Can Eclipse Survive Without IBM?

I bet you this title got your attention…

Let me tell you a story. It’s one a lot of us Eclipse “insiders” know from our trip to Ludwigsburg, Germany. If you look at the program for Eclipse Summit Europe, you’ll notice a distinct lack of Eclipse Platform committers, i.e. IBMers, presenting. And one of them was lucky enough to get his travel approval the Friday afternoon before the conference. The Summit was a resounding success despite that. The Eclipse community in Europe has gone well past caring about the traditional Platform and are looking at really cool technologies like OSGi with Equinox and Modeling (despite Dave Thomas’ decree that modeling sucks, which it does, at least UML-like modeling).

Now, I’m not sure if this year is any different from previous ESE’s. But with the discussions we’re having on the EclipseCon program committee about how many IBMers will be able to attend to give their presentations, it’s got me thinking. What happens if this apparent trend continues and we loose the commitment IBM has made to Eclipse. Can Eclipse survive without IBM?

Well, I can say Wind River is doing their part to help out. We have myself and Martin O working on the Platform Resources evolution for e4. And we have Pawel who’s now a Platform Debug committer. And as always, we’re doing major contributions to the CDT and DSDP projects. And the numbers show the Eclipse committer community continues to grow and a lot of projects are healthy.

So can we survive without IBM? Absolutely. In fact, I’d consider the Eclipse Platform feature complete, at least for the needs of IDE and RCP/OSGi vendors. Yeah, things could be cleaned up, and yeah, we could make Eclipse work with Web 2.0 (although I really question whether SWT is the right technology for that). But from what I saw in Germany, Eclipse is alive and well. There are some really cool things that are going on and while the platforms are stabilizing and are probably becoming less interesting (and I’ll sadly include the CDT in that list), I get the sense that those relying on the platforms will keep them alive. They have too.