Eclipse has always been one of my favorite open source code repositories, but it's about as exciting as my morning work-out.
It's a workmanlike project. Companies share code they then use to build their own proprietary projects. It's a professional group. Most everyone there has a job.
So Eclipse decided last year to do something about it, and that something is now online. It's called Eclipse Labs, but it's really a Google Code repository, open to all, which lets people organically create their own projects tied to the Eclipse code base, using either the Eclipse license or any other license supported by Google Code.
The resulting projects are not actual Eclipse projects, notes Eclipse executive director Mike Milinkovich (above).
If an Eclipse project wants to include an Eclipse Labs project they will need to go through the normal IP process. If a project wants any of these benefits they must become an Eclipse Foundation project. The details have been specified in the Eclipse Labs Guidelines.
Google itself has already migrated two projects to the new repository -- Workspace Mechanic for Eclipse and Project Hosting Connector for Mylyn. Both are aimed at easing the way forward for Eclipse developers and Eclipse-related developments.
What all this says to me is that there is such a thing as the "open source mainstream," consisting of public forges, easily understood terms, and a certain amount of outreach to freelance developers. It's good to see Eclipse inside that mainstream.
Maybe the next time we print a picture of Milinkovich it will be without a tie. (And maybe next time he lets me interview him I'll spell his name right.)