The eclipse of the Eclipse

11 06 2014

When you do something for passion or for money you goal to do this well. I trust you do. And I am sure you do when you contribute to Open Source software. You do it from passion, devote your time and use best skills to make your product better and give it to people, hoping they will use it and benefit from it.

Well, Eclipse contributors are also willing their product to succeed, to be the best tool for programmers, made by programmers. But will it defend itself? The Eclipse Foundation Executive Director, Mike Milinkovich was making a keynote speech at 33rd Degree – one of the best conferences in Poland, one of the best I’ve attended. He had a great chance to inspire 1200 Java developers and infect them with his vision and he missed it. After listening to this keynote my impression is that Mike Milinkovich, The Executive Director, does not have vision and Eclipse will oversleep the revolution taking place in software development.

“You don’t want to throw away all you have written for so many years”
Keynote started from outlining the Eclipse history. It is truly great what was achieved, but one should not rely on its history in IT. Software developers are dynamic and open for innovation, not caring about the history much.

History has shaped Eclipse to the IDE as it is now – great one in my opinion, the only IDE I use for Java. But others are not sleeping – IntelliJIdea to be precise. Well Eclipse, you need to compete. It is tough decision to completely change the track and direct to another goal. History (and huge codebase) should not stop you if you want to be the best. Too much too loose by constantly looking back.

One need to respond to the new reality and change the mindset regardless of the great history of the company. Kodak missed the revolution and now it is only a history.

“I have no some vision of the future”
Trusting your team is a good thing. Trusting the open source contributors is even better. Allowing them to decide where to pull the product makes sense. But will it work with just some vision? Having influence on such tool as Eclipse is a great responsibility and a great honour. Representing all the contributors obliges. Isn’t it ruining everything saying that there is no vision? I hope that it won’t ruin Eclipse, because of its contributors doing the great work. But is it enough?

Note: I mean the independent contributors – not the ones from big companies like IBM, contributing because their company makes money on it.

You need a vision. A brave one. To be the best. To improve. Don’t disappoint the people that are actually building the Eclipse. And its users

“How would you convince me to use Eclipse instead of my perfect IntelliJ?”
– the question from the audience raised. Brave question. And one of the best that could be asked after such presentation. And the answer was: “I would not. Just use the tool that best suits you”. Very good answer. You would not convince that person anyway. But you could convince other Eclipse users not to switch to IntelliJ.

Including me

I see no vision, no courage to respond to the market change, no will to be best, better than the competition. I don’t want to be a part of this, I am going to give a try to the IntelliJ.

I am disappointed with the keynote, I feel bad for all the contributors – that their work, passion and impressive skills are destroyed by lack of support from the Executive Director site. I trust that Mike Milinkovich and wants good, but it is not enough.

I am full of appreciation and respect for Eclipse. It is my favourite IDE, powerful, and making my work easier. I am where I am also thanks to it, but the history should not be the only factor defining the future. I don’t want to be a part of it.



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