Monday, December 18, 2006

Eclipse is you, and you are all different

Eclipse is who? It's you, says Bjorn and Doug points out that this dovetails nicely with the Time Magazine Person of the Year. This sort of image resonates with the ideal of open source, but in practice runs into some complications, as Ian has discussed. Yet I'm not sure that I'd say, following Ian, that some are more important than others in the Eclipse ecosystem. Sure, committers can make decisions that others, say users, can not. But users can vote with their feet, and being a committer on a project without users is no fun. Rather, there are different roles, responsibilities and powers for different members of the community. While committers, project leads, the EMO, and so on tend to get a lot of the visibility, the plain fact is that Eclipse would be nowhere today without the other members of the ecosystem. And the impact of change on ecosystems is famously difficult to predict: large, unpredicted consequences can appears from seemingly small events.

Anyhow, I do take the original point, and I can understand the frustration that Ian expresses. This sort of thing has been bothering me for a while. So here it is: I think we on the committer side of projects at Eclipse make it much harder than necessary for others to participate. I have some ideas to help with this, but I'll wait to see if others agree that there is a problem in the first place, before taking blogspace with proposals.


Blogger Bull said...

Well put! As someone who has been involved with Eclipse for a number of years, I know some people in "good positions" throughout the organization. I feel pretty lucky because if I need an answer I can usually find it (even when newsgroups fail me or bugs go unanswered). I think you are right, we really need to find a way to make things easier for new comers. I can only imagine the frustration on a new users face when their first suggestion gets shot down and their first patch rejected.

But we do all work in different ways. For example, if I open a bug report and nobody comments on it, does it mean it is a valid bug and the committers agree, does it mean that they are ignoring me, or did they just miss it?

6:34 PM


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