16 August 2007

Open Source's Best-Kept Secret Redux

About 18 months ago, I wrote a post called "Open Source's Best-Kept Secret" about Eclipse, how wonderful it was, and yet how few knew about it. Now what do I find?

Eclipse may be the most important open-source "project" that people outside the industry, and even some within it, have never heard of.

Yup, Matt and I agree again. His piece is an excellent interview with the head of Eclipse, Mike Milinkovich. I also interviewed him recently, for my feature about the open source ecosystem in Redmond Magazine. Matt's ranges more widely, and is probably the best intro to what Eclipse is up to, how it functions, and why it is so important.

Indeed, I wonder whether it will actually prove to be the most important open source project of all in the long term. As Matt points out:

In late June, Eclipse made available the largest-ever simultaneous release of open-source software, called Europa: 17 million lines of code, representing the contributions of 310 open-source developers in 19 countries. Twenty-one new tools were included in the "Europa" release, all free to download.

Think about that. The Linux kernel has around 6 million lines of code.... The Java Development Kit that Sun open sourced has 6.5 million.... Sun's StarOffice release in 2000 (which was believed to be the largest open-source release to that point) had 9 million.... Firefox has 2.5 million.

Yeah, think about it....

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