Committer Profile: Miro Spönemann

At a Glance: Miro Spönemann

Miro Spönemann
  • Involved in open source since: 2008
  • Works for: TypeFox in Kiel, Germany
  • Eclipse Foundation contributor since: 2014
  • Involved in: Eclipse Open VSX, Eclipse Sprotty, Eclipse Theia, Eclipse Layout Kernel, Eclipse Xtext, Eclipse LSP4J
  • Committer to: All six Eclipse Foundation projects in which he is involved
  • Committer since: 2014
  • Fun fact: Miro and his wife plan to release their recordings of traditional German Christmas songs on Spotify at the end of November 2020

Why did you first get involved in open source software and OSS communities?

When I wrote my university diploma thesis, the group I was working with started using some of the tools in the Eclipse Modeling Project and I found that very interesting — especially the graphical modeling framework and Eclipse Xtext, a domain-specific language framework. We used these tools for our teaching and research and it really got me interested.

After I finished my work at the university and completed my PhD in 2014, I looked for a company that would allow me to do open source software development. I found one in Itemis, where there was a great opportunity to get involved in the Eclipse Xtext project. That involvement helped me learn about the processes at the Eclipse Foundation and understand how things work.

How did that involvement lead to you becoming a committer?

Quite soon after I started working at Itemis, I also started contributing to Eclipse Xtext and was very quickly asked to join the team of committers.

As time passed, we started more projects at the Eclipse Foundation. For many projects, I was not only a committer, but also a co-founder. I think there are actually more projects that I helped to get started than projects I joined after they started.

How would you summarize your experiences as a committer?

I really like that by committing code to an open source project, I can then reuse those features and contributions in other projects I'm involved in, such as closed source projects with customers. I can see a direct impact in the open source world, and also in real-world applications. That's something I find very valuable and rewarding.

One very challenging thing is it's quite hard to find time to write documentation and I see open source projects that are becoming stale because of the lack of documentation. A more personal aspect is that I regard software development as a highly creative process, and it is often hard for me to get into other creative expressions, such as music and photography, after eight hours of work.

But, developing in the open source world really motivates me because I appreciate the openness and transparency of what I'm doing. I think whatever happens in my career I will quite likely want to stay in the context of open source software.

What are your next steps and goals as a committer and Eclipse Foundation community member?

Currently, my most active project is Eclipse Open VSX, the new registry for VS Code extensions. We started the project at TypeFox and now want to hand it over to the Eclipse Foundation. I will help transfer the service and website to Eclipse Foundation infrastructure.

A few months ago, I submitted a change to VSCodium so it now uses Eclipse Open VSX as its main registry for extensions. Since then, we’ve seen a lot of traction with users and contributors wanting to push their extensions to Eclipse Open VSX. I want to continue to support that community and see how we can best meet all the different needs.

What would you say to developers who are considering getting more involved in open source software projects at the Eclipse Foundation?

My main advice would be to find a great company that gives you the flexibility to be involved in open source software during work time. It's much better than just doing it at night.

It also gives you the opportunity to use your own open source code for your work. That adds value to your company through the open source projects, which is really great.