About the Eclipse Foundation
The Eclipse Foundation provides our global community of individuals and organizations with a mature, scalable, and business-friendly environment for open source software collaboration and innovation. The Foundation is home to the Eclipse IDE, Jakarta EE, and over 350 open source projects, including runtimes, tools, and frameworks for a wide range of technology domains such as the Internet of Things, automotive, geospatial, systems engineering, and many others.
The Eclipse Foundation is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization supported by over 275 members who value the Foundation’s unique Working Group governance model, open innovation processes, and community-building events. Our members include industry leaders who have embraced open source as a key enabler for business strategy.
The Eclipse Project was originally created by IBM in November 2001 and supported by a consortium of software vendors. The Eclipse Project continues to be used by millions of developers.
The Eclipse Foundation was created in January 2004 as an independent not-for-profit corporation to act as the steward of the Eclipse community. The independent not-for-profit corporation was created to allow a vendor-neutral, open, and transparent community to be established around Eclipse.
The Eclipse community consists of individual developers and organizations spanning many industries. The Foundation employs a full-time professional staff to provide services to the community. The Eclipse Foundation is funded by annual dues from our members and governed by a Board of Directors. Strategic Developers and Strategic Consumers hold seats on this Board, as do representatives elected by Add-in Providers and Open Source committers. Eclipse committers are typically employed by organizations or are independent developers that volunteer their time to work on the Eclipse projects.
The Eclipse Foundation provides four key services to the Eclipse community: 1) IP Management, 2) Ecosystem Development, 3) Development Process, and 4) IT Infrastructure. Full-time staff are associated with each of these areas and work with the greater Eclipse community to assist in meeting the needs of stakeholders.
Intellectual Property (IP) Management
An important aspect of the Eclipse Foundation is the focus on enabling the use of open source technology in commercial software products and services. We consciously promote and encourage software vendors to use Eclipse technology for building their commercial software products and services. This is made possible by the fact that all Eclipse projects are licensed under the Eclipse Public License (EPL), a commercial friendly OSI approved license.
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 under the Eclipse Public License (EPL). All committers are required to sign a committer agreement that stipulates all of their contributions are their original work and are being contributed under the EPL. If a committer is sponsored to work on an Eclipse project by a Member organization, then that organization is asked to sign a Member Committer Agreement to ensure the intellectual property rights of the organization are contributed under the EPL.
The second step is that the source code related to all contributions which are developed outside of the Eclipse development process is processed through the Eclipse Foundation IP approval process. This process includes analyzing selected code contributions to try to ascertain the provenance of the code, and license compatibility with the EPL. Contributions that contain code licensed under licenses 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 release technology that can be safely distributed in commercial products.
A unique aspect of the Eclipse community and the role of the Eclipse Foundation is the active marketing and promotion of Eclipse projects and wider Eclipse ecosystem. A healthy vibrant ecosystem that extends beyond the Eclipse open source community to include things like commercial products based on Eclipse, other open source projects using Eclipse, training and services providers, magazines and online portals, books, etc, are all key to the success of the Eclipse community.
To assist in the development of the Eclipse ecosystem, the Eclipse Foundation organizes a number of activities, including co-operative marketing events with Member companies, community conferences, online resource catalogs (Eclipse Marketplace and the Eclipse YouTube Channel), bi-annual Members meetings and other programs to promote the entire Eclipse community.
Development Community Support
The Eclipse community has a well-earned reputation for providing quality software in a reliable and predictable fashion. This is due to the commitment of the committers and organizations contributing to the open source projects. The Eclipse Foundation also provides services and support for the projects to help them achieve these goals.
The Foundation staff help implement the Eclipse Development Process. This process assists new project startup and ensures that all Eclipse projects are run in an open, transparent and meritocratic manner. As part of this process, the Foundation organizes member community reviews for projects to ensure consistent interaction between the projects and the broader membership.
The Eclipse community organizes an annual release train that provides a coordinated release of those Eclipse projects which wish to participate. The release train makes it easier for downstream consumers to adopt new releases of the projects because 1) all the projects are available on the same schedule, so you don't have to wait for independent project schedules, and 2) a level of integration testing occurs before the final release to help identify cross-project issues.
The Eclipse Foundation manages the IT infrastructure for the Eclipse open source community, including Git code repositories and code review tools, bug trackers, Jenkins build farm, development-oriented mailing lists and forums, download site and website. The infrastructure is designed to provide reliable and scalable service for the committers developing the Eclipse technology and the consumers who use the technology.
A Unique Model for Open Source Development
The Eclipse Foundation has been established to serve the Eclipse open source projects and the Eclipse community. As an independent not-for-profit corporation, the Foundation and the Eclipse governance model ensures no single entity is able to control the strategy, policies or operations of the Eclipse community.
The Foundation is focused on creating an environment for successful open source projects and to promote the adoption of Eclipse technology in commercial and open source solutions. Through services like IP Due Diligence, annual release trains, development community support, and ecosystem development, the Eclipse model of open source development is a unique and proven model for open source development.