Predicting the Open Source Eclipses
-- 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:
- They have very high quality emphasis thanks to the peer review and
collaborative development methodologies
- They have very low overheads due to the voluntary efforts of the
people, supporters, etc. No commercial entity can beat this one.
- Very high morale amongst developers because they are not just coders
but also owners (in a generic sense) of their work.
- 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
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.
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.
Content types have multiplied and include many media types and a
host of applications, come from a number of sources and are driven
to multiple destinations.