Skip to main content

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index] [List Home]
[] The Opportunity

At last week's EclipseCon, we had a public unveiling of Eclipse Che. 

Generally, the engagement and support has been substantial. There have been some concerns stated around the marketing tactics used by the project and potential confusion that this creates around the future of other projects within the Eclipse Foundation.

Here is my position.

Codenvy is completely committed to the Eclipse Foundation. Not Eclipse Che, but the Eclipse Foundation. Codenvy has a unique business strategy where Eclipse's universal success leads to commercial success for Codenvy. There are not many companies that can make this sort of statement about their relationship with an open source foundation.

Our relationship is one where we believe that 80% of Eclipse technology users are ultimately employees within organizations that we want to sell to. Growing the reach of Eclipse technology from 5M to 20M users is an essential part of our strategy.

From our humble beginnings 4 years ago, we always intended to take an open source strategy. We knew that ecosystem is the lifeblood of commercial opportunities, and we had aspirations to establish community that mirrored Eclipse's success.  Open source is the only way to achieve this.

Eclipse was not our first open source channel. We originally targeted the Apache Foundation because of the perceived lock-in of the Eclipse IDE at the Eclipse Foundation. We had made light overtures from time to time, but Eclipse Foundation's identity was intimately tied to a single product that could perceive our initiatives as a threat. It was the accidental and thoughtful dialog with key IBM engineers that opened doors with Mike's management team where the first signs of openness were expressed.  That was over 2 years ago.

The first year of our membership was an uncomfortable scenario where we had to perform significant engineering, to explore various positioning, learn how to operate in the open, and figure out how to overcome the built-in advantages afforded the Eclipse IDE while honoring its history.

At the same time, the Eclipse Foundation and the IDE itself suffered perception issues in the market. I honor everyone that bleeds the Eclipse IDE. It is a lifetime labor of love for those involved. Those involved deserve medals for their efforts.  Though, as an organization, we cannot turn a blind eye to the market perception - the IDE was losing market share, and market sentiment had turned negative. 

When this happens, incremental product improvements alone cannot change momentum. Momentum is altered by changing the market dynamics. To attract more developers to Eclipse, Eclipse needed to have an identity makeover that attaches it to "modern" & "innovative" criteria.  The working group and technology initiatives related to IOT and location tech are helpful, but the organization was publicly thought of as purely an IDE organization.

So we had to tackle the IDE perception issue directly. We felt that we needed to change the market dynamics from 3 products (netbeans, intellij, eclipse) to 4 (+che).

Eclipse Orion started down this path - but as the product narrowed its scope, its market perception became tied closer to web-technologies and web editing. Also, while a couple years ago we attemped to create a consolidated Eclipse Cloud Dev roadmap around a single vision, this consolidation did not occur.

In the summer of 2015, after our 3rd rewrite in 4 years of the kernel, we saw technology for the first time that gave us confidence that we could satisfy the essentials for generating a new platform:  a) extensible to the same degree as Eclipse, b) responsive with performance that would surprise and amaze, c) design that was professional, and d) configuration with docker such that workspace portability could really be solved.  We were convinced that we had solved the "innovative" criteria.

We just needed to solve the "modern" criteria.

Unfortunately, Google's adoption of JetBrains had accelerated the negative perception problem. There was a perception debt that also had to be paid down.  Also, in the past 2 years, most of our positioning exercises had attached to cloud development - and that story just fell flat.  We needed something more significant.

We recognized that the only way to grow the overall Eclpise community was to position in such a way where there was a story of the future, but also neutralized the realities that exist with negative perception.

The next-generation positioning combined with a story on fundamental problems faced by all workstation-based IDEs proved to be a magical combination. It was the right story as it allowed us to package a forward-looking story.  We did not have to be a dirty politician by attacking individual products, though we have no problem reminding the community that JetBrains is not truly open source.

That story has hit a nerve and there is significant engagement and adoption. I have provided the event summary below. Important to me - we are seeing about 75 GitHub issues posted / week, and about 10% of all pull requests are coming from non-committers. Just this week, Codenvy executed an agreement with a F100 IOT provider to build an embedded IDE for their devices based upon Che - it will be on display at a keynote in May and has potential reach to 10M people over 20 years.

This is substantial and meaningful for the Eclipse IDE:
1. The community at large does not make the distinction between the pockets of people who work on the Eclipse IDE or Eclipse Che. They just presume that we are all Eclipse people. We are, aren't we? The community believes that the people that brought them the Eclipse IDE is bringing them Che. This halo affect will create larger interest and immediacy in people's adoption of the Eclipse IDE. There are organizations that Codenvy is working with that were considering JetBrains purchases that are now reconsidering open source. Questions that rise about future investment in Eclipse IDE are simply answered with communication and a roadmap.

2. Our vision is more substantial than a portable workspace. We are moving into an era where developers care more about maintaining their right to choose their tools than following the corporate standard. At the same time, corporations desire team-based productivity enhancements, governance controls, and securing the devops workflow. Some of these problems can be solved on the edge device, and some can be solved in the server room. Each organization will have a bias as to whether their developer services (intellisense, development workflow, test environments, etc) should reside on each developer's machine or within the workgroup.  So let's let them have their choice.  The way we achieve that choice is to let enterprises choose their preferred tool and make interoperability between local services and remote services.  We are the only organization positioned to deliver on this vision - where intellisense, test runtimes, tooling stacks can float between the server and the desktop, giving the developer their choice of preferred tool: desktop IDE, browser IDE, or other.  The momentum of Che combined with Eclipse's existing base makes us the only vendor that could plausibly pursue this.  And this creates substantial commercial opportuntiies for each of our companies since the workspace workflow is the only component that is integrated into version control, issue management, and continuous integration. Leading on this front lets our organizations lead more ambitiously on continuous delivery + devops.

3. This momentum provides confidence to Codenvy's investors that there is a future, large commercial opportunity. Investors like to chase growth, and that perception historically does not exist with IDEs. With Codenvy's marketing budget approaching $1M and 80% of it dedicated to Eclipse-related engagement, I am not sure there is any other single company that is spending as much to promote Eclipse technologies. With investors focused on growth, as Codenvy demonstrates commercial viability, there is no reason that our marketing budget doesn't follow an exponential curve. This strategy allows us to pursue a business plan that excites potential investors, which leads to more investment dollars directly channeled into areas that benefit Eclipse.

For those organizations represented here that have had their marketing departments slow their sponsorship of Eclipse initiatives, the current marketing environment is an amazing opportunity to attach themselves to a growth wave that will fundamentally change the nature of development within enterprises for the next two decades.  I am happy to share with each and every one of your marketing departments why this opportunity is significant and how their historical investments and enhanced future investment can be directly beneficial to their enterprise sales objectives.

I believe our opportunity is to bring our projects closer together, establish Eclipse brand as innovative and modern, and to provide a vision of confidence to software development teams that we are collectively working on making their lives better.


Tyler Jewell | CEO | tyler@​codenvy.​com | 9​78​.8​84​.53​55

Back to the top