The Reality of an Associate Model – Comparing Partner Activity in the Eclipse Ecosystem

This post consist of the main findings of the paper; ‘The reality of an associate model – comparing partner activity in the Eclipse Ecosystem’ by Aarnoutse, Renes and Snijders (2014). We have researched the partnership model of Eclipse and the activity of the different types of partners. This is done on platform as well as Ecosystem level.

Eclipse is an open source community in which individuals and organizations can collaborate. The projects of Eclipse “are focused on building an open development platform comprised of extensible frameworks, tools and runtimes for building, deploying and managing software across the lifecycle”.

We identified that Eclipse has 205 formal partners, of which 6 are sponsors and 202 are members of Eclipse. Google, IBM and Oracle are sponsor as well as member of Eclipse. For the exact distribution see the table below.

These partners do have differences in how they contribute to the Eclipse platform and Ecosystem. We have analyzed several items that represent activity. For example, the average amount of projects a partner contributes to, average amount of active committers of a company, the average amounts of commits and average amount of commits per committer. In the table below, there is a part of this comparison of activity between the members of Eclipse in the platform and in the Ecosystem.


The pie charts below show the total amount of commits and committers for the Eclipse platform as well as the ecosystem. Based on the availability of the data, we give an overview of the distribution of the different membership types as well as the people who code for the Eclipse Foundation of the platform. In addition, for the ecosystem we show the distribution of the membership types accompanied by the people who did code for a company which isn’t member of Eclipse.

Eclipse Distribution

Based on this research we conclude that a higher level of membership is related to more activity. The strategic and associate members both significantly relate to a higher amount of activity, while this is not the case with the solution members. Companies without a membership are more active than the associate members, which suggests that Eclipse should improve their partnership model by motivating associate members and incorporating active non-member companies.

If you are interested in reading more of the analysis, additional conclusions or implications of our research, please contact one of the authors; {f.Aarnoutse, C.Renes, R.Snijders, S.Jansen}