Eclipse names Canadian as executive director

The Eclipse foundation has named an Ottawa-based former Oracle Corp. executive to be the first executive director of the open source group, effective Tuesday.

Mike Milinkovich, who worked as vice-president of Oracle’s application server technical services for the past two years, recently stepped down from his position at Oracle to lead the Eclipse foundation forward.

Milinkovich said he would not uproot from Canadian soil but would stay put in Ottawa and travel as necessary for his new job.

“This is such an interesting challenge, I just could not say no,” Milinkovich said.

He said his career has grown around walking a line between business and technology, and this opportunity allows him to continue forward in both areas. He has held positions not only at Oracle but also at WebGain, The Object People and Object Technology International Inc.

“I see this as a huge technology opportunity where Eclipse is so widely used and there is so much industry interest in it that I am fascinated by the technology challenge,” he said. “[It’s] also an interesting business challenge as well because this is an open source project that is also trying to actively grow a vibrant commercial ecosystem…and building a group of like-minded companies that is commited to seeing it grow.”

Written in the Java language, IBM Corp. started Eclipse as a consortium in 2001 with a donation of code. The software acts as a plug-in based framework that integrates, creates and utilizes software tools and provides developers with a multi-language, multi-platform, multi-vendor environment.

Over the past few years, especially within the Java community, the Eclipse project has been gaining recognition.

Earlier this year, Eclipse announced that it was reorganizing into a not-for-profit entity and would become an independent organization. At the time, Skip McGaughey, the IBM employee who was then the executive director of the consortium, said he would step down until the new board hired a new executive director.

The job is full-time and will oversee the day-to-day operations of the foundation and a few paid staff members. Milinkovich said he looks at the job as being the CEO of a start-up company.

Topping Milinkovich’s priority list is building the membership of the Eclipse Foundation and expanding the membership, and to have more resources to promote and market Eclipse more broadly.

“I think there are a lot of people out there who may have heard of Eclipse but don’t fully understand what benefits it could be bringing to their business,” he said. He added that he looks forward to launching Eclipse 3.0 early this summer and said he is also looking to establish a solid foundation for the new open WebTools project, which extends Eclipse to server-side Java.

“I see WebTools and J2EE as technology areas where I firmly believe that Eclipse needs to have tools for those technologies…it’s an area I definitely want to grow,” he said.

His fresh face at the foundation will also likely be a boon to the organization, he explained.

“Now that the foundation has been established and the executive director is in place, I do believe there will be companies coming forward who have been waiting in the wings for a while.”

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