Eclipse Foundation opens up to social coding
In an admission that the role of a modern open source foundation has changed, the Eclipse Foundation has said it will start allowing projects to host their core development on third-party forges such as GitHub. The reasons behind this change are outlined in a blog post by Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation.
The rise of social coding on platforms like GitHub, enabled by the distributed nature of source code control systems such as Git, has meant that one of the traditional primary roles of large foundations – to act as the reference repository for the source code of a project – has become less valuable. At times it has acted as an obstacle for mature projects looking to come under the wing of a foundation because it has often required the project to switch source code control systems and lose valuable history. For Eclipse, the adoption of the Vert.X project brought those issues to the fore.
Vert.x, an asynchronous, event-driven web framework for Java, had been on GitHub since its inception and the prospect of migrating that brought about "a bit of an epiphany". Eclipse Git projects had been mirrored on GitHub in the past, but by flipping that mirror so GitHub projects could be mirrored in Eclipse's Git repository, the migration would be almost trivial. The Eclipse development and IP processes would still be maintained and the Foundation would still require that pull request authors had signed the new Eclipse Foundation Contributor License Agreement, a check which remains a manual process for now.
"Complementing the great developer infrastructure at GitHub with the governance and meritocratic processes that an open source foundation like Eclipse brings to the table will be the best of both worlds for some projects," says Milinkovich. The use of GitHub will start small with the Vert.X project and then expand to any projects that wish to make use of the facility. The Foundation is also looking at possible support for BitBucket too; service support requires the use of Git and the existence of appropriate APIs for administering committer lists. For more details of the future plans, an FAQ has been set up for Eclipse project leaders and members.