Eclipse learns how to let go

Swapping IBM for Sun and Microsoft


That's a significant toning down of the rhetoric from 2006, before Windows Vista, when Milinkovich talked of Eclipse disrupting Microsoft's desktop business ahead of Windows Vista. At the time Eclipse touted backwards compatibility and the ability for ISVs to compile applications across different platforms using the then-new Rich Client Platform. This has since been picked up by IBM's Lotus division, here and here.

Eclipse's desire to grow, and for its potential force in this market, was demonstrated by EclipseCon's other big news: an initiative to develop and promote a community around Equinox, the lightweight OSGi-based runtime, that's now called Eclipse RT.

This is big news, given the trajectory of the Eclipse tooling framework, which flattened the IDE (integrated development environment) market a few years ago like an open-source steamroller.

The big question for Eclipse and possibly the single biggest reason why Microsoft and Sun are so hesitant on committing remains the age-old issue of IBM. Salaried IBM staffers dominate the current 3.x Eclipse platform.

There was plenty of "peace and love" rhetoric at EclipseCon - ironically, from the director of Microsoft's open source labs Sam Ramji announcing support for SWT - about how everything's better when the engineers are left to sort things out together.

Even engineers, though, can have corporate affiliations and technology preferences that might seem reasonable to the individual but lead to fights and disagreements.

Bitter Java

The bottom line is this: Eclipse promotes Java, and that will continue to be a difficult corporate pill for Microsoft to swallow. As far as Sun is concerned, Eclipse is promoting the "wrong" flavor of Java - SWT instead of Swing, so Sun is leaving the work of interoperability between the two to others.

Little wonder, then, that with discussion on the fourth iteration of the Eclipse platform starting, there are already concerns about continued domination by IBM.

Milinkovich and early committers to Eclipse 4.0, or e4, speaking at EclipseCon, though, are phrasing there concern in more politically correct terms, expressing a desire for more "diversity" among committers.

That's important. Diversity would be welcomed - or, in the view of conspiracy theorists, sanctioned - by IBM, as more committers would help relieve the company from the burden of paying to support a tools platform that it ends up competing against as often as it uses.

A reduced role for IBM on the platform project would leave Eclipse swinging for committers. Suddenly, the call for diversity sounds like reality talking. Without a fresh intake, and in the absence of IBM, it's questionable whether the Eclipse platform could progress to the web and desktop friendly incarnation hoped for version four. Enter Sun and Microsoft.

That's if early work on e4 picks up, though. As Milinkovich told us: "This is a community based effort, and we often say things like: 'We're doing this, we're trying it out, and we hope people like it', but we don't know where it's going to end up."®


Other stories you might like

  • North Korea pulled in $400m in cryptocurrency heists last year – report

    Plus: FIFA 22 players lose their identity and Texas gets phony QR codes

    In brief Thieves operating for the North Korean government made off with almost $400m in digicash last year in a concerted attack to steal and launder as much currency as they could.

    A report from blockchain biz Chainalysis found that attackers were going after investment houses and currency exchanges in a bid to purloin funds and send them back to the Glorious Leader's coffers. They then use mixing software to make masses of micropayments to new wallets, before consolidating them all again into a new account and moving the funds.

    Bitcoin used to be a top target but Ether is now the most stolen currency, say the researchers, accounting for 58 per cent of the funds filched. Bitcoin accounted for just 20 per cent, a fall of more than 50 per cent since 2019 - although part of the reason might be that they are now so valuable people are taking more care with them.

    Continue reading
  • Tesla Full Self-Driving videos prompt California's DMV to rethink policy on accidents

    Plus: AI systems can identify different chess players by their moves and more

    In brief California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said it’s “revisiting” its opinion of whether Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature needs more oversight after a series of videos demonstrate how the technology can be dangerous.

    “Recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the opinions of other experts in this space,” have made the DMV think twice about Tesla, according to a letter sent to California’s Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and first reported by the LA Times.

    Tesla isn’t required to report the number of crashes to California’s DMV unlike other self-driving car companies like Waymo or Cruise because it operates at lower levels of autonomy and requires human supervision. But that may change after videos like drivers having to take over to avoid accidentally swerving into pedestrians crossing the road or failing to detect a truck in the middle of the road continue circulating.

    Continue reading
  • Alien life on Super-Earth can survive longer than us due to long-lasting protection from cosmic rays

    Laser experiments show their magnetic fields shielding their surfaces from radiation last longer

    Life on Super-Earths may have more time to develop and evolve, thanks to their long-lasting magnetic fields protecting them against harmful cosmic rays, according to new research published in Science.

    Space is a hazardous environment. Streams of charged particles traveling at very close to the speed of light, ejected from stars and distant galaxies, bombard planets. The intense radiation can strip atmospheres and cause oceans on planetary surfaces to dry up over time, leaving them arid and incapable of supporting habitable life. Cosmic rays, however, are deflected away from Earth, however, since it’s shielded by its magnetic field.

    Now, a team of researchers led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) believe that Super-Earths - planets that are more massive than Earth but less than Neptune - may have magnetic fields too. Their defensive bubbles, in fact, are estimated to stay intact for longer than the one around Earth, meaning life on their surfaces will have more time to develop and survive.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022