Participation in the Eclipse ecosystem: What drives strategic members?

The phenomenon of software ecosystems (SECO) is relatively new and evolves rapidly in the field of software engineering. SECO is a co-innovation approach by developers, software organizations, and third parties that share common interest in the development of software technology.Consequently, such systems drive on strategic organizations that join as members. Leading software companies such as IBM, Google, Oracle and SAP are members in the Eclipse Ecosystem.

In the Eclipse Ecosystem strategic members are the highest type of membership organizations can opt for. This specific group of members potentially has the biggest impact on the health and direction of the Eclipse ecosystem. A relevant question that pops up is what companies move to participate in the Eclipse ecosystem. To our knowledge, studies are lacking with regard to this particular matter.

Therefore, the research aim of this paper was to identify the key drivers for strategic Eclipse members to participate in the open source Eclipse software ecosystems from a partner perspective. Specifically, the study investigated why strategic partners participate in the Eclipse Ecosystem, and what benefit(s) they obtain from a partnership with Eclipse. Following a literature review, a semi-structured interview was conducted among partners currently involved in the Eclipse ecosystem.

Membership benefit Type of membership benefit relates to
Eclipse is a technical platform and community All membership types
Eclipse functions as a marketing channel All membership types
Seat in board of directors and Requirements Council Strategic membership
Devoting developers to Eclipse is beneficial to the company Strategic membership
Close contact with management helps to improve business Strategic membership

Table 1. Derived Eclipse membership benefits

In accordance with the findings of this study we can conclude that strategic partners are driven to participate in the Eclipse Ecosystem by two essential drivers. The first driver relates to contributing to the Eclipse ecosystem in general, the second driver is more specific to the motivation for strategic membership. The first motivational driver is the state of the Eclipse ecosystem, the technical platform to support companies’ products, and a community as a marketing channel. The second motivator is influence; corporations choose to pay the annual fees for strategic membership mainly for the increase influence they gain when having a seat in the board of directors and Requirements Council.


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