Ever since its creation, Eclipse has been a home for official open source projects that operate under its guidelines. Eclipse is now expanding beyond the confines of its own project structure with its new Eclipse Labs effort, which enables anyone to create their own open source Eclipse ecosystem project.
Participation in Eclipse Labs does not mean that an open source project is an official Eclipse project. Instead, Labs is a place for smaller efforts that could potentially grow to become official projects in the future. The new effort could help to grow the Eclipse ecosystem, which is already home to Java development, tooling and runtime projects. In 2009, over 33 Eclipse projects had releases as part of the Foundation annual "release train" cycle.
Eclipse Labs leverages the Google Code open source project hosting infrastructure as its base, though Skerrett declined to discuss specifics of the relationship. Google Code recently celebrated its five-year anniversary and already has more than 240,000 registered projects.
"Google is making this as a service for the open source Eclipse community," Skerrett said. "They are a great supporter of Eclipse and open source in general and will are very thankful for their support."
As for the Eclipse Foundation, Skerrett noted that it will be focusing on making Eclipse Labs projects visible to the Eclipse community, with the overall goal of Eclipse Labs being to make it easier to open source interesting Eclipse-related technology. In his view, the more technology available that is built with and for Eclipse, the more the entire community benefits.
In terms of growing the Eclipse Labs effort, the first step according to Skerrett is just making sure that people are aware that Eclipse Labs exists.
"We hope to see lots of new and existing projects migrate to Eclipse Labs," Skerrett said. "I would expect over time we will see more projects hosted on Eclipse Labs than at the Foundation."