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Eclipse Foundation Interest Group Process

Version 1.0

Table of Contents

This document describes the process for creating and managing Eclipse Foundation Interest Groups ("Interest Groups”). In particular it describes how the Eclipse Foundation member organizations ("Members"), which includes Strategic, Contributing, and Associate members, can lead, influence, and collaborate within Interest Groups.

Interest Groups are established to facilitate the collaboration between participating Eclipse Members and to drive shared innovation, and all participating Members may contribute to the initiative.


Eclipse Interest Groups are a light-weight association of a subset of the Members that share a common interest in a topic or domain (“Participating Members”). Eclipse Interest Groups inherit and rely upon the Eclipse Foundation’s overall governance, sufficient to enable the Participating Members to collaborate effectively. All participants in Interest Groups must comply with the agreements, policies and procedures of the Eclipse Foundation. In particular, and without limiting the foregoing, at all times, participants in all Eclipse Interest Groups must conform to the Eclipse Foundation’s Intellectual Property and Antitrust Policies.

Each Participating Member will designate an employee, consultant, director, officer, or agent (a “Participant Representative”) to represent them in the Interest Group. Each Member is further welcome to designate other employees, consultants, directors, officers, or agents that may participate in the initiatives and activities of the Interest Group (“Participants”).

Interest Groups may hold meetings, provided that those meetings are open to all Participating Members, that an agenda for each meeting is published in advance, and that minutes of the meeting are published on the Interest Group’s mailing list in a timely fashion.

Interest Groups shall not form any committees, sub-committees, or sub-groups.

The governance structure for Interest Groups is intentionally informal, with most actions taken by the Interest Group being done so collegially by Participants and based on lazy consensus. However, at any time an Interest Group wishes to formalize a decision, such a decision is to be taken by a vote of the Participant Representatives1, excluding Participant Representatives of Associate Members2 , of the Interest Group (the “Eligible Voters”). A vote of the Interest Group may be taken at any meeting provided that: a) notice of the vote is included on the agenda in advance, and b) at least half of the Eligible Voters are represented. Electronic votes may also be held on the Interest Group’s mailing list, provided that any vote remains open for a minimum period of 14 days and that a minimum of half of the Eligible Voters vote. All votes require a simple majority to pass; that is, the number of votes cast in favor must be greater than the number of votes cast against. Note that abstentions, while permitted, are not counted in the determination of the outcome of the vote.

For purposes of interpretation within the context of the Bylaws, Interest Groups are deemed to be Working Groups as that term is defined in the Bylaws. Also, for purposes of clarity, Interest Groups are distinct from and operate differently than Working Group “Special Interest Groups”, as that term is used in the context of Working Groups.

Related Governance Documents

The following documents define the governance of the Eclipse Foundation in general, and Interest Groups.

This Interest Group Process inherits its governance principles from the Eclipse Foundation Bylaws. Should any conflict exist between this Interest Group Process and the Bylaws, the Bylaws shall prevail. Further, in any cases where this Interest Group Process is silent on a particular topic, the Bylaws shall serve as guidance. In such cases, the Eclipse Foundation Management Organization (EMO) shall clarify, and provide any necessary guidance on how best to comply.

1 For voting purposes, a Participating Member may designate either an alternate Participant from their organization to represent their Participant Representative at any time, or to assign their vote via proxy to another Participant Representative.

2 Associate Members of Eclipse Foundation are non-voting members, as defined in the Bylaws.

Guiding Principles

All Interest Groups must operate in an open and transparent manner.

Open - Everyone participates with the same rules; there are no rules to exclude any potential collaborators which include, of course, direct competitors in the marketplace.

Transparent - Minutes, plans, and other artifacts are open and easily accessible to all.

Interest Groups, like all communities associated with the Eclipse Foundation, must operate in adherence to the Foundation’s Code of Conduct.

Relationship to Projects

Interest Groups may declare interest in Eclipse Foundation open source projects and specifications.

How to Participate

Participation in an Interest Group is open to Strategic, Contributing, and Associate Members. Participation requires the Member to execute the Eclipse Foundation Membership Agreement and Eclipse Foundation Member Committer and Contributor Agreement and to follow any other steps on how to participate that are defined from time to time by the EMO.

There are no fees associated with participating in Interest Groups.

Naming and Trademarks

Interest Groups must choose a name. The Eclipse Foundation retains ownership of the Interest Group’s name and related trademarks on behalf of the community.


Interest Groups must have a defined Scope and all initiatives and activities are required to reside within that Scope. The initiatives and resulting materials developed by Participants should be in line with the Scope; initiatives and materials that are found to be outside the Scope of the Interest Group are to be avoided, and in extreme violations, may result in the termination of the Interest Group.


Interest Groups must produce agendas and minutes for all meetings. Interest Groups may, at their discretion, produce artifacts such as documents, whitepapers, architectures, blueprints, diagrams, presentations, and the like; however, Interest Groups must not develop software, software documentation, or specifications.


Each Interest Group must have one or more designated Interest Group Leads (IGL). The IGL must ensure that the Interest Group:

  • operates effectively by guiding the overall direction and by removing obstacles, solving problems, and resolving conflicts;
  • operates using open source rules of engagement of transparency and open participation; and
  • conforms to the Eclipse Foundation Intellectual Property and Antitrust Policies and associated processes.

Services and Shared Resources

Interest Groups share resources, communications channels, and so on. These services and shared resources must provide for a level playing field to ensure all Participants have access to resources, and that the resources are maintained to the benefit of the Interest Group. Use of these shared resources must adhere to the principles of freedom of access for all Participants, and a freedom of action for those Participants.

Each Interest Group is provided an Eclipse approved collaborative platform such as GitLab and an Eclipse Foundation-hosted public archived mailing list open to the participating Members of the Interest Group. All services and shared resources of Interest Groups must adhere to the Foundation’s Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, Code of Conduct, and other related policies.

Interest Group Lifecycle

Following is a description of the lifecycle of an Interest Group:

Interest Group Lifecycle

Pre-Proposal Phase

Any Eclipse Foundation Strategic, Contributing, or Associate Member may initiate the creation of an Interest Group. To begin the process, the Member may submit a request using a process that will be defined by the EMO and updated from time to time.

One or more Member organization(s) declares their interest in, and rationale for establishing an Interest Group. The EMO will assist such groups in the preparation of an Interest Group Proposal.

The Pre-Proposal phase ends when the proposal is ready to be announced to the membership by the EMO.

Proposal Phase

The proposing Member(s), in conjunction with the community, collaborate in public to enhance, refine, and clarify the proposal. This phase is intended to garner support and participation in the Interest Group in order to validate the viability of the proposed Interest Group, including to demonstrate there is sufficient interest by Members.

The Proposal Phase ends with a Creation Review, or withdrawal. The proposal may be withdrawn by the proposing Member(s) at any point before the start of a Creation Review. The EMO will withdraw a proposal that has been inactive for more than six months.

Successful completion of the Proposal Phase requires Executive Director approval.

Success criteria:

  • At least three members participating
  • A successful creation review
  • Executive Director approval

Upon completion of this phase, the Interest Group moves into the Operational Phase.

Operational Phase

During the Operational Phase, the Members involved in the Interest Group will work collaboratively on the various initiatives and materials that they collectively identify. This collaborative work must conform to this Interest Group Process, but otherwise Members are generally left to decide the specifics.

Interest Groups must produce an annual activity report and pass an annual program review.

Success criteria for the annual program review is as follows:

  • Operating in an open and transparent manner
  • Activity on the Interest Group mailing list
  • At least three participating members
  • Produce an annual activity report
  • Pass an annual Program Review
  • Executive Director approval to continue in the Operational Phase or move to Termination

Archived Phase

At some point in time the operations of an Interest Group may need to be terminated. Two events may trigger the termination of an Interest Group: 1) following a super-majority (two-thirds) affirmative vote of the Members, the Interest Group requests that the Executive Director terminate the Interest Group; or 2) the Interest Group is deemed inactive, non-compliant, or otherwise not viable by the Executive Director at their sole discretion.

The Eclipse Foundation will terminate an Interest Group by putting a public notice on the Interest Group’s communication channel. All materials created by the terminated Interest Group will be archived by the Eclipse Foundation.

Modifying This Process

The Eclipse founcation is responsible for maintaining this document and all changes must be approved by the Board of Directors.


Exceptions to this Eclipse Foundation Interest Group Process may be granted at the sole discretion of the Executive Director.

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