Eclipse is celebrating its 10th Birthday
Written by Alex Armstrong   
Wednesday, 02 November 2011

It is just a decade since IBM released the Eclipse project under an open source licence and the Eclipse Consortium, consisting of IBM, Borland,Rational, Suse, TogetherSoft, was announced.

Eclipse is encouraging its community to organize 10th birthday parties and demo camps to celebrate this milestone and cake is an important component; the Eclipse Foundation is offing an extra $100 in sponsorship money to organizers who include a birthday cake with their events.




There's a growing list of venues and dates, for events starting 7th November and spanning the rest of the month, but the biggest party is no doubt the one to be held at  EclipseCon Europe that opens today, 2nd November. This evening's  keynote for the conference, is being delivered by John Swainson who will talk about the events that led to IBM’s 2001 decision to sponsor the creation of Eclipse with a donation of the people, code, and intellectual property. The creation of Eclipse marked the first time that a major IT vendor had open-sourced a strategic piece of technology and Swainson, who was the general manager of the Application Integration and Middleware Group at IBM at the time, will tell the delegates about why IBM made such a risky decision.

The Eclipse Timeline marking the achievements of its 10-year history shows that it grew slowly at first. It was only in 2004, the year in which the Eclipse Foundation was formed, that the project really took off.




In an interview with Application Development Tools, Mike Milinkovitch, the Eclipse Foundation's executive director who took up this post in 2004 says:

"You've got to give IBM a lot of credit; The Eclipse Foundation is a truly independent organization with a vendor-neutral governance model. And that has made all the difference.

If you think about the adoption of Java over the past ten years, we might not have seen the same adoption rates in places like India, China, and Brazil without the availability of a really good and free IDE. Eclipse can take a lot of credit as a key enabler for the Java adoption we've seen over the past decade.".

The core team that originally developed Eclipse was acquired by IBM in 1996 when it bought Object Technology International, the company behind the VisualAge IDEs for the Smalltalk and Java.

So, as Milinkovich points out, it's not surprising that the first killer Eclipse app was its Java IDE. The Foundation now claims about 65 percent of the Java IDE market, with more than 6 million users. The Foundation also argues that the consolidation of that market has been instrumental in the worldwide success and adoption of Java itself.




The above infographic shows how it has now taken hold, with a current number of 237 projects, compared to just 3 in 2001, it has gone from 62 committers in the original team to a current total of 1057 and from 8 to 174 member companies. There has been  a remarkable total of in R &D investments of more than $800 million.  




More information:

Celebrating 10 years of Eclipse

More on I-Programmer:

Developing with PHP and Eclipse (Galileo)

Developing with PHP and Eclipse (Helios)

Enter the new Eclipse - Helios

EGit 1.0 arrives with Eclipse Indigo

Beginning PHP with Eclipse


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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 02 November 2011 )