Eclipse: 10 Years of Excellence

This month Eclipse turns 10 years old. Ten years ago, IBM donated the initial Eclipse Java IDE, which was then estimated $40M, to Eclipse Foundation. It has since grown to 273 open source projects and $800M portfolio today. Quite an achievement by any standard!

This news release summarizes some of the key accomplishments:

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  • Eclipse has an estimated 65% market share in the Java IDE space and over 6 million users. Since its inception, Eclipse has driven the consolidation of what was once a highly fragmented Java tools market. It has been instrumental in the worldwide success and adoption of Java itself.
  • The Eclipse C/C++ IDE (CDT) has become the de facto standard developer IDE in the embedded and real-time operating system market. At least 50 companies are building their developer tool solutions based on CDT.
  • The Eclipse Modeling community has grown to become the largest and most innovative community at Eclipse. The vast majority of UML modeling vendors worldwide base their solutions on Eclipse.
  • The Eclipse Mylyn project is now the industry hub for integrating tools across the application lifecycle. There are over 70 Mylyn connectors that integrate different ALM solutions into the Eclipse developer’s desktop.
  • The annual Eclipse Release Train has demonstrated how open source communities can deliver in a predictable and reliable manner. For the last eight years, Eclipse has shipped a major release at the end of June, on time to the day. The 2011 release train, Indigo, included 62 project teams, 408 developers, 49 organizations, and 46 million lines of code.
  • The Eclipse ecosystem has millions of individuals, thousands of companies, and thousands of universities and research institutes that have grown up around the Eclipse industry platform.

I was lucky to have more than 10 years of experience with Eclipse. This may invite drill down questions if written as such on resume. :-) In 2000, I was working at Rational Software and got invited to IBM Silicon Valley Lab for a training to develop plug-ins because Rational XDE I worked on ran on Eclipse, one of the two “shells” along with Microsoft VisualStudio. BTW, after IBM bought Rational, the XDE was rebranded as Rational Software Architect (RSA).

After that, Eclipse has been my IDE of choice for Java and other programming languages as well. Before Eclipse came out, there weren’t many choices. At one time, I used an IDE called VisualCafe, and it crashed several times a day thus was basically unusable. You can understand the excitement among developers when Eclipse was released 10 years ago. Did I also mention it’s free?

Eclipse IDE rooted from IBM VisualAge, a product IBM initially OEMed from OTI which was late sold to IBM. Even if you are not familiar with OTI as a company, you may have read the book by one of its employees Erich Emma who wrote the famous Design Pattern: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software. I am not saying that it’s the design patterns that led to the great product, but that OTI had a very strong engineering team. The success of Eclipse is not only good timing, but also great minds behind.

BTW, there will be many parties around the world celebrating the 10th anniversary of Eclipse. Check out here for one close to you. I noticed there would be one in an Ebay office in San Jose on Dec 8th evening.

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