The Eclipse Foundation provides four key services to the Eclipse community: 1) IP Management, 2) Ecosystem Development and Marketing, 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.
Ecosystem Development and Marketing
The Eclipse Foundation’s vendor-neutral ecosystem development and marketing programs promote community and membership growth, drive awareness and discoverability of projects and working groups, and increase the commercial adoption of Eclipse technologies.
The Eclipse Foundation coordinates and implements a variety of activities, including content creation, press and analyst relations, community conferences and events, advertising, social media management, and other programs to promote the entire Eclipse community and increase engagement.
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.