Blog Open Source How the Eclipse Foundation champions open source with GitLab
Published on October 19, 2023
5 min read

How the Eclipse Foundation champions open source with GitLab

In this interview, learn how adopting GitLab helps the Eclipse Foundation be a more effective champion for open source.


The Eclipse Foundation is a pillar of the open source ecosystem. Home to more than 415 open source projects, the not-for-profit organization has been championing open source collaboration and innovation for more than two decades.

GitLab plays a significant role in the Eclipse Foundation's operations, and the organization recently joined the GitLab GitLab Open Source Partners community. To mark the occasion, I caught up with Denis Roy, IT director at the Eclipse Foundation, to chat about the organization's history, vision, and passion for open source development.

We're so excited to welcome the Eclipse Foundation to the GitLab Open Source Partners community. You've been champions of open source for quite some time. Tell us about your history and the mission that guides you today.

The Eclipse Foundation was born in 2004, as a not-for-profit, open source software foundation with the goal of driving the evolution of the Eclipse Platform and its ecosystem of tools, plugins, and addons in a vendor-neutral, open, and transparent community. Since then, the Eclipse Foundation has become one of the world's largest open source software foundations. The foundation offers a mature, scalable, and business-friendly environment for open source software collaboration and innovation, hosting more than 415 open source projects, including runtimes, tools, and frameworks for a wide range of technology domains such as the Internet of Things, automotive, geospatial, systems engineering, and many others.

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How does the Eclipse Foundation use GitLab? What has using GitLab helped you accomplish?

GitLab has allowed us to modernize our development platform, because it offers an integrated, cohesive environment to help maximize developer productivity while reducing the administrative overhead related to managing such a complex set of tools. With a single package to upgrade and maintain, and tight integration between code repositories, issue trackers, wikis, code review, and CI tools, it's easier for the Eclipse Foundation's IT team to stay up to date. This has allowed us to reduce our reliance on customized, in-house code.

When we began our work in 2004, open source code hosting options were rudimentary and limited. At the time, we created our own forge by using a handful of tools that were not designed with interoperability in mind, including CVS, Bugzilla, and MediaWiki. When it came time to refresh our offering, it was an easy decision to replace our home-grown forge with GitLab, since GitLab offers a seamless integration of all these developer tools, and many more, within a single, easy-to-use package. This creates a very useful environment for our developers and allows the project teams to be productive while offering a familiar interface for interacting and building their user communities.

At this time, the Eclipse Foundation's GitLab instance hosts more than 70 open source software projects and dozens of other projects that help us manage and support our community.

How big is the Eclipse Foundation's IT team? What have you seen the team achieve after the migration to GitLab?

The Foundation's IT team consists of a dozen people, split almost evenly between infrastructure, release engineering, security, and web development. Our migration to GitLab is still a work in progress, but it's allowing the Eclipse Foundation IT team to consolidate our code repositories, issues, and documentation onto a single platform with a modern and friendly UI. The same is also true for the Eclipse OSS projects that have, or are currently migrating from, "pure Git" to GitLab.

With GitLab, the team is seeing a notable decrease in both administrative overhead and user support, as using, managing, and maintaining GitLab on premise is straightforward and very robust. We're able to stay up-to-date with new GitLab releases easily, which scores extra points with our security team. We're able to use that freed time towards activities that benefit our community and provide extra value.

What's on the horizon for the Eclipse Foundation? What are your most important initiatives right now?

One of the big initiatives we’re working on right now is improving the security of our open source projects. We’ve made a significant investment in security over the past year, including auditing some of our top projects for security concerns and we are looking to establish a working group to help us gain the resources we need to enhance our security processes across all of our operations.

We're also focused on growing the Eclipse Software Defined Vehicle community, which continues to gain momentum with new members like General Motors, Qualcomm, and Microsoft. The automotive industry is becoming increasingly willing to collaborate on open source software, and experience the technological and business benefits of doing so.

How can GitLab community members get more involved in the Eclipse Foundation's work?

It's easy! Browse the list of Eclipse Projects and discover the Developer Resources section. Or browse the list of projects on Eclipse's GitLab instance and send in those those merge requests!

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