Open Source Ecosystem

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Peer Production, in particular Open Source Software production, is often a combination of an open Commons and an ecology of business making use of it.

Example 1: Carrier Grade Linux

This is a description of the ecosystem around Carrier Grade Linux and has a typology that can be used more generally to describe different corporate roles in the ecosystem:

Tammy Juan: [1]

"According to previous research, companies in an ecosystem can take on one of three roles: keystone, dominator, or niche player.

Keystones are companies that actively improve the overall health of the ecosystem while maintaining a low physical presence. Keystones adopt strategies that create platforms and share the value with other players.

Dominators are companies that have physical presence and control a large part of their networks. Dominators take most of the value for themselves and leave little for other companies in the ecosystem.

Niche players are companies that specialize in capabilities differentiating themselves from others in the ecosystem. Niche players collectively create much of the value in a niche and capture the value they create." (

Example 2: Eclipse ecosystem

Donald Smith et al. [2]:

"This article describes some of the lessons learned over the past five years of growth of the Eclipse ecosystem. But first, it is important to understand the distinction between the Eclipse technology and the Eclipse Foundation.

Eclipse is an open source community, whose projects are focused on building an open development platform comprised of extensible frameworks, tools and runtimes for building, deploying and managing software across the lifecycle. There are over seventy projects hosted at Eclipse that are focused on building the Eclipse technology.

The Eclipse Foundation is a not-for-profit, member supported corporation that hosts the Eclipse projects and helps cultivate both an open source community and an ecosystem of complementary products and services.

A Brief History

2001: IBM creates and Eclipse 1.0 ships as a Java IDE. At the time, the community was primarily made up of IBM and its partners. We believe the early decision to run Eclipse as the marriage of an open source project community and an industry consortium has been a major source of our community's enduring strength and growth.

2002, 2003: Eclipse 2.0 and 2.1 ship and Eclipse begins to really come into its own as a tools integration platform. The consortium around Eclipse starts to grow quickly and begins to show life as a real industry force. Organizations begin to trust the quality and predictability of Eclipse technology releases enough to make significant product bets and investments on the platform.

2004: Eclipse 3.0 ships, and the Eclipse Foundation is formed. This new version is a watershed because it migrates the plug-in model to an open standard (OSGi) implementation and includes an open Rich Client Platform (RCP). Eclipse starts to broaden support from a tools integration platform to an application integration platform for the desktop. It is interesting to note that RCP largely came into being because of community interest. Enough people were ripping the IDE bits out of Eclipse 2.1 to build desktop applications on top that it became obvious that doing it once and doing it well was the obvious choice.

Vendor Neutral Governance Model

The Eclipse Project was originally created by IBM in November 2001 and supported by a consortium of software vendors. The Eclipse Foundation was created in January 2004 as an independent not-for-profit corporation to act as the steward of the Eclipse community. The independent not-for-profit corporation was created to allow a vendor neutral and open, transparent community to be established around Eclipse.

The Eclipse Foundation was successful in promoting its independence in 2004, leading to the rapid expansion in strategic membership in 2005. Establishing Eclipse as an independent entity took some time and effort.

The tipping point was EclipseCon 2005 when BEA, Borland, CA, Sybase and Wind River all joined the board of directors as strategic developer members.


The health and vitality of the Eclipse open source projects is absolutely key. Although Eclipse is in many ways a trade association or consortium, the open source projects are the source of value creation in the Eclipse ecosystem. The perfect scenario is where we see a virtuous cycle of growth and investment between the projects and the commercial ecosystem. As companies capture value by creating products based on the Eclipse platform, they find opportunities where it is in their commercial interest to contribute back to the Eclipse technology. We've certainly seen a large growth in the number of organizations contributing code, projects and committers at Eclipse.

Growing the ecosystem was and is an important goal. Our membership has grown to over 160 companies. Growth in membership is an indicator of the health of the overall ecosystem. But probably even more important is the huge number of products now built on top of Eclipse, with more coming all the time. No single organization can control the destiny of the Eclipse Ecosystem as a whole.

Common Technical Architecture

Europa is the current deliverable along the vision of Eclipse becoming the open development platform. It is about Eclipse continuing on the community-led evolution that it has been on for the past several years. Europa's importance is, in many ways, linked to the emergence of Eclipse as an application integration platform which spans servers and devices. It's not just the client any longer.

This is not a small thing. Eclipse is one of the very few organizations which is attempting to develop a standards-based development platform of tools, runtimes and frameworks which span devices, clients and servers. All of which is based on a single component architecture and programming model.

And once again, it is the community that is driving the evolution. Just as a few years ago when people noticed they could create their own desktop applications and drove the creation of RCP, developers are now noticing the opportunities in running the Eclipse plug in model, on or under a server.

So today Eclipse is not just about tools or even Java. What our community is building is something which is much more ambitious and interesting. And with new projects including persistence layers,service-oriented runtimes and Rich Internet Platforms starting up, the future looks even more interesting." (