The Eclipse Foundation is home to a family of projects related to enterprise software development. Its Executive Director Mike Milinkovic has very kindly supplied the data for an Open-By-Rule evaluation. In his submission Mike actually scored the first point higher and I reduced his +1 for “open” down to zero because the Board is controlled by paid seats, but otherwise I agree with his evaluation, giving an overall score of +8 on the -10 to +10 scale. Eclipse definitely qualifies as “open-by-rule” according to the benchmark.
|Open, Meritocratic Oligarchy||Directors||The Board of Directors is a mix of “Strategic Members” and elected members representing the community. There are a total of six elected representatives on a board of eighteen. There are no seats reserved for any company. Each Strategic Member company must re-commit both its dollar and headcount (8 FTE) commitments to Eclipse on an annual basis. Score 0 for pay-to-play-controlled Board that does no harm to the overall community.
(Mike notes: “Although some may question the notion that there is a meritocracy involved where there Board has many corporate members who are there by virtue of their financial and resource commitment to the community, in practice this works extremely well. What we have ended up with is a mix of large and small companies who are strategically committed to the success of the community. This commitment is tangible and re-evaluated annually.” )
The Architecture and Planning Councils share a similar mix, but the vast majority of members are there by virtue of their activity or leadership of a Project Management Committee. In the case of the Architecture Council, the vast majority of members have been elected by the existing members based on clearly meritocratic basis. Score +1 for meritocratic, +1 for oligarchy, in the technical leadership.
|Modern license||Eclipse Public License v1.0||The EPL is an OSI-approved license with a well-written patent license clause very similar to that of the ASL 2.0. The EPL is a “weak copyleft” license and is particularly well suited as a license for a shared platform for an ecosystem that includes both open source and commercial adopters.||+1|
|Copyright accumulation||There are no copyright assignments at Eclipse at all.||There are no copyright assignments at Eclipse at all. Every single contributor, no matter how large or small, makes their contributions under the EPL. We have complete symmetry between inbound and outbound licensing.||+1|
|Trademark policy||Please see the logo guidelines||The trademarks policy keeps the Eclipse name, and the name of all of its projects and their namespaces in trust for the entire Eclipse community. No trademark using entity has any more rights than another. The Eclipse Foundation is a not-for-profit entity which has no commercial motive for the control or exploitation of any of its trademarks.
(Mike adds: “Caveat: Prior to the creation of the Eclipse Foundation as an independent entity, IBM followed a laissez faire policy towards the Eclipse trademarks and the marks of the various projects inside the Eclipse community. As a result, there are uses of “Eclipse” and other marks which have been grandfathered which would otherwise be in violation of our trademark.”)
|Roadmap||Roadmap||The Eclipse Foundation publishes an annual roadmap each year which pulls in the release plans of the vast majority of its projects.Each year the Eclipse community releases an annual release train combining the work of a significant subset of the Eclipse community’s projects. All of the requirements, planning and execution of the release train is done is done in an open and transparent manner.||+1|
|Multiple co-developers||Commits||Across the Eclipse community there is a very diverse collection of companies and individuals involved in projects.They also transparently publish all sorts of metrics regarding diversity and activity.||+1|
|Forking feasible||There are no licensing or copyright assignment barriers to forking. However, the continuing predominance of IBM committers on the Eclipse platform itself means that forking that particular piece of the Eclipse community would be difficult.||0|
|Transparency||Minutes site (includes minutes for Board, Council and Membership meetings)||Eclipse publishes minutes of all of its meetings.The Board operates under a mix of Chatham House rules and a requirement that not detailed personnel or financial information be published. All other minutes are made available.||+1|
|Summary (scale -10 to +10)||+8|
I’m grateful to Mike for the work he’s contributed here – thanks! If you’d like to submit the data to help me test the benchmark on your community, please do.