No Enemies There

Sunday, May 7, 2006 - 20:28 by Mike Milinkovich

I, like many others, have enjoyed reading Ed Burnette‘s recent series on Sun joining Eclipse.

Personally, I think it would be great to have Sun join Eclipse. It is obviously one of the questions I’ve been asked a lot since starting at Eclipse, and my answer has been the same since the beginning: Sun would be welcomed with open arms. Eclipse is an open community, and everyone can join. And Ed is definitely correct in pointing out all the wonderful stuff that NetBeans could offer if the communities were working together.

There was one paragraph in Ed’s latest post that I did think was off the mark, however.

History is replete with examples of “mortal enemies” becoming fast friends. And in a world with Microsoft, Ruby, PHP, Linux, Web2.0, and other forces knocking on the door, these two need all the friends they can get.

First, Eclipse is absolutely not in competition with Ruby, PHP, Linux, et al. They are just additional languages and platforms for Eclipse to work with. RadRails is a great example of a cool tool built with Eclipse that embraces Ruby, rather than tries to compete with it. The Eclipse Linux initiative is another great opportunity for co-operation, rather than competition. And, of course, there are great things happening with PHP and Eclipse. In fact, I would go so far to say that Eclipse’s willingness to embrace all of these different platforms is one of the key strengths of our community. Sun has a vested interest in promoting Java against Ruby, PHP, etc., but Eclipse clearly does not.

Secondly, even in quotes, I don’t like to chararcterize competitors as “mortal enemies”. Sun and NetBeans are following a path which they believe is a sound business strategy. I personally think that co-operation would be better than competition, but hey, it takes two to tango. But I’ve met quite a few of the NetBeans folks, and they seem like perfectly nice guys doing their job. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone.

P.S. We’re not changing the name.