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Eclipse - the milk cow for the board members

Posted by kirillcool on July 27, 2005 at 7:03 AM PDT

My previous entry on IBM's hold over Eclipse has provoked an interesting response from the Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation. The description of the Eclipse Foundation verbatim is an independent, not-for-profit foundation supporting the Eclipse open source community. Mike provides a few examples of Eclipse projects that have 0 IBM contributors, one of them being BIRT, and another being ECF.

The second example is completely irrelevant, having only 5 bugs, but the first one is much more intriguing. Out of 529 bugs, about 95% are allocated to Actuate employees. A quick search on the Internet finds the reason why - for only 95$ a year you can purchase features not available in the free version. Of course, both versions are developed exclusively by Actuate, it's just that the free version that apparently lacks a lot of features is presented as a part of the Eclipse IDE. It appears that Borland will be making a similar move with JBuilder Foundations, providing the additional features as Eclipse plugins for paying customers.

Obviously, IBM is not going to lose the money paid to its employees that maintain the bulk of Eclipse. It's much the same way for Sun. As aptly put elsewhere, both companies are planning to increase their revenue by "locking" customers that are looking for free solutions.

More and more companies are joining the show: BEA has announced that it will be leading the Web Tools Project (although it has only 42 bugs out of 3348 total, they are much more frequent recently), Oracle, SAP and HP are already on board. Some may argue that these companies are aiming to reduce the cost of in-house development, but they most certainly are continuing to build commercially available-only tools on top of Eclipse platform.

Going back to the independent, not-for-profit foundation supporting the Eclipse open source community motto now. It seems that an assembly of highly influential commercial vendors is steering the wheel (independent from what?), hoping to make a lot of money for themselves (not-for-profit for basic functionality?), lulling us into the false sense of the open source community (which finds them bugs instead of paid testers).

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