Monthly Archives: July 2005

Re: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Mike Milinkovich posted an entry in his blog where he is answering Kirill Grouchnikov’s blog posting on who fixed what bugs in Eclipse 3.1.

Kirill is complaining that a lot bugs were fixed by IBM employees. IMHO such postings will never stop. But, what’s the point? Just because a company opened one of its great products and created an open source project around it doesn’t mean that they have to stop developing/supporting it.

It’s the same with OpenOffice, OpenSolaris, NetBeans, the Linux Kernel, Gnome, KDE and a lot other open source projects. All projects are supported by companies that recognized the value of these projects and are willing to provide full-time developers to improve them. Jonathan Schwartz gave a good explanation why Sun is doing this with OpenSolaris. Some companies do that with a big ballyhoo and some don’t. There are even some that hide their engagement beehind project email aliases. IBM does not. But, who cares? That’s all real open source development

The downside of a high company engagement in all those projects is that sometimes it’s hard for volunteers to gain commit rights on them because they can’t contribute full-time and their contribution might look tiny compared to the full-time committers. But you don’t always have to have commit rights. The committers and the community appreciate every single contribution, believe me. It doesn’t even have to be code. You should never give up. It’s the contribution that counts not the committer state. I’m sure you’ll find a lot projects with committers that haven’t contributed for years.

Join And Contribute

Today I found a mail from Bugzilla in my inbox. Bug 99099 got fixed. Strike!

The Eclipse Ecosystem needs and builds great communities. There are users, plug-in developers and committers and all can and are contributing to the Eclipse Ecosystem. Have you ever ask what you can contribute?

Well, there are several ways. For example, you can help other users and plug-in developers in the newsgroups, you can report problems you found in Bugzilla, you can discuss the project development with the committers and you can do a lot more.

I’d like to mention one way in this post, which is one of the things I love about Eclipse development and Open Source development in general: There is something that is broken or could be enhanced. You investigate it, you fix it, you submit the patch and it got applied.

It doesn’t have to be a big feature. Sometimes it’s better to start with something small. That’s what I love.

Update: In response to this post, Philippe Ombredanne has posted a nice article on, which shows how to discover bugs, find lines in the source code and prepare a patch. Thank you Philippe!