Saturday, February 2, 2019 marks the 15th birthday of the Eclipse Foundation. That was the day that it was publicly and officially announced, and the opening day of the first ever EclipseCon conference.
The creation of the Eclipse Foundation was quite an event at the time. It was really the first time that a member-supported consortium was married to a truly open and meritocratic open source project community. In 2004, the existing open source foundations were organizations like Apache and Mozilla, which are organized as charities. The consortium approach is a model that has become completely normalized (think Linux Foundation, Cloud Foundry, CNCF, etc.), but in 2004 it was very novel. In my personal experience the balance that we have within the Eclipse community between open source development, and fostering the use and adoption of that technology has been incredibly powerful.
There were 50 organizations that were founding members of the Eclipse Foundation, but it should be recognized that IBM, SAP, HP, and Intel did the heavy lifting in drafting the Bylaws and establishing the legal framework for the EF. IBM and SAP remain strategic members of the Eclipse Foundation to this day, and their support is greatly appreciated. From 50 we have grown to over 275, and that growth reflects the continuing relevance of the Eclipse Foundation to the software and broader technology industry.
But it has been the growth of the project community at Eclipse that has been the most exciting. When the Eclipse Foundation was founded 15 years ago, there were about 12 projects hosted here. That number is now over 360. Our committer population has grown from about 150 in 2004 (mostly IBMers) to a very diverse group of almost 1600. But the growth in the breadth of technology hosted at the EF has been striking. Our roots are in desktop developer tools, and the Eclipse IDE remains our most broadly used project. But our community has grown in ways that we never imagined at the outset: modeling and model-based engineering environments, the Internet of Things, automotive technologies, geospatial, and cloud native Java runtimes are all now significant pieces of the overall Eclipse community. What all of these projects have in common are a shared community of practice around the Eclipse Development Process, and our robust intellectual property management.
Interestingly, we’re seeing project growth at the Eclipse Foundation continuing to accelerate. Last year was a record year of project growth. You may assume that was because of the migration of Java EE from Oracle to Jakarta EE at the Eclipse Foundation, but we had significant growth over and above that in other areas such as IoT.
The past 15 years has been an adventure. The Eclipse Foundation has survived and thrived in a world that has changed dramatically over that period of time. But more importantly, the community that we serve has grown and thrived. There are far too many people that deserve a “thank you” than I could possibly list here. But you know who you are. So thanks to all, and looking forward to many more years of success for the Eclipse community.