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Predicting the Open Source Eclipses open source eclipse

-- Bobby Mathew

As the CTO of a web development company I am raising my views and concerns on tools (eclipse in particular) available in the open source world and generally about the Linux movement with some ideas for its future. If you are a developer, particularly from the open source world - then you might find ideas for new projects that can help the open source world. If you are working in a management responsibility similar to mine then you might find how Linux and the open source world tools could benefit your organization presently and in the future. I look forward to learning your views on these subjects.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

The open source world has come a long way in evolving from command line-based geeks operating systems to a powerful competitor for the commercial giants of the industry. With its philosophy of openness in quality and ownership it has won a huge following and has gathered momentum to the size of more than 20,000+ developers around the world participating in different aspects voluntarily. The greatest advantages of the open source model are:

  1. They have very high quality emphasis thanks to the peer review and collaborative development methodologies

  2. They have very low overheads due to the voluntary efforts of the people, supporters, etc. No commercial entity can beat this one.

  3. Very high morale amongst developers because they are not just coders but also owners (in a generic sense) of their work.

  4. Very High peer support - the high levels of interaction and open learning and passing of information (via mailing lists etc.) all promote new converts who are quickly trained to develop acceptable levels of code quality.

Most commercial companies have felt threatened by the efforts of the open source community because they cannot compete with their low overheads and high quality work. Some, on the other hand, have started to see this as an opportunity to establish their competitive edge. IBM announced in late 2000 that they would pour in US $ One Billion into the Linux community. (http://news.com/2100-1001-249750.html?legacy=cnet). Irving Wladawsky Berger, IBM's vice president of technology and strategy at that time said "…we are supporting Linux across all of our hardware platforms, our middleware and our services business". Later in 2001 they announced a US $ 40 Million investment (http://news.com.com/2100-1001-275388.html?legacy=cnet) into the Linux community through an organization called Eclipse (http://www.eclipse.org). The major contributions came in the form of software tools. The eclipse consortium consists of companies like Borland, RedHat, SuSe, Merant and Rational. Sun Microsystems, Oracle Corp. & HP have also followed with announcements supporting and promoting Linux.

The main motive behind most of the commercial companies was to become more competitive by tapping into the advantages of the open source world (mentioned above). IBM probably saw that in the long run that they could reduce costs of having to maintain the different kinds of operating systems and application software's ranging from the Intel platform to the S/390. They could stop having to support multiple operating systems as Linux could replace them all ranging from the laptops to the S/390. The costs of support could be further reduced because many open source developers would support customers directly as a result. The reliability and additions provided by the community would further enhance their competitiveness. No wonder then, that they have spearheaded the eclipse initiative.

Open Source Eclipses

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