Oracle Proposes Hudson Become Eclipse Foundation Project

Oracle today announced that it has proposed moving the open-source, Java-based continuous integration (CI) server Hudson -- including all the code, the domain name and the trademark -- to the Eclipse Foundation.

If the project is accepted, Oracle will be the project lead. The company is committing three full-time developers to the project.

The initial project committers will be Tasktop, Sonatype and VMware. Intuit and IBM are also listed as project supporters on the initial proposal. Oracle expects more companies to commit during the Eclipse Foundation's 30-day review period, said Ted Farrell, chief architect and senior vice president of Oracle's Tools and Middleware group.

At least part of the reason for Oracle's decision to move Hudson to Eclipse, Farrell told ADTmag, is to allay fears about Oracle's involvement with the project. Earlier this year, disagreements about Oracle's decision to migrate the project to its infrastructure, along with Oracle's decision to trademark the Hudson name, led community members to vote (214 to 14) to rename the project "Jenkins" and move the code from to GitHub.

"Some people are still worried that someday Oracle will make a commercial product out of it and shut everybody out," Farrell said. "It's a way to relieve everyone's concerns that it's not truly open, and it adds the well-defined governance structure that has been missing from the project."

Moving the project to an "enterprise-oriented, open source environment" like the Eclipse Foundation, will provide a solid structure on which companies can rely, Farrell said.

Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, sees Eclipse as the perfect home for Hudson.

"Eclipse is the openly governed, vendor neutral community that builds enterprise-ready and product-ready software," he told this site in an e-mail this morning. "Software which, in turn, is used by hundreds of companies as the basis for thousands of products in the marketplace. We feel that we have the best open source development and intellectual property management processes in the industry. Oracle wanted to bring Hudson to a community where they could be confident that its structure, predictability, openness, and stability could be addressed. That, plus the team's interest in moving the core to run on the Equinox OSGi implementation, made this a perfect match."

Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop and founder of Eclipse Mylyn, the open source framework for integrating task and ALM tools with the Eclipse IDE, believes the timing of Oracle's decision is more a result of the evolution of Hudson than community unrest.

"Hudson has reached the point where it has the opportunity of becoming a de facto standard for Continuous Integration (CI)," Kersten said. "The Eclipse Development Process significantly increases those chances, and provides key vendors with the IP assurances and vendor neutrality needed to drive contributions."

The next phase of the project submission process is a period of community feedback, Milinkovich explained, followed by what the Eclipse Foundation calls a "creation review," during which the community formally decides to bring the project into the Foundation. Both last about 30 days, he said.

Jason van Zyl, founder and CTO of Sonatype, the leading commercial supporter of the open-source Maven project, says his company has been working with Hudson for a long time and supporting it as an Eclipse project is a logical next step. In fact, Zyl revealed to ADTmag his company's plans to open source all of its Maven 3.x integration and donate it to the Hudson project at Eclipse.

"Hudson is critical to all of our customers who use Maven," van Zyl said, "so we want to ensure that the Maven integration effort is successful."

"There is a great spirit of cooperation and collaboration at Eclipse," he added, "even among competing interests, and I believe Eclipse will be a great place for plugin developers. Eclipse has a long history of maintaining highly stable APIs and this is critical for a successful plugin ecosystem. This has worked for the Eclipse platform itself and I see this working for Hudson, and therefore plugin makers."

IDC analyst Al Hilwa regards the move as the right one for cooling concerns about Oracle's stewardship of Hudson, but also a positive step for users of the popular CI and Hudson plug in developers.

"I think most Hudson users are going along with the Oracle strategy and generally want a more organized and stable evolution cycle of the code and a more transparent governance model," Hilwa said. "Moving it to Eclipse and getting IBM and VMware on board among a set of partners is a move in the right direction and good for everyone."

Rod Johnson, SpringSource founder and senior vice president of VMware's Application Platform Strategy group, agrees.

"By establishing a Hudson project at Eclipse and contributing the code and trademarks to the project, we believe that Oracle is acting in the best interest of Hudson and the community," Johnson said in a statement. "It's important that the Java community has an open source CI solution with a broad-based set of committers. We are pleased to deepen our longstanding engagement with the Eclipse Foundation and are excited to help drive Hudson forward."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].