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Eclipse Foundation Launches New Eclipse IDE Working Group

The Eclipse Foundation today announced the formation of the Eclipse IDE Working Group, a new community-driven initiative that will "support the continued evolution, adoption, and sustainability of the Eclipse IDE suite of products, related technologies, and ecosystem."

Specifically, the new working group will provide governance, guidance, and funding for the communities that support the delivery and maintenance of Eclipse IDE products. The stated goals of the group are "to ensure the continued success, vibrancy, quality and sustainability of the Eclipse Platform, desktop IDE and underlying technologies, including related planning and delivery processes, as well as related delivery technology."

The animating idea here is to provide a governance structure that will enable broad collaboration while maintaining standards and addressing market requirements. That structure will be supported by an impressive list of working group founders that includes Bosch, EclipseSource, IBM, Kichwa Coders, Renesas, SAP, VMware, and Yatta Solutions.

The Eclipse IDE was not only the Foundation's flagship offering when the organization was created by IBM and set loose upon the world in 2001, it was its only offering, its raison d'ê·tre. Looking back to my first report on the then-fledgling dev tool, I found this description: "The Java-based, open-source software, code-named Eclipse, will enable developers to use tools from multiple suppliers together, allowing them to integrate processes used to create e-business applications, such as those for Web services." (Code-named? E-business?)

When IBM announced that it was releasing its Eclipse code, Gartner analysts Joseph Feiman and Mark Driver called the move "an ambitious project and an ambitious product foundation." If it succeeded, they said, it would revive the concept of best tools combined in a single workbench, which they called "an application developer's dream."

It would be an understatement to say that the open-source community—heck, the tech world at large—viewed IBM's largesse at the time with skepticism. And yet, Big Blue managed to keep from big-footing the Foundation, participating, instead, as a regular-sized-foot member organization.

"Two decades ago, IBM and the community launched what has become the Eclipse IDE family of projects, and these tools are even more useful to developers today as they were then," said Todd Moore, VP of IBM's Open Technology, group, in a statement. "As a founding member of the Eclipse IDE Working Group, IBM is eagerly looking forward to collaborating with the other members, supporters and the community to nurture a thriving ecosystem that keeps these projects relevant now and into the future."

Since then, the Foundation has evolved into a steady, competent specification organization and the true shepherd of a vast expanse of solutions and services. And ever at the heart of that expanse has been its venerable, namesake IDE. With millions of users, tens of millions of downloads, and billions of dollars in shared investment, the Eclipse IDE continues to be one of the most popular desktop development environments on the planet.

"For 20 years, the Eclipse IDE has provided developers around the world with a powerful open-source tooling platform used to create world-class applications and products," said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, in a statement. "This new working group will ensure the Eclipse IDE platform is set to fulfill the needs of the millions of developers who use the Eclipse IDE today and in the future."

The launch of the Eclipse IDE Working Group coincides with the 2021-06 release of the Eclipse IDE, itself, and the second quarterly simultaneous release of more than 70 participating projects, 110 committers, 174 contributors, and almost 80 million lines of code, the Foundation says.

A partial list of new features for this release includes:

  • Support for Java 16 and the necessary tooling for development
  • Improved Java development tooling with new cleanups added, improved debug hover, and evaluation over chain of variables
  • Support for Mac AArch64 for Apple M1 based systems
  • Improved embedded terminal that supports opening files and links with Ctrl+Click, remembers working directory, shell, and other settings

The Eclipse IDE 2021-06 is available now for download.

Unsurprisingly, the Eclipse Foundation is welcoming interested parties to the new working group. To learn more about how to get involved with the Eclipse IDE Working Group, visit the Eclipse Foundation membership page or see the working group’s Charter and Participation Agreement.


Posted by John K. Waters on June 17, 2021