I’ve been thinking more about the Eclipse Foundation over the past day.  As many have written, getting 33 projects, consisting of 24 million lines of code, to deliver one day is truly impressive.

What’s more impressive is the collaboration across 44 competitors and vendors with their own plans and agendas that was necessary to deliver against the release schedule.

By in large, Eclipse projects are shepherded by employees from one or more vendors whose business are tightly linked to the project.  Each of these vendors across different Eclipse projects have different business targets and customer demands they’re trying to address.  As a theoretical example, the Mylyn project, driven by Tasktop, may have been ready to launch on June 1st with key features that their customer base was looking for, while the PHP Development Tools project, driven by Zend, may have needed a few more days to pull in a whiz-bang feature.  And yet, both projects released on June 24th. (I picked the Mylyn and PHP Development Tools projects because they came to mind first.)

In the commercial software world, or when a single vendor is driving the release schedule of an open source project that they control, cross project release planning is easy, or, at the very least, easier.  Anyone working at a large software company, with different divisions on different schedules will tell you about the fun of lining up releases into a complete and integrated platform.

The Eclipse Foundation deserves the accolades it’s receiving for getting 44 vendors to march in lockstep. Eclipse remains one of the top three examples of meritocratic open source driven by an open community (Apache & Linux being the other two).

And to think, all this started as an IBM Canada project.  Happy early Canada Day (July 1st) ;-)!

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