The Eclipse Foundation celebrated its independence from IBM this week with a conference that seemed to embody the open-source nature of the group's application development framework.
The Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif., at first, seemed an inappropriate venue, as scruffy developer types and software industry luminaries, among them IBM Fellow Grady Booch, Sun Microsystems' Technology Evangelist Simon Phipps and Red Hat CTO Michael Tiemann, rubbed elbows and discussed the finer points of application coding to the incessant soundtrack of Disney tunes piped through every hallway.
Perhaps realizing that both Disney and open source use cartoon animals to promote their products--that Mickey Mouse and the Linux penguin might be considered distant cousins in the world of clever branding--attendees didn't let the occasional snide comment about chez Disney get in the way of the business of promoting Eclipse and open-source software in general.
IBM formed Eclipse in November 2001 to provide a standard IDE that supported the use of multiple tools from different vendors simultaneously. In short, it was and is an effort to solve compatibility problems between different vendors' Java tools. Any tools vendor can download Eclipse for free and create plug-ins to the framework that allow their tools to work seamlessly within the IDE.
Tiemann opened the day with a discussion of what he called the tipping point for Eclipse, the point at which a key group of people with the right connections, technology savvy and powers of persuasion might cause a software development revolution. He said that with the right amount of momentum, Eclipse might be a way to take software development to the next level.