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Open source support gives older software a fighting chance

The Eclipse Foundation's Wayne Beaton discusses open source support for established software.

It would be difficult to find someone who could provide more insight into what is happening in the world of the Eclipse IDE than Wayne Beaton, the director of open source projects at The Eclipse Foundation. So what is new with Eclipse, beyond the obvious excitement surrounding the latest Eclipse Kepler release and the recently announced support for Java 8?

Being pushed into open source gives these companies a fighting chance.

"The influx of projects we've had in the Internet of things [IoT] space has been overwhelming," said Beaton, not afraid to bring up the wildly overused IoT term. But, according to Beaton, the energy and enthusiasm surrounding IoT is palpable. With so many new projects being either started or abandoned, trying to keep track is akin to watching a tennis match. "There is a lot of volatility," said Beaton.

Volatility in the open source space

And in stark contrast to the volatility the Internet of Things has generated is the interesting move that is seeing many large organizations bringing established pieces of proprietary software to the open source community. Everyone knows the danger of purchasing a great piece of software only to find out the developers were bought out by a Silicon Valley behemoth that has no interest in ongoing application support. "Companies can get sold or decide to divest their interests in proprietary tools, leaving established organizations in the lurch," Beaton said.

So how can companies assure their clients who are reliant on such software that the rug won't get pulled out from under them? According to Beaton, big organizations are realizing that the smart approach is to go the open source route. "Being pushed into open source gives these companies a fighting chance to find people to support the tools chains they depend upon."

But you don't have to be donating a big software project to make a difference in the open source community. Contributing code, submitting detailed bug reports and submitting patches are great ways for individual developers to give back to the community as far as open source support goes. It's never a bad time to get involved. The first step? Watch this video with Wayne Beaton on open source support. To learn more, head over to eclipse.org and find out more.

How are you contributing to the open source movement? Let us know.

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