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RE: [] RE: [] Eclipse Project Announcement andProject Review Schedule

I'm really glad to see this conversation happening.

Apologies in advance for the long post.  But I hope that an insider view
from a Platform committer who had to earn those rights proves helpful

Eclipse Data Binding is one example of an Eclipse Platform module that
has successfully recruited committers from the community.  But it wasn't
always that way.  How this happened is an interesting study in
open-source at Eclipse.

- In Eclipse Data Binding, there was no hesitation to want to recruit
new committers.  However, there was a lack of understanding about how
this is accomplished.  New committers don't fall out of thin air. :-)

- I initially had to ask Boris if he would be interested in having me as
a committer.  But when I did, and Boris and I talked about what that
would mean, he was very comfortable with going to the next step.

- After I suggested to Boris that we be aggressive in all of our
EclipseCon talks about recruiting new committers, Boris was like "Well,
duh, of course".  This resulted in our initial outside committer who
proved his value again and again for a year, until he got a new job and
had to move on.

- Today, there is another outside committer and several other very
helpful contributors.  Again, we had to explicitly cultivate these
people.  Specifically, we had to work to help these people up the
learning curve technically and culturally regarding what it means to
commit to Platform.

- In both cases, I believe we had to approach the prospective committer
with a "How'd you like to be a committer?" conversation.  In at least
the first case, the committer didn't think he was good enough for the
Platform team.  He needed some reassurance that he was doing fine and
that we would work with him to help him over the remaining hurdles.

- Nobody likes processing Bugzilla bugs.  But it's the way you
communicate with and cultivate your potential committer base.  Until
you've got a bunch of good patches from some committer in Bugzilla, you
can't go to the project mailing list and ask for someone to permitted to
become a committer.

After I got Boris started down this path, he has been very good and very
aggressive about continuing.


What's the point here?  I suspect that the Eclipse organization may not
be very good at understanding and following open-source rules of
engagement.  This goes both for the existing committers and for the


How do we move forward from here?

Eclipse at the Board level has been traditionally a pretty top-down

If you want to start a project, you raise support for it, then you make
a proposal.  Or you make a proposal, then raise support for it.  In both
cases, this happens top-down.

Becoming a committer is a bottom-up process.  You establish trust with
the existing committers and then they will *want* to invite you to
joining them.  Then you build Cool Software that makes other developers
*want* to join you.  That's open-source rules of engagement in a

My *perception* is that the Board hasn't traditionally understood the
bottom-up aspect of open-source very well.

I'm not sure that we will be able to mandate diversity from the

But I would be surprised if a company was determined to obtain commit
access to Platform, yet unable to do it by following open-source rules
of engagement.  Their developers would initially individually earn that
access by submitting high-quality patches and (possibly) gently bugging
the existing committers about earning their commit rights.

If gentle nagging after establishing a long history of contributing
high-quality patches doesn't result in commit rights, then this can be
escalated to the Board level.

If a bunch of companies earn their committer rights on Platform, then we
will obtain the diversity we need.  And then those companies supporting
those committers will be free to do the additional work in Platform that
they want to get done.

I hope this perspective is useful, helpful, etc.

Best regards,

Dave Orme

On Thu, 2008-03-06 at 10:53 -0500, Mike Milinkovich wrote:
> Doug,
> That is a really good question. And I hope it was meant seriously,
> because it is a very important question for the Eclipse community.
> Diversity on E4 is a “must have” for the future health of Eclipse.
> BUT: actions speak louder than words. And that applies to both sides
> of this question.
> Anyone who has the ability to make the very serious time commitment to
> becoming a committer on E4 should step forward. IBM, Innoopract and
> Code9 have indicated that they are going to make highly skilled people
> with significant time commitments available to move this project
> ahead. It would be wonderful if others, including Wind River, find
> themselves able to make the same commitment.
> I have spoken to the leaders on this project who happen to be from IBM
> and they have told me that they agree with you. E4 provides an
> opportunity to raise the diversity on the platform project. Over time,
> it will be their responsibility to ensure that their actions back that
> up as well. And yes, that does mean living up to the diversity
> standard by which all other projects are judged.  
> Actions, not words are going to make E4 successful. 
> At the risk of starting a fight, is anyone else bothered by the fact
> that this initial committer list is composed almost exclusively of IBM
> engineers?
> It seems that it’s time for the platform project to live up to the
> diversity standard by which all other projects are judged. Perhaps
> Eclipse 4.0 is the time to make that change? 
> _______________________________________________
> mailing list
Dave Orme
Coconut Palm Software -- Software Paradise in the Midwest

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