The Eclipse Foundation today announced that it has joined Sun's Java Community Process (JCP) organization. This will let Eclipse participate on expert groups to help chart the future of Java and Java related standards.
There are some who are going to view this story through the lens of the historically frosty relationship with Sun, and try to color this as somehow controversial. But I really don't see any basis for controversy here. Sun has always acknowledged that Eclipse is part of the larger Java ecosystem, and we've always used JCP specifications. It's simply time to recognize that.
Eclipse also joined the Object Management Group (OMG) and the Open Services Gateway initiative Alliance (OSGi), and is working towards joining ObjectWeb. The Foundation has also been participating in the OpenAjax Alliance (Milinkovich has been elected to its steering committee).
Simon Phipps, Chief Open Source Officer at Sun Microsystems, was quick to support the move, leaving this note on Mike's blog:
Welcome, Mike, I am delighted Eclipse has joined the JCP. Can we expect to see some JSRs?
After lengthy discussions within the Eclipse board, Milinkovich announced the intention to join JCP and the other organizations in a letter to members in September 2006. It has taken until now to work out all the details. One of the sticking points was that Eclipse is a very loose organization. It only has a few direct employees, with all coding and project responsibility resting with its member companies. So, for example, who would represent Eclipse on a JCP expert group? Mike alluded to this issue in his blog, saying:
Whether we have the resources available to actively participate [in these groups] will take some time to sort out. But if any committer is interested in representing Eclipse in an expert group, please let us know.
Does this move indicate a rapproachment between the two rival Java development platforms, Eclipse and NetBeans? This is unlikely, given Sun's investment in its own tools. However there is no reason that the two organizations can't work together to increase interoperability and avoid any discordance that would threaten the Java juggernaut.
Will Sun join Eclipse? The offer is always open, says Milinkovich. Anything is possible, but don't hold your breath.