What Is Eclipse and the Eclipse Foundation?
Eclipse is a community for individuals and organizations who wish to collaborate on commercially-friendly open source software. Its projects are focused on building an open development platform comprised of extensible frameworks, tools and runtimes for building, deploying and managing software across the lifecycle.
The Eclipse Foundation is a not-for-profit, member supported corporation that hosts the Eclipse projects and helps cultivate both an open source community and an ecosystem of complementary products and services.
The Foundation also facilitates collaboration among Foundation members through Eclipse Working Groups. The collaboration is intended to focus, promote, and augment Eclipse technologies to meet the needs of specific industries.
Eclipse Release Trains
Each year, the Eclipse community of open source projects coordinates a major release at the end of June. The coordinated release allows users and adopters of Eclipse technology to update to new versions of Eclipse projects all at one time.
The 2013 release is named Kepler, and is available for download here. The 2014 release will be named Luna.
History of the Eclipse Project
The Eclipse Project was originally created by IBM in November 2001 and supported by a consortium of software vendors. The Eclipse Foundation was created in January 2004 as an independent not-for-profit corporation to act as the steward of the Eclipse community. The independent not-for-profit corporation was created to allow a vendor neutral and open, transparent community to be established around Eclipse.
The Eclipse Community
Today, the Eclipse community consists of individuals and organizations from a cross section of the software industry. The Eclipse Foundation is funded by annual dues from our members and governed by a Board of Directors. Strategic Developers and Strategic Consumers hold seats on this Board, as do representatives elected by Add-in Providers and Open Source committers.
The Eclipse Foundation
The Foundation employs a full-time professional staff to provide services to the community but does not employ the open source developers, called committers, who actually work on the Eclipse projects. Eclipse committers are typically employed by organizations or are independent developers that volunteer their time to work on an open source project.
In general, the Eclipse Foundation provides four services to the Eclipse community: 1) IT Infrastructure, 2) IP Management, 3) Development Process, and 4) Ecosystem Development. Full-time staff are associated with each of these areas and work with the greater Eclipse community to assist in meeting the needs of the stakeholders.