Eclipse Working Groups

Fostering open industry collaboration to
develop new industry platforms

Introducing Eclipse
Working Groups

Companies looking to drive innovation and efficiencies within their own organizations are increasingly looking to external sources to advance new ideas. Commonly referred to as “open innovation,” this paradigm encourages collaboration across organizational boundaries, and is often practiced in the open source community. Eclipse Working Groups allow organizations to combine the best practices of open source development with a set of services required for open innovation, enabling organizations to foster industry collaborations.

Eclipse Working Groups provide a vendor-neutral governance structure that allow organizations to freely collaborate on new technology development. Based on the experience within the Eclipse community, collaboration among organizations can:

  • help improve the supply chain of software development tools in a particular industry
  • create a new technology platform that increases interoperability among organizations and technologies
  • allow organizations to increase their use of open source technology.

The Eclipse Foundation, through Eclipse Working Groups, provides five basic services to enable these types of collaborations:

Any collaboration needs these services. Eclipse Working Groups make it easy to reuse the services provided by the Eclipse Foundation rather than creating them from scratch.

Vendor-Neutral Governance

Good governance controlling how decisions are made, policies are set and disputes resolved is important for any successful collaboration.

The Eclipse Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation, is governed by a set of bylaws, agreements, and policies that ensure a vendor-neutral governance model for Working Group collaborations.

All entities in a Working Group participate based on their contributions and merit. No one individual or organization has any special status or veto.

Intellectual Property (IP) Management

Collaborations among different organizations requires due diligence on the co-developed intellectual property. Eclipse Working Groups are established under the IP policies of the Eclipse Foundation. These policies ensure that any open source software created in Eclipse projects is available for use by anyone, including developers of commercial software products.

The Eclipse Foundation consciously promotes and encourages software vendors to use Eclipse technology for building their commercial software products and services. This is made possible by the requirement that all Eclipse projects are licensed under the Eclipse Public License (EPL), a commercial-friendly OSI approved licensed.

The Eclipse Foundation also undertakes a number of steps to attempt to ensure the pedigree of the intellectual property contained within Eclipse projects. The first step in the due diligence process is trying to ensure that all contributions are made by the rightful copyright holder and made under the EPL. All committers are required to sign a committer agreement stipulating that all of their contributions are their original work and are being contributed under the EPL.

The second step is requiring that all source code for contributions created outside the Eclipse development process go through the Eclipse Foundation IP approval process. This process includes analyzing selected code contributions to ascertain the provenance of the code and its license compatibility with the EPL. Contributions that contain code not compatible with the EPL are intended to be screened out through this approval process and thus not added to an Eclipse project.

The end result is a level of confidence that Eclipse open source projects can be safely distributed in commercial products.

IT Infrastructure

The Eclipse Foundation manages the IT infrastructure for Eclipse Working Groups, including Git code repositories, Bugzilla databases, Hudson CI servers, development-oriented mailing lists and newsgroups, download sites and websites.

The infrastructure is designed to provide reliable and scalable services for the committers developing the Eclipse technology and the consumers using the technology.

Development Process

The Eclipse community has created a successful development process for large-scale distributed development that involves many different organizations. At the core of the Eclipse process are the common open source development principles of openness, transparency, and meritocracy. The Eclipse Foundation provides services and support to help Working Groups implement and succeed in their collaborative development.

Ecosystem Development

An important way that the Eclipse Foundation supports the community is through active marketing and promotion of Eclipse Working Groups and the wider Eclipse ecosystem.

To assist in the development of the Eclipse Working Groups, the Eclipse Foundation organizes a number of activities, including co-operative marketing events, community conferences (EclipseCon, Eclipse Day), online resource (Eclipse Marketplace), bi-annual Members meetings, and other programs to promote the entire Eclipse community.