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Which Eclipse Foundation Collaboration Model Is Best for You? Three Questions to Ask

Tuesday, November 7, 2023 - 12:00 by Sharon Corbett


The Eclipse Foundation gives members two options for collaborating with industry peers: interest groups and working groups. If you are unsure about which collaboration model is right for you and your organisation, here are three key questions you should consider to help determine your next steps.

Do you need a vendor-neutral space to collaborate?

If you’re an Eclipse Foundation member, we can assume the answer is yes. Both working groups and interest groups enable organisations to collaborate under a vendor-neutral governance model. 

With interest groups, members can come together to share a common interest in a topic or domain in a vendor-neutral manner based on the Eclipse Foundation’s overall governance structure, including its intellectual property and antitrust policies. Unlike working groups, there are no formal participation agreements, budgets, or committees. The governance structure is informal, with most actions being taken collegially by participants in the interest group.

Are you planning on developing specifications?

Interest groups are free to develop resources like documents, white papers, architectures, blueprints, diagrams and presentations. However, they must not develop software, software documentation, nor specifications.

That’s why any organisation looking to collaborate with industry peers by developing specifications would need to move to a formal working group model, meet the associated criteria and provide the necessary funding to do so. Specifications are created and maintained by specification projects, and specification projects need to be aligned with a working group. 

Are you interested in growing your community and have more developers contribute to your projects?

The Eclipse Foundation's ecosystem development and marketing programs promote community and membership growth, drive awareness and discoverability of projects and collaborations, and increase the commercial adoption of Eclipse technologies.

These services, including content development, news and media assistance, in-person and online event planning, and creative design support, are exclusively offered to working groups. Since working groups are most effective when a diverse group of organisations get involved and collaborate, our ecosystem development and marketing services are available to help grow awareness and participation in these collaborations and the projects they are involved in.   

WG / IG Chart

To summarise, Eclipse Foundation members can join interest groups to collaborate across organisational boundaries in a vendor-neutral structure to solve industry problems and to drive shared innovation. But if your organisation intends on developing and promoting a new compatibility and trademark brand with industry peers, developing open source specifications, or contributing resources to join business cases, then a formal working group would need to be created.

To learn more about our industry collaborations and our current showcase, please visit  eclipse.org/collaborations, and contact us if you are interested in joining and/or forming a new industry collaboration.