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Eclipse Foundation Working Group Process

Version 2.2

This document describes the process for creating and managing Eclipse Foundation Working Groups ("Working Groups”). In particular, it describes how the Eclipse Foundation membership ("Members") lead, influence, and collaborate within Working Groups.

Working Groups are established to facilitate the collaboration between participating Eclipse Members, and to drive shared innovation through the related Eclipse projects. The collaboration should be intended to focus, promote and augment Eclipse technologies to meet the needs of specific industries. The collaboration can take the form of the development of Materials for use by a specific community and/or joint marketing programs to promote Eclipse projects in a certain industry. Participation in a Working Group is open only to Eclipse Members.

All participants in Working Groups must respect the agreements, policies and procedures of the Eclipse Foundation. In particular, and without limiting the foregoing, at all times, participants in all Eclipse Working Groups must conform to the Eclipse Foundation’s Intellectual Property and Antitrust Policies.

The following documents define the governance of the Eclipse Foundation in general, and Working Groups, open source projects, and open source specifications in particular.

This Working Group Process inherits its governance principles from the Eclipse Foundation Bylaws. Should any conflict exist between this Working Group Process and the Bylaws, the Bylaws shall prevail. Further, in any cases where this Working Group Process or a particular Working Group’s charter is silent on a particular topic, the Bylaws shall serve as guidance. In such cases, the Eclipse Foundation Sponsor (as defined below) shall clarify, and provide guidance on how best to comply.

Guiding Principles

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

Open - Working Groups provide the same opportunity to all Members to participate in accordance with the Charter. Everyone participates with the same rules; there are no rules to exclude any potential contributors which include, of course, direct competitors in the marketplace.

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

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

Relationship to Projects

The purpose of Working Groups is to complement the activities of Eclipse Foundation open source Projects by undertaking activities that Projects have historically found difficult to organize and/or manage. Working Groups can provide influence, guidance, and support, but do not direct the activities of Eclipse open source Projects. That is, Working Groups do not direct or manage open source Projects.

Rather, Working Groups may express non-exclusive interest in specific Eclipse open source Projects. This set of Projects of interest (or more simply, the Working Group’s Projects) is defined, either directly or indirectly in the Working Group’s charter or by resolution of its Steering Committee. Specification Projects that operate under the purview of the Working Group’s Specification Committee are automatically included in the Working Group’s project set.

With the exception of Specification Projects, which operate under the purview of a Working Group’s Specification Committee, a Working Group has no direct power to affect the operation of open source Projects in which they express interest. Having said this, a Working Group exerts influence over Projects by having Working Group participants (i.e., the employees, consultants, etc. of Member organizations as well as independent Committer Members) engage in the open source process, particularly by making contributions.

Working Groups typically provide input and guidance on project roadmaps and release schedules on behalf of their Projects. Working Groups typically also take on responsibility for promotion, marketing, developer advocacy, and branding strategies for their Projects.

The union of the Committers from a Working Group’s Projects comprise the Working Group Committers.


Specifications are created and maintained by Specification Projects. Each Specification Project is aligned with exactly one Working Group. Specification Projects are said to work under the purview of a particular Working Group, or—​more specifically—​the Specification Committee of a Working Group.

The Eclipse Foundation Specification Process (EFSP) is the specification process for all working groups that engage in specification development. A working group may tailor the EFSP for their unique requirements provided they follow the process for doing so as defined in the EFSP. As stated in the EFSP, the Implementation Patent License shall be the default Patent License for working groups that engage in specification development. However, the EFSP allows for a working group to override the default Implementation Patent License and instead use the Compatible Patent License, as those terms are defined in the Eclipse Foundation Intellectual Property Policy, by a super majority vote of the working group's Steering Committee.


Member Roles

A Lead Organization is the Eclipse Member that takes a leadership role in proposing and proving the viability of a Working Group. A Lead Organization must be an Eclipse Strategic or Contributing Member. There may be more than one Lead Organization engaged in the creation of a new Working Group.

A Member Participant (“Participant”) is a Member that agrees to actively participate in the Working Group and meets the requirements for participation as defined by the Working Group Charter.

Additional roles may be defined by the Working Group via its Charter.

Eclipse Foundation Roles

The Working Group Sponsor (“Sponsor”) is a representative from the Eclipse Foundation’s senior leadership team who ensures that this and related processes are understood and followed by all parties, and facilitates the early phases of the Working Group (e.g. host calls, carry out outreach to potential interested Members, etc.). The Sponsor acts as the primary liaison between the Working Group and the Eclipse Foundation.

The Program Manager (or, alternatively, a Community Manager) is an Eclipse Foundation staff member who collaborates with the Participant Working Group members to articulate the Working Group’s vision, technical strategy and objectives, and to assist in the execution of the Working Group’s program plan. The Program Manager is also responsible to evangelize the Working Group’s vision and projects to the relevant industry segments, and to assist in Member recruiting.


Eclipse Working Groups are a lighter-weight consortium of a subset of the Members that inherit and rely upon the Eclipse Foundation’s overall governance, sufficient to enable the consortium to collaborate effectively. Working Groups do not form a formal part of the Eclipse governance structure as defined in the Bylaws.

Authority and responsibility for establishing and managing Working Group budgets lies with the Eclipse Foundation Executive Director (“Executive Director”) as defined in the Bylaws. Each Working Group’s budget rolls up into the Foundation’s overall budget, which is approved on an annual basis by the Eclipse Foundation’s Board of Directors (“Board of Directors”).


The Working Group Charter (“Charter”) describes the vision, scope, and governance structure of the Working Group; the materials and programs to be developed by the Working Group; and the objectives, strategies, policies and plans of the Working Group.

The Charter must define the member participation guidelines for Participants of the Working Group. The guidelines must be objective, fair, reasonable, and vendor-neutral, and must not be designed to impose unreasonable terms on any particular Member or group of Members.

The Member participation guidelines must also define the composition, mandate, and guidelines for participation of the Working Group’s committees. In particular, the member participation guidelines must outline the terms by which a Member is eligible to participate as a Steering Committee representative (e.g., the Eclipse membership level requirements, resource commitments, etc.). The Charter may also specify the means by which other representatives are appointed or elected to the Working Group’s committees to represent the interests of aspects of the Working Group or related communities.

The Charter may include a statement of resource commitments for all Participants in that Working Group and the Eclipse Foundation that will cover external resources (development, marketing programs, etc.).

The Executive Director must approve the initial Charter. Thereafter, a Working Group’s charter may be modified by: 1) a super-majority (two-thirds) affirmative vote of the Steering Committee and 2) approval by the Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation.


Each Committee of a Working Group is an independent governing body which plays a specific role in fulfilling the overall vision of the Working Group and must work collaboratively with each other; however, there exists no implicit hierarchical relationship between the committees.

Working Group Committees are required to comply with the Eclipse Foundation Antitrust Policy. Examples of compliant behavior include: providing advance notice of all meetings to the members, publishing meeting agendas beforehand, publishing accurate minutes afterwards, and ensuring that meetings are open to all eligible members.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is responsible for defining and implementing the Working Group’s Charter and generally providing leadership and oversight of the activities of the Working Group. The Steering Committee is composed of designated representatives from the Working Group’s Strategic Members, along with elected and appointed members as specified by the Charter. The Steering Committee shall elect one of its members to the role of Steering Committee Chair. The terms by which the Steering Committee is formed and maintained must be defined by the Charter.

In addition to its role of providing leadership and oversight, the Steering Committee is also responsible for approving an annual budget produced by the Eclipse Foundation on behalf of the Working Group. The Steering Committee must do so in adherence to the Eclipse Foundation’s budget process, and all budgets must be approved by the Executive Director. For clarity, Steering Committee participants do not bear any fiduciary responsibilities to the Eclipse Foundation or the Working Group members.

Each Working Group may include in its Charter the right, but not an obligation, for appointed participants to the Steering Committee to designate an alternate Steering Committee participant (an “Alternate”). Alternates may be added to the Steering Committee’s mailing list, and may participate in Steering Committee meetings should their Steering Committee participant be unavailable to attend, and to assign the Alternate as a proxy for voting purposes.

Specification Committee

A Working Group that engages in specification work must, via its Charter, define a Specification Committee.

The Specification Committee is responsible for implementing the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process (EFSP) for all Specification Projects (as that term is defined by the EFSP). The terms by which the Specification Committee is formed must be defined by the Working Group Charter.

When a Specification Committee is not formed, the responsibilities of the Specification Committee are delegated to the Steering Committee.

Marketing Committee

A Working Group that engages in extensive collaborative marketing efforts should, via its Charter, designate a Marketing Committee. If designated, the Marketing Committee is responsible for working with the Eclipse Foundation to plan and assist in executing the Working Group’s marketing activities within the allocated Working Group budget. The terms by which the Marketing Committee is formed must be defined by the Working Group Charter.

If a Working Group has no Marketing Committee, then marketing responsibilities are then delegated to the Steering Committee.

Other Bodies

A Working Group may, via its Charter or by Steering Committee resolution, define other committees, ad hoc or sub-committees, or special interest groups. In each case, the rules for participation in each of those additional bodies must be clearly defined.


A Working Group Initiation Agreement is a bilateral agreement between the Eclipse Foundation and the Lead Organization(s). This agreement details the goals, scope, measures of success, responsibilities, and milestones to create a Working Group. At a minimum, it specifically describes work related to trademarks, logos, web properties, target member participation (i.e., pipeline), recruitment, success criteria, etc. It is expected that the Lead Organization will fund all of the work required by the Eclipse Foundation in relation to initiating the Working Group until the Working Group is fully funded through Working Group Participation Fees. The activities, deliverables, and budget for the Initiation Agreement will be negotiated by the Lead Organization(s) and the Eclipse Foundation.

A Working Group Participation Agreement (“Participation Agreement”) is a bilateral agreement between the Eclipse Foundation and each Participant in the Working Group that defines the responsibilities of each party in the Working Group. The Participation Agreement defines, among other terms, a commitment by each Participant to adhere to the Working Group Charter as well as a commitment by each Participant to pay the Participation Fees defined by the Working Group.


Working Group Materials ("Materials") are assets that are created by a Working Group. An asset could be a technology roadmap, test suite, tutorial, collateral, documentation, specification, package of Eclipse technology, testbeds, etc. Unless otherwise approved by the Eclipse Foundation, any third party content used by a Working Group in the creation of Materials must be contributed to the Eclipse Foundation under the terms of use.

Recruiting Materials

The Recruiting Materials are used by Lead Organization(s), Eclipse Foundation, and committed Participants of the Working Group to recruit other organizations to the Working Group, and to encourage them to become Participants. The Recruiting Materials must capture the vision and scope, objectives, strategies, priorities, and high-level plans of the Working Group, and also clearly state how organizations can participate.

Note that Member recruitment must remain an active goal and responsibility of a Working Group throughout its lifecycle.

Program Plan

The Steering Committee is responsible for establishing an annual Program Plan.

The Program Plan defines the strategy for implementing the Working Group’s vision. The Program Plan iterates the annual key programs and initiatives under consideration by the Working Group in order to advance the vision. The Program Plan is based on inputs from the Working Group members, their Committees, and the Eclipse Foundation. This input should be sought in advance of defining the Program Plan.

At a minimum, the Program Plan must include the strategic goals, set of initiatives, associated roadmap, and timeline.

The Program Plan must be approved by the Executive Director.

The Steering Committee shall share the Program Plan with Working Group Participants. The Steering Committee drives and monitors the progress of the implementation of the Program Plan.

Marketing Plan

The Marketing Plan is a recommended, but optional, document that identifies the marketing goals, strategies, tactics, roles and responsibilities, and timelines in direct support and alignment with the Program Plan. Since ecosystem building, community outreach, and increasing market visibility are typically core activities for Working Groups, all Working Groups are encouraged to have a Marketing Plan; any Working Group that has a Marketing Committee must produce an updated Marketing Plan at least annually.

The Marketing Plan is developed in conjunction with (and dependent upon) the Program Plan and budget.

Services and Shared Resources

Working Groups are expected to share resources, communications channels, etc. 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 Working Group and the related Eclipse Projects under its purview. All policies established regarding these shared resources must adhere to the principles of freedom of access for all Participants, and a freedom of action for those Participants.

Primary communication channels (e.g mailing lists) must be maintained by the Eclipse Webmaster. Every Working Group must have a publicly available communication channel with a publicly accessible archive. Committees may have dedicated communication channels.

The choice of collaborative tools to be used shall be made by the Steering Committee, and must be agreed to by Eclipse Foundation.

The Working Group must have a documented strategy for administering externally hosted resources in a vendor neutral and resilient manner. The Eclipse Webmaster only provides support for those services provided by the Eclipse Foundation, but must (when possible) be included as an inactive administrator on externally hosted services to ensure continuity.

Care must be taken by designated administrators to ensure that only bonafide representatives of the Participants are granted privileged access to Working Group services and shared resources.

All services and shared resources administered by the Working Group must adhere to the Foundation’s Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, Code of Conduct, and other related policies.


Each Working Group establishes annual participation fees to be collected by the Eclipse Foundation that are managed by the Eclipse Foundation to support the operation of the Working Group. The fees collected by a Working Group must cover the full direct and indirect costs associated with the operation and execution of the Working Group by the Eclipse Foundation.

The fees may be applied across a variety of initiatives and activities, complementary to the initiatives and activities performed by the Eclipse Foundation generally.

Working Group annual participation fees must be captured in the Charter.

The formal governance obligations associated with Working Groups lie with the Eclipse Board of Directors, the Eclipse Foundation’s Executive Director, and Eclipse Foundation staff as defined within the Bylaws. Authority and responsibility for establishing and managing Working Group budgets lies with the Executive Director as defined in the Bylaws. Each Working Group’s budget rolls up into the Eclipse Foundation’s overall budget, which is approved on an annual basis by the Board of Directors.

The Working Group budget must reflect the program plan; it is developed in conjunction with and approved by the steering committee. The budget identifies key resources and key program spend items, based on the priorities identified in the Program Plan. The Eclipse Foundation acts on the priorities identified in the Program Plan, and incurs expenditures (direct staff, shared resources, external costs, etc.) in fulfilling those priorities. In addition, each Working Group is required to cover the full costs incurred by the Eclipse Foundation on the Working Group’s behalf, foreseen (e.g., marketing expenses) or otherwise (e.g., legal fees that arise throughout the year).

The Eclipse Foundation bears all fiduciary and operational responsibilities for the Working Group budget.

Participation Structure for Working Groups

A Working Group may define multiple levels of participation. These levels can be differentiated by different Working Group Fees, responsibilities, voting privileges, commitment of resources, representation on committees, etc. These levels of participation must be described in the Charter.

Any Eclipse Foundation Member that satisfies the member participation guidelines defined in the Charter must be permitted to be a Participant in the Working Group and may visit the Explore Working Groups page to complete the application process, or may contact for more information. The Steering Committee is responsible for maintaining and publishing the list of all Participants on an ongoing basis. Each Working Group may define its own membership levels, but generally they fall into one of the four following categories:

Strategic Members

Strategic Members are organizations that view the Working Group’s specifications or technologies as strategic to their organization and are investing significant resources to sustain and shape the activities of the Working Group. Strategic Members of the Working Group must be at least a Contributing Member of the Eclipse Foundation.

Membership is, by default, renewed annually. A Working Group may stipulate that Strategic Members of the Working Group are required to commit to strategic membership for a period longer than one year (for example, a three (3) year period).

Participant Members

Participant Members are typically organizations that deliver products or services based upon related specifications or technologies, or view the Working Group’s specifications or technologies as strategic to their organization. These organizations want to participate in the development and direction of an open ecosystem related to the Working Group. Participant Members of the Working Group must be at least a Contributing Member of the Eclipse Foundation.

Committer Members

Committers are individuals who through a process of meritocracy defined by the Eclipse Foundation Development Process are able to contribute and commit content to the Eclipse Foundation Projects included in the project set of the Working Group. Committers may become members of the Working Group by virtue of working for a member organization, or may choose to become a Committer Member of the Eclipse Foundation, along with completing the Working Group’s Participation Agreement.

Guest Members

Only Associate Members of the Eclipse Foundation are eligible to join as Guest Participants Members of Working Groups. Typical guests include R&D partners, universities, academic research centers, etc. Guest members have no voting rights, must sign the Working Group participation agreement and may remain a guest member as long as they are an Associate member of the Eclipse Foundation and the Working Group is operational. Guest members pay no additional Working Group fees to be a member of a Working Group.

Working Group Lifecycle

Following is a description of the lifecycle of a Working Group.


Any Eclipse Strategic or ContributingMember(s) may initiate the creation of a Working Group. To begin the process, the Member may submit a request to do so to, or otherwise engage directly with a member of the Eclipse Foundation business development team.

Opportunity Phase

All Working Groups start in the Opportunity Phase. This phase is used to validate the viability of the Working Group and identify the Lead Organization. Although the Eclipse Foundation does not enter into non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements, a Working Group is not publicly exposed while in the opportunity phase. While in the Opportunity Phase, the Eclipse Foundation works with the Lead Organization to define the vision and scope of the work to be engaged in by the Working Group; execute the Working Group Initiation Agreement (“Initiation Agreement” or, effectively, a memorandum of understanding); and identify potential Participants.

A key deliverable of the Opportunity Phase is a draft Working Group Charter. The draft Charter serves as a framework for participants to interact; it defines the vision and scope. The draft Charter must also specify a technical roadmap (e.g. will the Working Group engage in specification development), list target open source projects, and nature of the Working Group (vendor or user led).

Success criteria:

  • Working Group Sponsor identified;

  • Lead Organization identified;

  • Initiation Agreement executed;

  • Draft Working Group Charter complete;

  • Participant Pipeline established; and

  • Executive Director approval.

Upon completion of these goals, the Working Group moves into the Proposal Phase.

Proposal Phase

The Proposal Phase starts when the draft Working Group Charter is posted to the website by the Eclipse Foundation for public review and announced to the Eclipse Membership At-Large.

The draft Working Group Charter is used as the primary means of describing the Working Group to potential Participant Members and the community at large. While in the Proposal Phase, the Eclipse Foundation works with the Lead Organization to recruit a collection of initiating Members and drive the creation of the Working Group.

Primary activities during this phase are to create and promote the Recruiting Materials, identify and describe services and required infrastructure, complete the Working Group Charter, and actively recruit initiating Members. The Proposal Phase will last no less than fourteen (14) days.

At the end of the Proposal Phase, subject to the initiating Participants’ compliance with the terms of this Policy, the Executive Director’s approval of the initial Charter, and feedback from the community, the Executive Director will determine whether or not to create the Working Group.

Success criteria:

  • Recruiting Materials and plan created;

  • Services and required infrastructure identified;

  • Initial Working Group Charter published;

  • Minimum of three Participants committed; and

  • Executive Director approval.

Upon completion of these criteria, the Working Group enters the Incubation Phase.

Incubation Phase

Once the Working Group is created, a notification will be sent to the Members with the initial list of Participants and an invitation to other Members to participate. At this time, the communication infrastructure for the Working Group will be established.

The Incubation Phase provides an opportunity to further evolve the Working Group Charter, recruit additional Participants, and start building and executing on the Marketing Plan.

If the Working Group engages in specification work, the Steering Committee may opt to engage the Specification Committee to parameterize or otherwise specialize the process to suit the specific needs of the Working Group.

Success criteria:

  • Communication infrastructure established;

  • Charter published;

  • Working Group committees (as defined by the Charter) operational;

  • Program Plan defined;

  • Budget approved;

  • Minimum of five Participants committed; and

  • Executive Director approval.

Upon completion of these criteria, the Working Group enters the Operational Phase.

Operational Phase

The majority of Working Group work is intended to be accomplished during its Operational Phase. The development of the Materials and programs for each Working Group is undertaken by its Participants during this phase. The Working Group Steering Committee shall provide regular systematic status reporting to the Eclipse Foundation. The Working Group Steering Committee will provide overall coordination; monitor conformity with the Charter; establish and monitor progress against milestones and schedules; provide attention to issues involving dependencies between Participants; and ensure that all plans, documents, reports, and interactions are made available to the Participants of the Working Group and (when applicable) community.


For more information on operating a Working Group, please see the Eclipse Foundation Working Group Operations Guide.

Working Group Termination

It is expected that some Working Groups will exist for a specific period of time to accomplish a specific objective and some Working Groups will continue for an extended period of time. Regardless, at some point in time the operation of Working Groups may need to be terminated. Two events may trigger the termination of an Working Group: 1) following a super-majority (two-thirds) affirmative vote of the Steering Committee, the Steering Committee requests that the Executive Director terminate the Working Group; or 2) the Working Group is deemed inactive or non-compliant with the Working Group’s Charter by the Executive Director at their sole discretion.

The Eclipse Foundation will terminate a Working Group by putting a public notice on the Working Group communication channel. All Materials created by the terminated Working Group will be archived by the Eclipse Foundation.

Modifying This Process

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


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

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