What motivates an eclipse?
Mike Milinkovich has an interesting response to my earlier "Fractured Eclipse" entry. He points out that the Eclipse Bylaws emphasize frameworks, and this is clear from the section that he quotes. He also notes that exemplary tools are crucial as well, as called out in the Eclipse Development Process Quality section. I think it is telling that two sources are used here. I don't disagree with Mike's comments at all, but I think the juxtaposition of these two sources is a very nice example of the multiple voices present in the Eclipse stakeholder community. Roughly, we have the extender and user groups. The extenders are more interested in the frameworks typically, and in fact might not want to see strong exemplary tools, since that is one area in which they'd like to make money. Users want to use Eclipse to perform some other task, such as developing enterprise or RCP applications. One looks inward to Eclipse and builds on it, and the other looks outward from Eclipse and builds with it. IMHO both are valid positions, but the framework centric one has tended to dominate more (notice that the framework comments come from the bylaws, whereas the tooling comments come from the development process guidelines).
So, as the Development Process Quality section says, "Neither frameworks without users nor tools without frameworks are interesting points along the software development spectrum," and this is certainly true. The challenge is to recognize the multiple stakeholder voices in the Eclipse community and strike a balance. How are we, as members of the Eclipse community, doing at this?