Life at Eclipse

Musings on the Eclipse Foundation, the community and the ecosystem

JetBrains Lockin: We Told You So

The news this morning that JetBrains is switching to a subscription-only model is a perfect example of why and how trusting a proprietary tools vendor leaves you and your business exposed to the whims of their profit margins. Make no mistake: this is motivated by what’s good for their business, not what is good for the developer community. Even if JetBrains backpedals on this decision, it is a lesson worth learning.

Eclipse is the only truly community-based tooling platform. We are 100% open source from top to bottom. There is no “Community Edition”. It’s all open source. We are not beholden to any vendor’s agenda.

We are well aware that IntelliJ is a great product. We are also aware that Eclipse has not been moving forward as quickly as we would have liked this last few years. But we are actively working to change things, and you — the developer community — can help. First of all, the Eclipse platform is now a truly open and community-driven project. Your time and code contributions will be welcomed. Also, we recently announced that 100% of all personal donations will be directed to funding Eclipse enhancements. So you can help in your personal capacity by donating even a fraction of JetBrain’s subscription fees to Eclipse. Just as importantly, we will take directed corporate donations to fund Eclipse enhancements as well. Is there a couple of missing features that is slowing down your company’s use of Eclipse? We can fix those for a fraction of what JetBrains wants to extract from your employer.

Eclipse is a true free and open source software community, focused on the needs of developers everywhere. Let’s use this opportunity to re-invest in it so that it is the tool that you want to use every day. For free. Now and forever.

Written by Mike Milinkovich

September 4, 2015 at 11:02 am

Posted in Foundation

36 Responses

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  1. Mike, the “we are not beholden to any vendor’s agenda” statement is not entirely true. There are several vendors used to contribute to the Eclipse open source code and there have been multiple cases when contributed features were set back and saved for vendor’s own commercial offerings.


    September 4, 2015 at 11:18 am

    • Ancient history. Have you looked at the diversity on the Eclipse project recently?

      Mike Milinkovich

      September 4, 2015 at 11:27 am

  2. Hi,
    “we are truly free, so give us your money and, perhaps, someday, we implement some feature”
    “we are 100% opensource – anyone can contribute” – anyone can contribute to idea too.
    “it is a lesson worth learning” – what lesson? Why you care if you use eclipse?


    September 4, 2015 at 11:24 am

    • If you can’t understand the difference between a community and a vendor-controlled open source product, I can’t help you.

      Mike Milinkovich

      September 4, 2015 at 11:30 am

  3. Bit distasteful to want to profit off of this situation so quickly. And “told you so” is always a really, well, unkind thing to be crowing, isn’t it?

    Tom Busker

    September 4, 2015 at 11:33 am

    • I make no apologies for pointing out the advantages of an open source community over a proprietary vendor.

      Mike Milinkovich

      September 4, 2015 at 11:39 am

      • Do you feel there is a need to point out those advantages? You don’t think that everyone is already fully apprised of that? There’s some clear disadvantages too — the quality of JetBrains products is about $500 better than the quality of Eclipse, more than justifying that amount of money for any of its products. Crowing “told you so” while your own product is a steaming pile of brown and stinky (because you’ve been focusing 100% on the foundation and IoT blablabla and other non-IDE concerns) is surely wildly inappropriate? Kudos to the JetBrains team for creating such an awesome set of products and, yes, this subscription model sucks, though anyone from Eclipse is the very last in line to be shouting anything at all.

        Tom Busker

        September 4, 2015 at 11:45 am

        • I guess here is where we start to play “let’s spot the fanboyz”?

          Mike Milinkovich

          September 4, 2015 at 12:27 pm

          • I was an avid user of eclipse for many years and one of the early adopters who looked at ways to incorporate Eclipse technology at the software development shops I have worked at. Even went so far as to demo our technology stack with Eclipse as a front end and I built several internal plug-ins as well (you can probably see old posts from me in mailing lists as well as donations). All in all, not an IntelliJ fanboy. That said I don’t find much use for Eclipse any more, and indeed it may be that I have grown out of Eclipse. It is too slow (to get things done, beyond just the slowness of the code), the forced perspectives don’t help me, momentum stalled in many areas I cared about (which didn’t matter anyway because the web world changed everything), and generally JetBrains does what I want. Will I continue to pay once it becomes a subscription product? Actually I probably will, and it has to do with product direction and continued innovation. Once new features -> upgrades are not the prime focus of a product, ensuring that the wonderful experience and increased productivity I have come to expect in IntelliJ. Eclipse seems to have had a drain of many individuals that I would consider the “caretakers” of core and important ideals in the Eclipse community. I have a feeling that JetBrains won’t have a similar problem, even with the change to subscription. I wish only the best for Eclipse, and I enjoyed your keynote at Gradle Summit over the summer. So long and take care!

            Nate Snapp

            September 4, 2015 at 2:53 pm

            • Thanks for the kind words. Trust me, we know that IntelliJ is a great product, and we know that Eclipse has its challenges. But we also feel that if we can attract even a modest amount of community investment, we can demonstrate some significant improvements.

              You’re also right that some of the key people who worked on the Eclipse core in the past have moved on. But I’ve been very encouraged by the way the community has stepped up and started to make significant contributions. See [1] for an example of what I mean.


              Mike Milinkovich

              September 4, 2015 at 3:33 pm

          • Ok, Let me tell you who looks like the real dumb fan boy. “YOU” !!! (of course, your attitude may be because you are a contributor, but it is no excuse). Eclipse is a pile of crap. I refuse to use any IDE for which eclipse is used as the base. Eclipse is living proof that not all open source is great and that even software whose code is developed in the public and which is open to public scrutiny can still be crap.

            If I want a free IDE, I would rather use Netbeans. Heck, I have used Visual studio 2013 for node.js and Java development and also use free community version of the same for personal use. In fact, I would rather use IDEA community edition or even pay for their commercial versions. If there is nothing else, I would just use sublime or notepad++ than use the mess that eclipse is

            To be honest, this blog entry, the quality of your replies to others and general attitude reflects poorly on the Eclipse project as well and may be, it is because of attitudes like yours from other contributors that this IDE is such a mess and not moving forward for the better. The first step to improvement is acknowledgement of the fact that people are willing to spend money on another product because they see better value in it. When you try to counter that with the silliness that open source should be preferred just because its open source and nobody controls it, you are going more harm than good for eclipse and OSS in general.


            September 7, 2015 at 4:33 am

  4. I think the message I would have liked hearing from the Eclipse community, if anything at all (probably best to be a bit restrained in a situation like this under the circumstances) would be: “Hey JetBrains, you guys, and we at Eclipse, and the NetBeans community, have helped make Java and other languages successful over many years. Are you sure the subscription model is the right way to go? It might have an impact on adoption and use of Java, which all three of the communities around the main IDEs care a lot about!”

    Jamie Prescott

    September 4, 2015 at 11:40 am

  5. “this is motivated by what’s good for their business, not what is good for the developer community”

    You might think so, but it’s no more than your personal POV. There are other factors which definitely do good for the community with this step.


    September 4, 2015 at 11:58 am

    • Of course it’s my personal point of view. It’s a blog post.

      But I still think it’s true that the motivation here is purely and simply money money money. Which is perfectly fine if you’re willing to send it to them.

      Mike Milinkovich

      September 4, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      • Headline: “_WE_ told you so”

        So the opinions and views stated here are made on behalf of the Eclipse foundation?


        September 4, 2015 at 12:09 pm

        • When I wrote the title I was actually thinking about “we” meaning those of us who understand the difference between proprietary software vendors and open source communities.

          Mike Milinkovich

          September 4, 2015 at 12:26 pm

          • Quite confusing language, given that the whole 2nd paragraph uses “we” as in “Eclipse”.


            September 4, 2015 at 1:05 pm

  6. As an Intellij user for over a decade, I’ve always been happy for Eclipse and its continued development. I always view Eclipse announcements of new versions as a way to tell what I’m missing and what Jetbrains might implement next, as well as to get a sense of how Eclipse has caught up to features that Intellij had that Eclipse didn’t have before. However, comments like this author are writing are leaving a bad taste.


    September 4, 2015 at 12:54 pm

  7. We’re all in this together, Mike Milinkovich, even NetBeans is a free and open source IDE, did you know that? Yes, it’s part of Evil Oracle, that horrible horrible company that has blown new life into Java. Oh, damn you Evil Oracle for doing that! They have been so horrible that we will now pretend that only Eclipse is wonderful because IntelliJ is trying out a subscription model and NetBeans is part of Evil Oracle. Even though both products are a hundred million times better than Eclipse. You live in a nice and simple world, Mike Milinkovich, good for you.

    Henry Rasmussen

    September 4, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    • I have no idea what you’re on about. I never mentioned either Oracle or NetBeans. And, for the record, I think Oracle has done a pretty good job with Java. If someone from the NetBeans team wants to make a statement on be
      half of their community, they can.

      Mike Milinkovich

      September 4, 2015 at 1:33 pm

  8. Totally agree with your statement. I’ve read discussions on Reddit how people are pissed off about this. Why? Because JetBrains releases IDE, people love it, use it and then are hit with subscription model. Not a problem for those who can afford it, but what about those who use it from time to time or developers that just starting out? As far as I remember Google dropped support for Android in Eclipse, so a high school kid that wants to program Android need to subscribe (even if not as much money) to IDE. Typical Google. Remember Google Code or Google Reader? People love it then Google drops support and people sxrram murder because one of the greatest tools in the world (to them) was killed off, THEN they find open source alternatives.


    September 4, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    • Thanks for the support, but I’m not sure that’s quite right about the Android tools. As far as I know, Android Studio is based on the IntelliJ Community Edition, which is remaining free. The subscription fees apply to the paid version. If anyone has different information please let me know.

      That doesn’t mean I agree with the Android team’s decision to switch to IntelliJ. I still think that was a mistake for strategic, technical, community, and business reasons. I realize that others may have a different opinion 🙂

      Mike Milinkovich

      September 4, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    • Just came here to make sure you realize that Android Studio is a free product, as well as IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition that it’s based upon.

      Jura Gorohovsky

      September 4, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      • I think we both hit reply at the same time.

        Mike Milinkovich

        September 4, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      • Ah that’s good. Wasn’t aware of that, thanks.


        September 4, 2015 at 10:47 pm

  9. The main reason I could never use Eclipse:

    1) When I first tried to use it the interface was organized like it was thrown haphazardly together, nothing made sense, not sure if it is any better
    2) It wants me to keep all of my projects in single window, that is fine if you like working like that, but I don’t. I should have an option of a window per project
    3) No VIM emulator (at the time I first tried to use it, unsure if this is still true)
    4) SWT looks like absolute crap and looks like 20 years old. Any chance to move to Swing (or JavaFX)?
    5) Need plugins to do anything worthwhile. Plugin hell.

    As much as I despise jetbrains’ new extortionware licensing I guess I will stick with it because I could never use eclipse.


    September 4, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    • SWT delegates tasks of drawing controls (buttons, labels) to underlying OS. This way an SWT application looks just like any other native application on that OS. So when you it looks like 20 year old crap, I don’t understand what you mean.

      Plugin hell? Really? Do you know that to do anything worthwhile in Jenkins or Maven you need to use plugins? Install and use what you need, sounds like a winning concept to me.


      September 4, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      • Eclipse doesn’t look native at all.


        September 5, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    • Just curious….do you happen to remember how long ago it was that you tried Eclipse? It sounds like quite a while ago.

      Mike Milinkovich

      September 5, 2015 at 8:59 am

      • 2005ish


        September 5, 2015 at 12:22 pm

  10. Last time I said “told you so”, I think I was 5 years old. Since then I’ve considered it a really stupid, among other things, thing to say.

    Pat H.

    September 4, 2015 at 5:41 pm

  11. I was an Eclipse user for 5+ years. Loved it.. then came time to do some Ruby code and I fell in love with RubyMine.. so I switched to IntelliJ/Rubymine for my IDE needs.. At this stage I prefer the organization of IntelliJ’s IDE.. (though admittedly it’s been 3-4 years since I last looked at Eclipse).. If Eclipse had a decent Ruby IDE I would consider it but last I recall it was non existent (after Aptana). Not happy with Subscription models but its a choice of getting shit done and paying subscription or getting less shit done for free.. I’ll pay the subscription.. Though my free choice for Ruby/JS lately has been VIM or Atom…


    September 4, 2015 at 5:46 pm

  12. That’s the reason why I use Maven, to be not tied to the IDE.

    Pietro Bonanno

    September 5, 2015 at 7:00 am

  13. Oh.. the comments are like heynas.

    I agree JetBrain’s IDEA is good, but eclipse didn’t harm you, too.
    And, the contempt for Eclipse is not right.

    SoonPoong Hong

    September 6, 2015 at 8:41 pm

  14. […] The Java community was hit with a double whammy of surprises last week. The first shock came in the form of an announcement from JetBrains that the vendors of cooler-than-Eclipse IDE IntelliJ IDEA  will shortly be whacking a subscription based model across their range of products. Users were quick to take to their keyboards in protest, whilst Eclipse kicked back its heels, surveyed the carnage, and chuckled, “We told you so.” […]

  15. I’m not surpised about JetBrain’s move as well.
    It’s not the first attempt (of other companies) to rip off customers that way.
    That said, i have to explain that i own several JetBrain licenses myself, but still use Eclipse and sometimes Netbeans (or even the clunky JDeveloper) for professional projects. I don’t even see any reasons for the JetBrain’s hype. Eclipse is – if customized to your needs – a totally perfect IDE with a shiny GUI. Well, “perfect” is nothing, even not IntelliJ IDEA. Most of the arguments about performance advantages of IDEA are not underlaid by my very own experiences. All IDE’s shine or fail in different areas.

    Of course, Eclipse and all(!) other IDE’s have plenty space for improvements.

    My personal summary:

    After all, IDEA is clearly the better fit for the “playing” and “eye candy” oriented developer, whereas Eclipse is more focussed to the point, provided that some love went into its customization.

    And by the way, IntelliJ community editition is open source as well, under Apache License. It’s your choice:
    pay for it as JetBrains sees fit or rip it into another opensource product or use/switch to other IDE’s.

    I see no need for ideological flame wars.
    At the end of the day your work counts – not your IDE.

    Mark Werdeng

    September 11, 2015 at 6:35 pm

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