Eclipse grows beyond Java tools

Eclipse grows beyond Java tools

Get to know Eclipse in Q&A with executive director

How is Eclipse organized and how does it make money?

We have 17 people on staff. We have a dozen in Ottawa, we have four people in an office in Portland, Oregon, and one in Germany. What the Eclipse Foundation does is manage the infrastructure for all of the different companies and people involved in Eclipse to develop their projects. We host over 90 projects. Our business model is not-for-profit, we're funded through membership dues from the various companies. The highest level of membership is called strategic member, and they're paying up to US$250,000 a year, depending on the size of the company. We have 21 strategic members.

What's the benefit of paying that money?

They get a seat on the board and participation in the councils that govern projects. Those are the primary motivations.

What are your major projects for 2008?

The main thing changing at Eclipse is from a technical perspective; we're getting more and more into runtime projects. We started off in Java tools. With the next generation of the technology we became a platform for tool integration and you started to see a lot of modeling tools, performance analysis tools and the like. In the third generation we became an application integration platform originally on the desktop, but now we're seeing more and more people using the basic Eclipse runtime as a lightweight container for doing Java applications and middleware running on servers.

We have a new project now for doing a complete SOA [service-oriented architecture] runtime at Eclipse led by a company called Sopera in Germany. We have a project called Eclipse Link, which does object relational mapping from Java programs to relational databases. That's led by Oracle. And so we're starting to get a lot of momentum in the server side runtime.

What's significant about this?

With [our runtime program called] Equinox we have a component model that crosses devices, desktops, servers, across all of the major platforms that people are interested in Windows, Linux, Mac, and various forms of Unix. Why is that interesting? If you look at what else is out there today, .NET does have that same value proposition of crossing the tiers, they have Windows Mobile for devices, they have Windows desktop and Windows on the server. But they don't really have much of a cross-platform story.

What is your background?

I was recruited into this role from Oracle. I was a VP in their application server technology group. Before that I worked at WebGain, which was a tooling start-up during the dot-com heyday. I have both a technical and a business background.

What does your employee in Germany do?

He's mostly community development. He's out there talking about Eclipse and how companies in Europe can use Eclipse, recruiting new members. A big part of the value of Eclipse is meeting the other companies in the community doing interesting things, looking for business opportunities you can collaborate together on.

What kind of interest are you getting in Europe?

It's huge. On a per capita basis, Germany is probably our biggest country.

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