Life at Eclipse

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Eclipse Theia is the next generation of Eclipse!

For over 20 years the Eclipse IDE platform, along with the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP), have provided core technologies for building richly featured language IDEs, products, and applications that are portable across Windows, Mac, and Linux desktops. However, time moves on and the next generation of desktop products and applications are now being built with web technologies. In many scenarios there is a need to support both desktop and web deployments with the same functionality, and obviously those who have this requirement would ideally like to support it using a single platform. 

With this shift towards web and cloud development, many Eclipse platform adopters are now evaluating how to best migrate their existing tools, IDEs and applications. One technology to consider is Eclipse Theia. Theia is a platform that can be used for building both web and desktop IDEs and tools, based on modern, state-of-the-art web technologies (TypeScript, CSS, HTML). This often leads to the question: Is Eclipse Theia the next generation of Eclipse?

EclipseSource, a member of the Eclipse Cloud DevTools Working Group,  recently published a blog post asking this question. The article discusses requirements for a tool platform and how both Eclipse desktop and Eclipse Theia address these requirements. Ultimately, they come to the conclusion that Eclipse Theia can indeed be considered the next generation platform for building portable applications. And I agree. Eclipse Theia is indeed the next generation tooling and applications platform from the Eclipse Foundation!

Just to be clear, this is not an announcement of the deprecation of the Eclipse IDE, the Eclipse Tool Platform or Eclipse RCP. These projects are stable, widely used, well maintained, and will continue to be so for a long time. The timeframe of course depends on the health and activity of the ecosystem and the community, which is now the focus of the Eclipse IDE Working Group created last year to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Eclipse IDE and Platform. I highly recommend any company building products or critical business applications on the Eclipse platform to join that group. At the same time, we are clearly seeing a shift of developer tools and IDEs towards web-based technology, and ultimately the cloud. As a result, many projects currently based on Eclipse desktop technologies are asking what comes next.

The Eclipse ecosystem has always combined sustainability, innovation, and vendor neutral collaboration. For the last 20 years, the Eclipse desktop ecosystem has been an exemplar of this, and it will continue to be a focus of the Foundation. At the same time, we continue to innovate, e.g. with Eclipse Theia and other related technologies such as Eclipse Che, Eclipse GLSP, and EMF.cloud. This is the beauty of an industry-driven open source ecosystem like Eclipse. It addresses the requirements of adopters to have a stable platform, while also providing paths to move forward and innovate.

Despite not sharing a single line of code, in many ways Theia is an evolution of the Eclipse Tools Platform. Theia builds on wisdom distilled from two decades of engineering at Eclipse, in order to inspire the next generation. Besides the obvious benefit of simply offering a web-based technology stack, Theia is slimmer, and able to lean more heavily on aspects of the web technology stack. It does not, for example, provide its own UI technology (as Eclipse needed to do with SWT). It also doesn’t provide a new module system (as Eclipse did with OSGi). Instead, it is based on available technologies such as HTML/TypeScript, Node, VS Code extensions, and the Monaco Code Editor. This is great for the sustainability of the project. By maintaining less code and reusing more standard technologies, development resources can be focused more on the core capabilities of the platform.

Theia also has a very healthy community of active contributors, adopters and funding organizations. It is seeing widespread and mainstream adoption, serving as the platform for notable commercial technologies, including the Arduino IDE, Arm’s mbed studio, and the Google Cloud Shell Editor. There is also a wealth of extensions freely available for Theia at the Open VSX Registry

Theia on openHub

I should also point out that along with Theia, there are several additional technologies that help create a solid ecosystem for the next generation tool platform at the Eclipse Foundation. To mention just a few, Eclipse Che offers online workspace management; Eclipse GLSP provides support for building diagram editors in the browser; Eclipse CDT.cloud for building customizable web-based C/C++ tools and EMF.cloud moves the Eclipse modeling ecosystem to the web.

We are very happy to see Theia flourishing and the robustness of its community.  Theia certainly is the central building block of the new generation of tools that want to benefit from web-based technologies and cloud deployments. And so, yes, in this context, Theia and its ecosystem can be considered the next generation of Eclipse Platform.

2022-04-19: Edited to update the contributors logo graphic

Written by Mike Milinkovich

April 19, 2022 at 7:57 am

Posted in Open Source

Tagged with ,

Eclipse Software Defined Vehicle: Building the Future of Automotive

Today the Eclipse Foundation is announcing a new working group dedicated to developing a new and innovative software platform for the world’s automotive industry. The Eclipse Software Defined Vehicle (SDV) initiative has the support of leading companies across the automotive, IT, cloud, and services industries, all of which are necessary to create the platform and ecosystem that will drive innovation for the next generation of mobility solutions. 

The automotive industry today is undergoing a radical transformation. Electrification, autonomous vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems, and ever-increasing consumer expectations about their in-car digital experience, are all happening at once. These trends are dramatically transforming the system architectures embedded in vehicles. Automotive architectures are moving from networks of special purpose devices to something that more closely resembles servers on wheels, where more powerful general purpose computers are responsible for implementing and coordinating the various systems in the automobile, including the ones which keep us and our families safe on the road. And these systems architectures are rapidly changing how automotive software needs to be built.

The vision of SDV is to radically transform the automotive industry by collaboratively developing a common software platform that all participants in the automotive industry can use in an openly licensed, royalty-free manner. From an IT  technology perspective this is not particularly radical. After all, open source platforms and “software defined everything” (e.g. storage, networking, data center, radio, etc.) are two of the defining trends in the IT industry over the past decade (or more). In the case of open source platforms the trend has been driven by eliminating the cost of non-differentiating software, decreasing the time to market in delivering complex systems, and reducing risk by relying on proven software platforms and components. “Software defined everything” has largely been driven by Moore’s Law and the resulting cost savings of replacing special purpose devices with general purpose computers running special purpose software. 

But from an industry perspective, the technical implications of an openly licensed SDV software platform for the automotive industry are very radical. It will dramatically reshape the automotive industry similar to how software-defined networking reshaped the telecommunications industry. Free software platforms which provide a software stack for the core non-differentiating technologies will quickly lead to disruptive technical and business innovations across the value chain in any industry. 

The Eclipse SDV initiative is primarily radical because it is among the first truly open industry collaborations in automotive. Historically, automotive industry groups have delivered standards or specifications available only to members of their respective consortia. Often these innovations were encumbered with FRAND-style licensing arrangements which hindered wide adoption. Eclipse SDV is going to provide a radical departure from this “business as usual” approach in automotive by focusing on open source software stacks, liberally licensed software specifications, and a community-based, collaborative approach to innovation rather than the top-down, architecture-driven, consensus-based models of the past. The mantra of Eclipse SDV is “code first”, and that is definitely a radical idea in automotive. We are humbled by the trust that Accenture, Arm, AVL, Bosch, Capgemini, Continental Automotive, DMI, ETAS, Futurewei Technologies, Karakun, Microsoft, Red Hat, Reycom, SUSE, and ZF are placing in the Eclipse Foundation to act as the steward for this exciting initiative. 

I want to sincerely thank everyone who helped get this initiative off the ground and raise awareness about its value to organizations across the automotive industry.

I also want to encourage automotive industry stakeholders of all sizes and with any goals to consider joining the working group. The breadth and depth of in-vehicle software creates opportunities across every area of automotive development — from deployment, configuration, and communications to monitoring, safety, and security. If you or your organization are interested in learning more joining Eclipse SDV, please contact us

With the Eclipse Foundation’s commitment to transparency, vendor neutrality, and a shared voice, all participants have an equal opportunity to shape the future of the SDV Working Group and play a vital role in the future evolution of the automotive industry.  

To learn more about getting involved in the Software-Defined Vehicle Working Group, visit sdv.eclipse.org or email us at membership@eclipse.org

Written by Mike Milinkovich

March 8, 2022 at 8:56 am

Accelerating Innovation Through Open Source  – A New Eclipse Foundation eBook 

Open source plays a vital role in today’s software-driven world. It’s shifted from commoditizing existing technologies, to the way new innovations achieve mainstream adoption. This can be seen in the many examples of industry-leading tools and technologies that are built on open source software, such as Eclipse ioFog, Eclipse Theia and Eclipse Che. 

Our new ebook explores the many reasons why organizations around the world, across almost every industry, are developing open source strategies. Businesses that are actively involved in open source software are able to innovate more efficiently, encourage creativity on their teams, and attract and retain skilled developers. 

Of course, the organizations that benefit the most from open source participation are the ones who are putting time and effort into it. In our new ebook, you’ll find out how joining the Eclipse Foundation enables organizations of all types and sizes to contribute to and benefit from open source software under a vendor-neutral governance and legal framework that is unique in the open source world. 

For organizations who are already invested in open source through the creation of an Open Source Program Office (OSPO), we explore how foundation membership eases the burdens of ensuring the secure and responsible use of open source, fostering community engagement, driving contributions, and creating new projects.

We also take a look at how the move towards “software-defined everything” is impacting the automotive industry in a number of different ways. Communities such as the OpenADx Working Group, openMDM Working Group, and Eclipse Kuksa project are bringing automotive industry players together to collaborate on the non-competitive aspects of automotive development. This collaboration helps organizations reduce costs by avoiding repetitive development efforts. 

A growing number of global corporations are playing a critical role in the development of open source projects through their participation in communities and working groups within the Eclipse Foundation. With 18 working groups and over 415 projects, our members are committed to innovating through open source.

To learn more about how the Eclipse Foundation helps organizations achieve their innovation goals, download Accelerating Innovation Through Open Source.

Written by Mike Milinkovich

February 16, 2022 at 9:03 am

Posted in Foundation, Open Source

Celebrating Eclipse at 20

Today the Eclipse project and the Eclipse Foundation are shipping Eclipse IDE 2021‑12, the latest in a string of releases that go back to November 2001. How better to mark its 20th anniversary than to celebrate another release!

Last month we published a press release and a landing page to celebrate twenty years of Eclipse history, which we are augmenting today with a celebration video that includes great segments from Eclipse project leaders, both past and present. I highly recommend taking the time to watch it to learn about the history of this ground breaking open source project, as well as hearing where the community plans to take it in the future. And, definitely don’t miss the guitar solo at the end! I would like to thank the members of the original Eclipse project team who participated: Erich Gamma (Microsoft), John Duimovich (Red Hat), Steve Northover (IBM), and Paul Buck (Eclipse Foundation). I would also like to thank Sarika Sinha (IBM) and Mickael Istria (Red Hat), who joined the video to talk about the project today and who continue to make the Eclipse IDE a great platform for developers around the world. 

It is impossible to overstate the impact that the Eclipse IDE has had on the software industry, the open source community, and the Java ecosystem. Envisioned originally as “a kind of universal tool platform – an open extensible IDE for anything and nothing in particular”, The Eclipse project and platform can be celebrated for many milestones. Here are just a few:

  • The technology itself was groundbreaking. Using the Java language, while utilizing the desktop UI frameworks, made the Eclipse IDE a fast and attractive solution for the enterprise developers of the day. Don’t forget that the original design intent was to compete with Microsoft’s Visual Studio and ensure that the Java ecosystem had an ecosystem of professional tools. Coupling that with the most extensible architecture ever seen in a tooling platform made the Eclipse IDE perfect for its time. No one can dispute that the Eclipse IDE was part of the overall value equation that allowed Java to become dominant in the enterprise.
  • The Eclipse Rich Client Platform was based on the insight that if you could build desktop-portable IDEs, you could re-use that platform for building desktop-portable applications. Pre-dating the Web 2.0 technologies that we now all use, RCP was the go-to technology for building portable desktop applications in the enterprise for a decade. RCP was used extensively in banking, insurance, and healthcare (to name just a few) as the basis for the applications that millions of people used every day.
  • Language support was another key Eclipse win. Although to this day many developers think of the Eclipse IDE as Java-centric, it was used to create language IDEs for almost every available programming language. Today the Eclipse C/C++ Development Tools (CDT) project remains the dominant platform used by the embedded and RTOS markets for their developer tools. Arm, Renesas, Xilinx, ST Micro, NXP, etc. all ship Eclipse IDE-based products today.
  • The “Eclipse Way” of development, first described by Erich Gamma and John Weigand at EclipseCon so many years ago, explained how an open source project could sustainably deliver high quality code on a predictable schedule. And those processes still work today, as we celebrate yet another Eclipse IDE release delivered on time to the day. For over 16 years now, that highly predictable schedule delivered by an open source community has been a marvel of mature development processes embraced by a community.
  • While commonplace today, the Eclipse project was one of the first (if not the first) projects to consciously create a consortium of industry players in support of an open source community. It is hard to overstate how novel this was in 2001, when the professionalization of open source was an entirely new idea. I can confirm that the experiment was a success.

But none of this would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of literally hundreds of people over the years. Initially created by the IBM subsidiary Object Technology International, the Eclipse IDE in its early days was very much an IBM-led project. The Eclipse Foundation was created in 2004 as a vendor-neutral home for the project in order to help build trust amongst potential adopters, and to steward a community. By all measures that strategy was a success, with many IBM competitors joining the Eclipse Foundation and creating tools on top of the platform. After a few years, Eclipse adopters were a who’s who of the industry at the time, including BEA Systems, Blackberry, Borland, Computer Associates, Compuware, HP, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Oracle, SAP, Sybase, and Wind River. 

The success in growing the Eclipse ecosystem resulted in an increase in potential contributors, and today the Eclipse Project is incredibly diverse with over a dozen different companies supporting committers on the project. On behalf of the entire community, I would like to thank each and every one of the committers and contributors who have and continue to make the Eclipse IDE a success.

And finally, twenty years is a long time. I would also like to thank and remember the team members who I knew personally that are no longer with us to enjoy this moment. Jeem and Dani, you are missed.

Written by Mike Milinkovich

December 8, 2021 at 9:12 am

Posted in Foundation, Open Source

Introducing Oniro: A Vendor Neutral, Open Source OS for Next-Gen Devices

It’s a rare event when a new operating system comes along. And it’s even rarer to have the opportunity to influence the direction of that OS at its earliest stages. So I’m delighted to tell you that today we are announcing a new working group and top-level project that gives you that opportunity. The Oniro community will nurture and evolve the Oniro operating system, a transparent, vendor-neutral, and independent OS for the next generation of distributed systems.

The Oniro OS will provide a true, community-driven open source solution that runs on a wider spectrum of devices than today’s operating systems. And it will make it far easier to integrate different types of next-gen hardware and software.

Architected to Go Beyond Today’s Operating Systems

The Oniro OS can run on more devices than current operating systems because it features a multi-kernel architecture:

  • A Linux Yocto kernel allows the OS to run on larger embedded devices, such as Raspberry Pi-class devices 
  • A Zephyr kernel allows the OS to run on highly resource-constrained devices, such as a coffee maker or a thermostat

With the ability to run the same OS on different classes of devices, Oniro will provide an ideal solution to support the future of IoT, machine economy, edge, mobile, and other next-gen devices:

  • Consumers and adopters of the Oniro OS will have a more seamless experience than they have with the current generation of operating systems.
  • Devices will be able to directly connect to one another and share data, enabling a much higher degree of interoperability than is possible today.
  • Data exchanged between devices can flow directly to one another rather than always being shared via the cloud, enabling low latency architectures which are also inherently more secure and private. 

We expect the initial use cases for Oniro will be in the IoT and industrial IoT domains with applications for mobile devices coming later as the community evolves, grows, and establishes its roadmap.

Enabling the Global Ecosystem for OpenHarmony

Oniro is an independent open source implementatio of OpenAtom’s OpenHarmony. To deliver on the promise of Oniro, the community will deliver an independent, but compatible implementation of the OpenHarmony specifications, tailored for the global market. OpenHarmony is based on HarmonyOS, a multi-kernel OS that was developed by Huawei and contributed to the OpenAtom Foundation last year. In the future Oniro will also deliver additional specifications to help drive global adoption.

By creating a compatible implementation of OpenHarmony, the Oniro community can ensure that applications built for Oniro will run on OpenHarmony and vice versa. This interoperability will allow the Oniro community to create a global ecosystem and marketplace for applications and services that can be used across both operating systems, anywhere in the world. 

Join an Innovative Open Source Community

I truly believe that Oniro is open source done right. It’s a huge opportunity to build an operating system that rethinks how devices across many different device classes can interoperate in a secure and privacy-preserving way. 

Because Oniro’s evolution is being guided by an open and vendor-neutral community using the Eclipse Development Process, openness and transparency are a given. This will go a long way towards building the engagement and stakeholder trust necessary to create the global ecosystem.

The founding members of the Oniro Working Group include telecom giant, Huawei, Arm software experts Linaro, and industrial IoT specialists Seco. As more organizations become aware of Oniro, we expect the community to encompass organizations of all sizes and from all industries. 

I strongly encourage everyone with an interest in next-gen devices — corporations, academics, individuals — to take the opportunity to get involved in Oniro in its earliest stages. To get started, join the Oniro conversation by subscribing to the Oniro working group list.

Written by Mike Milinkovich

October 26, 2021 at 8:01 am

Posted in Foundation, Open Source

Tagged with , , ,