 501(c)6 and is supported financially by members. But to say that the Foundation does not care deeply about the open source community is a pure fabrication. It attacks the personal and professional reputations of all of us who work hard at the Foundation for the entire community.

Since you left, the team has made great strides in pulling together a number of wonderful, committer-oriented prgrams for 2010. Included amongst the items already committed to the Board is a branded Eclipse forge hosted elsewhere (e.g. IP Policy free), Git support for the whole community and major improvements in hosted build and test at All initiatives that you failed to make much progress on in four years on the staff here.

If you want to go create your own forge somewhere, go ahead. Your steady acid drip of negativity will serve your new community well.

Written by Mike Milinkovich

November 30, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

12 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I understand your frustration, Mike. I’ve never seen so many bridges burning in public. It’s a thing of legend (and a topic at beers last Tues).

    But I think a more professional response would have been to simply remove Bjorn from the Planet. I don’t think anyone else would complain and he’d disappear into obscurity shortly after. And that would be a shame. He does make good points hidden amongst the butane. But such is life.

    Mind you being public about these plans earlier could have helped mitigate the situation and take away some of the fuel.

    Doug Schaefer

    November 30, 2009 at 5:44 pm

  2. @Doug,

    We have thought about deleting him from Planet Eclipse a while ago, but I made the decision not to. In my mind at least, deleting someone from Planet is akin to designating them a troll. Do you think that he’s achieved that level of disruption yet? Obviously I have, but I’m not sure there is a consensus.

    I agree that being public about the plans earlier would have been helpful. I struggle walking the line between transparency, and giving the Board the opportunity to properly review and approve the plans coming from the staff. I do get it wrong upon occasion.

    I will endeavour to blog about the 2010 plans this week.

    Mike Milinkovich

    November 30, 2009 at 5:52 pm

  3. Without a published policy regarding the criteria for forced removal from Planet Eclipse, such a removal would be a big mistake. Think about how that looks: “You know that annoying guy who keeps criticizing and pointing out the openness issues at Eclipse? Let’s remove him quietly from the community because we don’t like him or the way in which he delivers his opinions and ideas.”
    Yeah, that would go over reeeeeal well…

    It’s sad to see someone in your position reduced to name calling – very unbecoming of an Executive Director, I must say.

    Eric Rizzo

    December 1, 2009 at 12:09 am

  4. FWIW, I think that the community would get over it.

    I agree with you that it’s sad that it’s come to this. IMHO, however, Bjorn’s posts have moved beyond legitimate criticism directed at making improvements to the Eclipse community and into spreading FUD and leveling subtle personal attacks against former colleagues. We don’t have a criteria for forced removal from Planet Eclipse because we never dreamed that we’d need one. It makes me sad to think that we need to craft a policy.

    I disgree that it is unbecoming. IMHO, one of Mike’s greatest strengths is that he calls it like he sees it.

    Wayne Beaton

    December 1, 2009 at 12:59 am

  5. And I thought years of diplomacy in order to get the Eclipse Board to agree to anything has finally worn down Mike. Not so fast, he’s still 100% Canadian.

    Glad we hired the right guy for the job !

    Michael Bechauf

    December 1, 2009 at 1:03 am

  6. Enough is enough; well said, Mike.


    December 1, 2009 at 1:20 am

  7. I am jealous! There were a few times I wanted to say to someone to go away while running the JCP.

    I am glad you got this off your chest – sometimes what needs to be said needs to to be said.

    In a way though, the existence of blogs like Bjorn’s are a measure of success of the Eclipse community and so I would be cautious about removal from Eclipse Planet. There is value in allowing a soapbox for venting (ehh, I mean, for criticizing).


    December 1, 2009 at 9:33 am

  8. @Eric I think all communities has a responsiblity for confronting people that are having a negative influence. I don’t think anyone is afraid of criticism or negative comments. However, if someone is consistently making unsubstantiated claims about a project, individuals or group of individuals then it begins to wear on the community. You might not agree that Bjorn was in this category but enough people did, so something needs to be done.

    Ian Skerrett

    December 1, 2009 at 9:43 am

  9. Maybe I should stay out of this discussion. I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. I only read Mike’s post and Bjorn’s post. I don’t get it. It seems Bjorn has pushed some buttons that I don’t know. I also had my story with Bjorn and am not a member of his fan club.

    Bjorn wrote, the foundation is just a trade association. As a non-native English speaker I don’t have too many bad connotations with this term. Reading the quoted wikipedia definition, it’s about 80% correct.

    To me Go away! is an over-reaction. I’d like Bjorn to stay on planeteclipse because I like the points he makes, even if they are “hidden amongst the butane”. The Tragedy of the Commons is really a valid point that the foundation needs to address.


    December 1, 2009 at 10:39 am

  10. Coming from Germany, I have to agree with Frank – the notion of a trade association doesn’t fill me with the same dread that it seems to fill others with. Especially since, as other posters have noted, Eclipse does a great job of supporting and promoting the open source community. The plans Mike outlined show that open source and community remain at the forefront of the foundation.

    Regardless of any validity there may be in Bjorn’s comments, I doubt that he is doing himself any favors by choosing such a public route to express his opinions. Ex-employer bashing leaves a bad taste in the mouth.


    December 2, 2009 at 4:27 am

  11. @Onno This did occasionally happen in the JCP, but from all I know more on an EG than EC or PMO level (Mike and others know some examples 😉


    December 2, 2009 at 10:12 am

  12. I’m very sorry if my choice of words were upsetting to anyone as my only goal was to provoke thoughtful discussion. I posted a longer reply as a blog post.


    December 2, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: