Mike Milinkovich started the conference by highlighting the four ingredients of a great platform:
- Great technology
- Broad adoption
- “Architecture of participation”
- Hijacked by the community
Eclipse is a platform that you can extend through plugins. It is already well-known as a Java IDE, but there are plugins for many more languages (C/C++, Java, Python…). If you remove the language plugins, you are left with RCP, which is a great platform to build rich applications.
The Eclipse Foundation now has 150 members. Eclipse has about 60% market share in the Java IDE market. Eclipse 3.2 was downloaded 1 million times in the 47 days after its release. The eclipse.org website has 36000 unique visitors / day.
Architecture of participation
The aim of an architecture of participation is to create a “free market for ideas”, by lowering the barrier to entry for contributions. It has been enabled by the plugin system of Eclipse. “You need a cathedral to enable the bazaar!”: the core must be developped in a very rigourous manner, and then there must be a lot a freedom for people developing add-ons.
This is similar to the way Apache httpd is extended by different modules (mod_*) or to Mozilla Firefox extensions, etc. OpenOffice.org is also moving in this direction, thanks to the efforts of people like Laurent Godard.
“Hijacked by the community”
“Hijacked” refers to a book called “Brand Highjack” by Alex Wipperfurth (cool, a new book for me to read ;) ), which advocates “allowing customers to shape brand meaning and drive a brand’s evolution”. Mike, like me, is a reader of the “creating passionate users” blog by Cathy Sierra. He (or she?) says: “Fire the marketers. We are all marketers now”. Marketing is not done by other persons, but by ourselves as technologists.
In conclusion, Mike stressed that Eclipse RCP is the part of Eclipse with the greatest potential and highlighted a few success stories.
Overall, this was a great and inspiring keynote. The Eclipse architecture and process are both a tremendous inspiration for us with our Nuxeo 5 project, where we also have developped a plugin archtecture (using the same underlying technology as Eclipse, OSGi), we aim for clean API for external developpers, we want to help build a community of third-party contributors and extenders though, and of course we are using Eclipse as a Java IDE and as the foundation for our Nuxeo RCP project.