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Eclipse Foundation Turns to Social Coding Sites

The Eclipse Foundation will soon allow the hosting of its projects on social coding sites, such as GitHub and Bitbucket. The idea, says the Foundation's executive director Mike Milinkovich, is to attract new, maturing projects to Eclipse.

"We expect that this will pique the interest of projects that, perhaps, started on GitHub, but have gotten to the point where they're interested in vendor-neutral governance, having infrastructures for following meritocratic processes, and proper intellectual property management," he told ADTmag. "That's not just what GitHub does. I think we're a perfect complement to using GitHub as a repository for your development."

But the move is also about remaining relevant as an open source community, Milinkovich said. He announced the Foundation's plans on his "Life at Eclipse" blog, where he credited Mikeal Rogers' November 2011 post "Apache Considered Harmful" as the inspiration for the decision: "Although I disagreed with many of Mikeal's points," he wrote, "his key point that open source foundations need to change to maintain their relevance resonated strongly with us in the Eclipse community. We listened, we're learning, and we've been working hard to change our processes and infrastructure to stay relevant for open source developers."

Milinkovich's announcement shouldn't come as much of a surprise: The Eclipse Foundation has been shifting to the very popular Git distributed version control system (DVCS) for some time; it stopped using CVS altogether last December. GitHub is one of the most popular social coding sites, in no small part because it relies on Git. In his blog post, Milinkovich also mentions the Foundation's adoption of the Gerrit code review tool, the implementation of the project management infrastructure (PMI), and its growing use of contributor license agreements (CLA).

The first project on what Milinkovich hopes will be a long list is Vert.x, which has been hosted on GitHub since the project's inception. GitHub describes the project as "a framework which takes inspiration from event driven frameworks like node.js, combines it with a distributed event bus, and sticks it all on the JVM...Vert.x then exposes the API in JavaScript, CoffeeScript, Ruby, Python, Groovy and Java."

It may also have been the impetus for the Foundation's interest in connecting with social coding sites. Vert.x is one of the most watched Java projects on GitHub (literally; there's a list), and the community chose the Eclipse Foundation when it decided to move to a "vendor-neutral home."

"This is about marrying the processes we have at Eclipse with the great tools and well-supported forge that you have at a place like GitHub," Milinkovich said.   

Milinkovich said he expects to talk with Bitbucket, a service that supports both Git and Mercurial and purchased by Atlassian in 2010, as well as other social coding sites, sometime in the future.

Posted by John K. Waters on June 25, 2013