Friday, September 18, 2009

September Eclipse Board Meeting

Rather than my usual tome, here's a quick update from the Eclipse Board meeting in Boston.

First, the Board voted unanimously to allow jGit to use EDL licensing. jGit is a dependent component of the eGit project. By approving this license, the entire Eclipse tooling stack for git support can now live at Eclipse as a project. This is great news. Vive le git! Or is that "too le git to quit?"

Second, project plans for next year are due. Wayne's blog covers the details much better than I can. Project plans are an essential tool for communicating to the world what you are doing, and from now on, projects won't pass reviews without them. Please work with your PMC on getting your plans together.

The other stuff we covered was the usual: KPI's, operations, money, and the beginnings of a strategic plan for next year. I'll let Mike comment on that.

Friday, April 3, 2009

March 2009 Eclipse Board Meeting

While most EclipseCon attendees were enjoying the excellent tutorials or participating in the annual Members Meeting, the Eclipse Board was quietly having our quarterly face to face board meeting. As usual, here is a brief summary of our meeting.

Elections. We said goodbye to elected Board Members stepping down at the end of their terms: Robert Day, Mik Kersten, Jeff McAffer, Emma McGrattan and Tracy Ragan. The committer reps would especially like to recognize our fellow reps, Mik and Jeff. Jeff has been on the Board for several years and has contributed extensively to the direction of Eclipse, both in his project leadership and participation and at the Board level. I have personally worked with Mik over the past year on committer issues, and he is a strong community advocate, in addition to leading one of the coolest projects at Eclipse, Mylyn. To this year's re-elected Committer Reps, Chris Aniszczyk, myself (Doug Gaff) and Ed Merks, we welcome newly-elected Boris Bokowski to our ranks. Boris has a long history with Eclipse and will serve the committer population well.

Key Performance Indicators. At every Board meeting, we review a large deck of slides called KPI's. These slides summarize progress on the Strategic Initiatives for the Foundation, membership statistics, and other vitality metrics such as site traffic, download stats, project activity, EPIC stats, etc. While some of the information is Board confidential, much of it can and should be shared with the public. Doug and Mike agreed to work on publishing some of the KPI's to the community for better visibility. Stay tuned.

EclipseCon. We reviewed the statistics on EclipseCon registration and expenses. While attendance was down this year, anecdotally because of attendee travel restrictions, the conference was still very well attended. Bjorn and the EclipseCon staff worked diligently to keep expenses in check with income while not affecting the quality of the conference. You probably didn't even notice the cost-savings measures, as most were completely hidden. The food, beverages, receptions, and wifi were all on par with past years. The Board formally recognized Bjorn for his incredible commitment to making EclipseCon a great conference.

Git. Yes, we discussed git, too, although my other post has much more current information on the topic.

Automotive Industry Working Group. Ralph Mueller, Director of Ecosystem in Europe, presented an update to the Board on the Automotive Industry Working Group currently under discussion with industry participants. This will be the second IWG created at Eclipse. (Pulsar, the Mobile Working Group, is the first.) In short, things are progressing nicely and Ralph hopes the group will form later this year. The Board feels very strongly that Industry Working Groups are a critical future direction for the Foundation and Ecosystem, and we're excited by the progress.

Membership and Finances. It is no secret that the entire world is in a massive economic recession. The Eclipse Foundation and Eclipse Member companies are not immune to this reality, and Foundation has experienced a net drop in membership. The Executive Director (Mike Milinkovich) and the Financial Officer (Chris Larocque) presented a very detailed revised 2009 budget that cut expenses in several areas while still preserving the level of service and staffing that the community has come to rely upon from the Foundation. The board was very impressed with the detail and thoroughness of the analysis, and we want to remind the community that the Eclipse Foundation is in excellent managerial hands. On an additional positive note, we'd like to welcome our first Enterprise level member, Research in Motion (RIM).

Finally, as is apparently a tradition for March Board Meetings, we had a guest speaker. (Think "tutorial envy".) John Hagel from the Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation spoke to us about "Shaping Strategies". While I don't expect to do this topic justice in a single sentence, Shaping Strategies are proactive market strategies that leverage disruptive technology and allow a company to instantly grab market share in a new space. Think of Google's foray into the telecom space as one example. Check out John's paper for a much better explanation.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

December 2008 Board Meeting

The Eclipse Board of Directors just completed our Q4 face-to-face in San Francisco. This was a 2-day meeting jammed with topics. I've focused this tome mostly on the committer-related issues. Watch for the official board minutes, and my apologies for the length. Board topics:

  • Project Plans and the Roadmap
  • Industry Working Groups and the Eclipse Mobile Working Group
  • Miscellaneous procedural items, including updates on ESE 08 and EclipseCon 09
  • The Galileo release and the newly-revived Architecture Council
  • Budget and executive compensation review
  • EPIC proposal for improvements
  • Annual Strategic Developer reports
  • Discussion on Strategic Developer contributions to the common good

The Board approved the following amendment to the Eclipse Development Process:

For any Project to pass a Continuation Review, Graduation Review or Release Review it must have a current project plan, in the format specified by the EMO, available to the community.

We feel very strongly that the XML project plan format and linkage to Bugzilla plan items have been a positive step in improving plans across the project landscape, and this resolution further emphasizes the importance of transparent planning. I'd also like to note that of all of the Galileo requirements, the XML project plan is the only one specifically mandated by the Board. The other requirements are either part of the Development Process or were added collectively by the Planning Council. These plans roll-up into the Roadmap, which was also approved at this meeting.

We also discussed Industry Working Groups, a new Foundation initiative designed to increase membership, industry awareness and usage of Eclipse, and engineering staffing on Eclipse projects. With my DSDP hat on, I'm excited that the first one created is the Eclipse Mobile Working Group.

Mik and I led a lively discussion on the age-old Adopter Community vs. User Community question, in this case whether Galileo is supposed to be a coordinated build or a coordinated product. After much discussion, the Board reiterated the position that Galileo is a community-supported release of technology, which is subsequently productized by commercial adopters. Free users of Galileo get support from the community, but for enterprise-level support users need to buy a commercial product based on the Galileo technologies. In order to make this clearer on the site, the Galileo site will have 1) a statement that the EPP packages are community-supported, 2) a link to commercial distros, and 3) an obvious way to file bugs against an EPP package in Bugzilla.

This discussion was followed up by a status update on the Architecture Council. Attention eclipse community: the AC has been revived and is very now active. If you haven't paid attention in a while, now is the time to re-engage. As part of the AC report, we also discussed some committer and project needs from the Foundation: Engineering Staffing, LGPL, Git, and JIRA. I discuss each below.

Regarding staffing, we discussed some of the nice-to-have items from Galileo: BIDI, accessibility, usability, and cross-project QA. The conclusion was a reminder of the roles of the Foundation and the Membership when it comes to project staffing. As indicated in the bylaws, the Foundation facilitates the ecosystem while maintaining vendor neutrality. So when applying engineering staffing, the Foundation supports infrastructure rather than writing code for specific projects. This means that if there are specific project features that the community feels are important, staffing needs to come from the community and the commercial ecosystem, not from the Foundation.

LGPL was raised as an issue because some projects need to link to LGPL code to realize their full feature set. LGPL (and GPL) code is currently not allowed on the Foundation's servers, so multiple downloads are required for some projects. The Board's IP Advisory Committee is currently examining the LGPL policy.

Git and JIRA are two tools that have been recently
discussed by the committers and project leads. Git is a Distributed Version Control System, intended to be a replacement for tools like CVS and SVN. JIRA is an issue tracking system similar to Bugzilla. The Foundation doesn't currently have the staff to deploy another VCS, so the Git discussion has been tabled for now. The Board does want to stay current and relevant technically in order to continue to attract projects and technologies, and we will likely need to revisit Git in the future. Regarding JIRA, the Board felt that adopting a second issue tracking system is out of scope at this time. The IP due diligence process and automated tooling are very closely tied both legally and technically to Bugzilla, and we felt that adopting a second system would be disproportionately costly relative to the benefits.

We spent some time reviewing and approving next year's budget. It's appropriately conservative and includes built-in contingencies for the challenging economy. Some next steps for Eclipse Plug-in Central (EPIC) were also approved (stay tuned). We reviewed the annual Strategic Developer reports, and you can see the per-company project and committer statistics for yourself.

Finally, we had a long discussion pertaining to how the Strategic members can further advance the platform (in the general sense) by putting some staffing on "common good" items. This was somewhat of a continuation of the staffing discussion above. I'd like to say that we reach some definitive conclusions, but we still have more work to do. Again, stay tuned. As part of this discussion, we talked about investment in the Eclipse Platform, both 3.x and E4. Not surprisingly, there was a mix of commercial needs represented in the room, some of whom have a long-term need for continued 3.x maintenance and enhancement and some of whom need the E4 platform.

Happy Holidays from your friendly neighborhood committer reps!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

XMPP Server for Eclipse Committers

An FYI for Eclipse committers, we now have an XMPP server hosted at that you can use. If you're a committer, you already have an account. Simply follow the instructions on the wiki. There are already several people taking advantage of the server:

There are different clients you can use to connect to the server... I personally use a combination of ECF and Adium on the Mac:

Feel free to use the server as a way to collaborate with other committers... for example you have the opportunity to use the server to share editors using ECF.

The next stop on the committer representative train will be pushing for a Git repository :)

Enjoy and Happy Holidays from your friendly neighborhood committer reps!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

September Board Meeting

The Eclipse Board just completed our Q3 face-to-face in Dallas. We covered the following topics:

  • Miscellaneous general business, including welcoming Genuitec, Obeo, Sonatype to the Strategic Member roster.
  • Update on the Eclipse Strategy
  • Discussion on Industry Working Groups
  • Continued discussion on the dual licensing of runtimes
  • Sustainer and Committer Member representative issues
  • The usual KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) and status on upcoming Eclipse conferences

If you're plugged into the Eclipse community, you'll know Genuitec from their MyEclipse and Pulse products. Obeo and Sonatype were new to me. Obeo is a modeling company that specializes in software migration of legacy code to new languages, among other things. Sonatype is the company behind Maven and the m2e project.

The Eclipse Strategy update was very interesting. You may remember from my last board post, that the Board kicked off a strategy discussion in June under the leadership of Ricco Deutscher from SOPERA. We spent a good portion of that 2-day meeting outlining strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) facing our community. In this Board meeting, the Strategy Committee presented their vision, strategic goals, and initiatives for the SWOT's. We made several changes, and we hope to finalize the document by the December face-to-face board meeting.

With the new membership classes in place thanks to the overwhelming support of the Eclipse membership, the EMO has been working on initiatives that add demonstrable, additive value for Strategic and Enterprise level members. At this Board meeting, we discussed two initiatives: Industry Working Groups and the Custom Delivery Installer Program.

Working Groups have been around at Eclipse for a while, but Industry Working Groups are a new concept. Put simply, and Industry Working Group is like a mini-consortium organized under the Eclipse Foundation that will bring companies in similar Industry Verticals together to chart and staff a strategic course for eclipse technologies related to their Industry. (Hmm, was that simply put?) These working groups will help provide cohesive direction to various projects in Eclipse. Nokia and Motorola are already proposing the first such group: the Mobile Working Group. Stay tuned for more specifics on this new group, but suffice it to say, I expect this working group will help provide vision and staffing for several of the mobile projects in DSDP. Industry Working Groups have a two-tier membership structure: the Steering Committee (made up of Enterprise and Strategic members) and Participants (open to all Eclipse members.)

The Customer Delivery Install Program turned into a somewhat contentious discussion, as evident in the bugzilla on this topic. This program has two purposes: to improve the download experience for users of Eclipse projects and also to provide additional value to Strategic Members who want to offer downloads of their technologies on top of a standard package. If you're interested in this topic, please comment on the bugzilla.

Jeff McAffer continued a dual licensing discussion that I started at the June Board meeting around dual licensing of runtime components. As you may recall, the RTSC and TM projects in DSDP have small runtime components that needed to be licensed under EDL and EPL in order to encourage commercial integration of the runtimes with both Linux and commercial real-time operating systems. Jeff, as head of the RT project, is running into similar deployment situations with parts of the runtime technology. While we still envision the need to discuss dual licensing on a case-by-case basis, the IP Advisory Committee is going to examine the dual licensing policy and better document options that new projects have in choosing licensing.

Finally, the KPI's covered the usual information about membership, website traffic, financials, etc. Nothing terribly important to note. We did get an update on Eclipse Summit Europe 2008 and EclipseCon 2009, both of which are on-track to be excellent conferences. ESE is especially challenged right now, with 210 talk submissions for only 60 available slots. It's a testament to the strength of Eclipse in the European community, and I expect ESE will need to grow in size in the years to come.

That's all for now from your friendly neighborhood committer reps!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June Board Meeting

I've been an elected committer rep for 3 months now. Committers: thanks a lot for all this extra work!

In all seriousness, I want to update the community on last week's Eclipse Board Meeting. As you know, some of the material covered in Board meetings is confidential (especially financial stuff). However, most of it is open and ends up being published in the minutes. Last week, the Board met in lovely Denver to cover the following topics:

  • New fee structure approval and Bylaw change vote discussion
  • Project reports from TPTP and BIRT
  • Positive vote on standardizing eRCP at the OSGi Alliance
  • Project Roadmap Process
  • Japanese Localization of Bugzilla
  • Positive vote on dual Licensing (EPL and EDL) for the embedded runtime components in RTSC and TM.
  • Eclipse Strategy discussion

I want to focus on a couple items that are relevant for the wider committer community. First, the Project Roadmap. Project leads will recall the heated discussion about the XML project plan format. Much of the concern was around the dates when projects needed to have their plans posted. You'll be happy to know that the Board moved the Eclipse roadmap publication dates, so project plans are now due by September 30 instead of August 31. This better aligns with the typical project planning cycles, especially for Eclipse train projects.

Second, we had a discussion about Japanese localization of Bugzilla. In the interest of full disclosure: this is coming at the request of one of my incubating projects - NAB. NAB already has both English and Japanese mailing lists and web pages, but they don't use Bugzilla at all right now because they perceive a language barrier with their user community. (Incidentally, there's also a Japanese Working group in Eclipse.) The Board discussed localization and agreed that native language templates for Bugzilla are a reasonable request, but conversations in Bugzilla needed to be conducted in English. Given our intense focus on IP issues in the community, we feel this is critical. How do the committers feel about this?

Third, did you know that there's an Eclipse Strategy document? Yes, there's a one page document from last year, but I haven't yet found the link. Anyway, it contains some good goals, but it's pretty light on initiatives. In an attempt to advance our strategic thinking, the Board had a facilitated discussion on Eclipse strategy – the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing our community. The results aren't fully baked yet, so stayed tuned for more communication on the ideas and initiatives.

There were some other interesting discussions. I'll cover eRCP standardization and the dual-licensed embedded runtime components in a future post.

Friday, February 8, 2008

EclipseCon 2008: Committers View

EclipseCon has always been a great gathering of the Eclipse Committers.
As such EclipseCon 2008 has lots to offer Eclipse committers.

We have worked to create the Committer and Contributors track as part of the program. As the name suggests this is a grouping of talks that are of special interest to all Eclipse committers and contributors.

Another event specifically targeted for contributors and brought to you with help from your Committer representatives is the Hackathon. Don't spend all your time there but hunker down and code when you feel the need.

Not really directly part of EclipseCon, is the Eclipse Foundation Members Meeting. It is an all day meeting on Monday March 17. To see the blogged content of a previous members meeting go here. For all the minutes go here. Something new to check out perhaps?

EclipseCon is a great opportunity to meet your Eclipse board including the Committer representatives and Add-in Providers that you elect during the current board election.
Lots of great candidates to choose from: do not forget to read all the positions and get the vote out!
At EclipseCon come and explore the Exhibit hall which, besides hosting lots of great exhibits, will have a small area with a couple of chairs to do a meet and greet with some members of the Eclipse board.

And I know that at least two of your current committer representatives will be out on the EclipseCon Exercise activity. Do you like golf? Blackberries? How about Jazz?

Looking for a new job that requires Eclipse skills? All the EclipseCons I have attended (and I have been lucky enough to attend all of them) have had a job opportunities board for perusal. As well, you would be hard pressed to find a better networking opportunity...

Looking for people with the same interests as yourself? Birds of Feather or BOFs are still being organized and are always a great way to meet other people with the same passions.

And don't forget the tutorials...which are gratis :-)

Sign up already :-) EclipseCon 2008