back to article Total Eclipse to depart: Open-source software foundation is hopping the pond to Europe

The Eclipse Foundation today unveiled plans to make itself a little more European with a jump into Brussels. The outfit already has a European office, in the form of the wholly owned subsidiary in Germany, Eclipse Foundation Europe GmBH. Today's move is a little more major (although won't involve moving bottoms from Ottawa …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Techxodus

    Following RISC-V Foundation's move to Switzerland

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/11/26/riscv_foundation_switzerland/

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Len Silver badge
    Go

    Tip of the iceberg

    I have noticed with a couple of open source projects that, when you look closer, a lot more of the development is actually done in Europe than it appears at first.

    Many stewardship organisations, foundations etc. are in the US, behind a US legal entity and a .com or .org using American spelling, their moronic date notation and accepting donations in US Dollars but when you look at actual commits to the codebase (stored on git servers in the US) or the activity on the mailing list you'll notice that much (or most) of the activity is actually in Europe.

    I recently realised this with the OpenWRT project where some journalist based in California had used one of those "the maintainers didn't immediately respond to request for comments" lines and then had to be told that most of the developers are actually based in Europe and so he had emailed them in the middle of the night. On paper it's legally represented by the Software in the Public Interest (SPI) - a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation but in practice it's more European than American.

    The Document Foundation, the stewards behind LibreOffice, takes donations in US dollars by default and uses American spelling on its web site but are actually a German “stiftung” based in Berlin. Probably not that strange since it emerged out of OpenOffice which emerged out of StarOffice, which was a German product.

    The organisation behind FreeBSD, the FreeBSD Foundation, is an American 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation based in the US. Not that surprising given it emerged out of American universities. Looking at code commits, or the FreeBSD forums, however, shows that actually a lot of the contribution comes from Europe.

    I have a feeling that Europe's willingness to open source (and more importantly, open standards) compared to the US says something about the two cultures' different approaches to business and supply chains. Here in the UK we have a long history of open standardisation, long before computers took off (though we're not that good at global standards, we like them invented here or we ignore them). The US is more a 'winner takes all approach' to capitalism (see how long it took to be able to have mobile phone handsets work across all telcos, that was the result of a deliberate policy choice to allow competing standards instead of competing companies) whereas Europe has more of a 'many smaller businesses approach' that are part of each other's supply chain. In Europe we also tend to be more strict on open competition, open tendering and anti-trust than the US. If you look at which governments required the use of open document standards then European governments are ahead of any other continent.

    Perhaps Europe is the most logical place for open source and open standards stewardship organisations.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Tip of the iceberg

      >"see how long it took to be able to have mobile phone handsets work across all telcos, that was the result of a deliberate policy choice to allow competing standards instead of competing companies"

      I thought the US only achieved this by adopting 3G - the output of 3GPP; an organisation born out of European co-operation on GSM...

      Mind you Qualcomm did try their best to scupper 3G by its questionable patent claims...

      1. Len Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Tip of the iceberg

        Yes, using GSM is how the US managed it in the end, although that's not that relevant.

        What Europe did is deciding on an EU level that there should be only one standard and that handset manufacturers, infrastructure manufacturers and telcos should compete using that standard (GSM). It created a broad ecosystem, economies of scale, lots of competition plus it allowed consumers enormous amounts of flexibility.

        In contrast, the US decided to allow competition between standards to see which one would win. There is of course something to be said for that (who knows, GSM could have turned out to be inferior to other potential standards) but there are two issues with it. Especially in these in-transparent complex systems, consumers are not always incentivised (or even able) to choose the standard that is superior. Secondly it creates a major risk of vendor lock-in. Policy makers in the US don't mind vendor lock-ins that much (as it benefits one company massively, "winner takes all") but here in Europe we tend to dislike it as it's not good for the consumer.

        The US could have taken the European approach and decided that one standard would be selected that would become the playing field. That one standard could have been GSM or could have been something else but which standard it would have been would be less relevant. It's the way you create the market that makes the difference.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Tip of the iceberg

          >It's the way you create the market that makes the difference.

          That is a lesson a UK, on route to exiting the Single (European) Market, is going to have to learn fast...

  3. codejunky Silver badge

    Why?

    "Brexiteers will be disappointed to learn that Blighty's contortions had not figured in the decision to redomicile to the heart of the EU"

    Go on Richard give us a clue. I use their IDE and have for a long time and probably will do until they cock it up and I find something better. Where they are domiciled makes no odds to me as long as they can continue to provide good products. You might notice that they get contributions from the US and Europe (which is not only the EU) and the rest of the world.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      Its a good idea to move any sensitive development out of the US. We're currently in full-blown Cold War mode so it can get very dangerous doing any kind of international collaboration -- the stuff we've got used to taking for granted -- if there's any Federal money involved in any of your work.

      We had another academic arrested yesterday, accused of 'wire fraud' by the FBI for failing to disclose work done for/with the Chinese when applying for a NASA contract.is fast becoming a technolgical backwater or you run the risk of prosecution for vaguely defined crimes. Since an increasing amount of our sort of work is done with/for/in collaboration with Chinese people -- either in China or domiciled/citizens of the US, it doesn't matter -- doing any advanced work here is becoming dangerous.

    2. Old Tom

      Re: Why?

      The copy included the words 'Europe' and 'Brussels'. Some obsessives - mostly those that still don't get it - think that you have to mention Brexit whenever these words are used; many think that Brexiteers don't like Europe or Brussels (not realising that the UK is still in Europe).

  4. IGotOut Silver badge

    A logical conclusion...

    ...with the US sanctions against China and others as well as aggressive,no hostile, immigration and visa controls, software (and hardware) companies could look at this as a way of getting around these issues. Into good having a multinational "team" if half of them are blocked from working on a project because of where they happen to live.

    Hopefully software companies will also realise that En-US shouldn't be the default English language version.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: A logical conclusion...

      "Hopefully software companies will also realise that En-US shouldn't be the default English language version.

      I recently downloaded and built the Win 10 USB installer tool. It built the image on an En-UK system. On running the installer, it defaulted to a UK keyboard since it had obviously worked that out from the host system, but I still had to switch the installer language choice from En_US to En_UK.

      Of course, the other default needing to be changed is paper size. The vast majority of the world default to DIN A4, not US Letter so more people have to change that setting than not.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: A logical conclusion...

      >blocked from working on a project because of where they happen to live.

      Its worse than that. The Administration has just announced new controls on the export of semiconductors to Huawei from companies that use any technolgoy that originated in the US. So, for example, TSMC is blocked because it uses machinery or materials from companies like Applied Materials.

      This kind of extra-territorial jurisdiction isn't new, I first experienced it in the early 1980s with controls on the export of semiconductors needing a US license even thought they were made in the UK and Japan. The UK government mad no attempt at drawing boundaries -- they even allowed a FBI raid on a company accused of moving a computer from one office to another within the UK without a new US export license -- so I'd guess that those of us cursed with long memories would avoid relocating actvities to the UK rather than Europe simply because the governemnt cannot be relied on tol look out for UK citizens or their interests in any dispute with the US.

  5. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Foundations

    > and Europeans want to have at least one open-source foundation that is distinctly European.

    Thanks and welcome, but we already have at least one, the Document Foundation (https://www.documentfoundation.org/), the home of LibreOffice.

    It is a charitable Foundation under German law: Gemeinnützige rechtsfähige Stiftung des bürgerlichen Rechts, so there!

  6. HildyJ Silver badge
    Go

    A long time coming

    I, for one, can't think of any good reason why all open source groups haven't fled the US over the past few years.

    My only parochial concern is that US English is retained as an official language option.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: A long time coming

      We-ell, having it as an option is not per se an issue. Having it as the default is. (See posts further up the page... also concerning the paper format - though those f'in' Krauts[*] can put their decimal comma "Wo die Sonne nicht scheint" (no, not the place close to Zugspitze). It is a mess for data transfer, especially when brain-dead lab software defaults to a csv for export, refuses to change the delimiter (it's "comma separated values", I get that - Microsoft don't, look at Excel...) and gets the decimal from the locale of the control software - I'm looking at you, Tectronics! Messes up your data files big time.

      [*] yup, I know what I'm talking about.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: A long time coming

        > It is a mess for data transfer,

        A few years back, I needed to make a Perl script to report test coverage data in a format that Excel can read. As it happens, some users had Finnish-localized Windowses (we use the comma like the Germans), some not. So CSV output caused some problems. I solved them by making the script output SYLK. This is an old text-based data interchange format (think RTF for spreadsheets), and is still supported by Excel and others. More complex than CSV, but not hard to generate from Perl, if all you have to do is to make a table with labels. And it is immune to the comma issue.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: A long time coming

          Adding a header line with "sep=<delimiter>" is even easier in some cases (exporting CSVs from AS/400).

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: A long time coming

        All of Europe uses the decimal comma, and lots of other countries too, it's only the British who are the odd exception and the poor Americans who came to adopt it too. It's very much like with the metric system.

        English-speaking countries took the comma to separate sequences of three digits.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_separator

        PS. was that really that difficult to grasp.

    2. Gwaptiva

      Re: A long time coming

      Well, they have Traditional ans Simplified Chinese, so seems small trouble to do the same for English

    3. Len Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: A long time coming

      I'm not massively bothered by US English, though I find it difficult to write myself, and even the difference in decimal delimiters between various countries doesn't bother me that much (as it's often easily deducted from the context). When a file states 10.000,00 I know what it means.

      The one thing that massively gets my goat is their absolutely insane date system. DD-MM-YYYY puts the most accurate element first, there is a lot to be said for YYYY-MM-DD where you increase the accuracy as you go through the digits but what fresh hell is MM-DD-YYYY!? Why not YYYY-DD-MM or DD-YYYY-MM while you're at it?

      The problem is that you often can't deduct from context whether 4/6/2018 is in July or April. "This key expires on 2/8/2020", does that mean it has already expired or do I have time to renew it when it's more convenient?

      To add insult to injury, a lot of American software (desktop and online) doesn’t allow you to change it or some times allows you to change the date notation into something else but then DD-MM-YYYY, the world’s most used date format, is not an option. They practically force you to use a system that only one country in the world uses.

      Don’t get me started on not allowing a normal 24h clock in situations where being 12 hours off is disastrous.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: A long time coming

        > whether 4/6/2018 is in July or April

        Or even June...

        1. TimMaher Bronze badge

          Re: A long time coming

          It’s nothing to do with June.

          She doesn’t even understand i18n or L10n.

      2. onemark03

        Re: A long time coming

        @ Len:

        Couldn't agree with you more.

        However, what puzzles me is that many newspapers that normally use British English also use the "month-day-year" date format.

        Anyone know why? Is it for historical reasons? It's a mystery to me.

        In this connection I'd also be interested in your views on the not-too-common "year-month-day" format.

        And I couldn't agree with you more on use of the 24-hour clock. It's a hell of a lot more sensible, especially where people forget to use "a.m." or "p.m.".

        1. Microchip

          Re: A long time coming

          Pretty sure I read somewhere that it evolved from the notation of writing e.g. May 3rd, 2020, which evolved into the numerical form of 05/03/2020.

          Unfortunately, it lost the obviousness of order that went with the text, and the dates evolved independently over this side of the pond.

          (Personally, I like my dates little endian.)

          1. T. F. M. Reader

            Re: A long time coming

            Actually, I believe the MM/DD/YYYY date format stems from the pre-computinghistoric practice related to manual filing of business documents (invoices, receipts, orders, etc.) in filing cabinet drawers labeled by month, Inside a "January" drawer they were sorted by date, and last year's were moved to a storage room or wherever, so all you really dealt with was MM/DD.

            Carrying it to the computer world is pure insanity, of course. ;-)

            Personally, I tend to use YYYYMMDD more often than anything else, because it is so damn easy to sort.

        2. Len Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: A long time coming

          Regarding the British newspapers and their date notation, I've read the history behind that once but unfortunately forgotten most about it. You mean when spelling out a full date like January 10 2020, right? I am not aware of any British newspapers writing 01/10/2020 when they mean the 10th of January 2020 but the former does occur. I believe the Guardian used to write it that way since it was founded in the early 19th century and didn't change it until last century. I believe, like so many things in the UK, the Brits and the Americans diverged over time and writing it like January 10 2020 has become less common in the UK.

          If you mean British media that would put a date like 01/10/2020 when they mean the 10th of January 2020 then I have only seen those things online. That is either the result of stupid Content Management Systems or just sloppiness. I remember that in Wordpress you couldn't even choose DD-MM-YYYY, they considered that a 'custom format'. Hopefully that stupidity is fixed.

          You can also see very odd things happen with media spanning both the US and Europe. If you go to Politico.eu for instance then you see the work of European journalists based in Europe writing articles about things happening in Europe but they use the MM-DD-YYYY format. Probably because they share their systems with the Americans of Politico.com.

          As for YYYY-MM-DD, apparently that is not uncommon in Asia. The most common place you'll probably find it, though, is under the hood in all sorts of software as its unambiguous, allows for easy sorting and all sorts of other things that computers tend to like.

          1. KBeee

            Re: A long time coming

            There is an international standard for date notation. YYYY-MM-DD is the ISO 8601 standard notation.

      3. Someone Else Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: A long time coming

        I'm not massively bothered by US English, though I find it difficult to write myself [...]

        Not sure why that is...fewer useless letters in many words.

        Mine has the pocket copy of Merriam-Websters' in it....

        1. Len Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: A long time coming

          Do you spell it advertising or advertizing? Why?

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: A long time coming

            Advertising. I guess it's spelled advertise rather than advertize because it doesn't come from the Greek -izo ending (-ιζω), but from old French advertiss. But IANAL (I am not a linguist).

        2. KBeee
          Joke

          Re: A long time coming

          However, where there IS extra letter(s) in a word, people that are used to simplified spelling seem to lose the ability to pronounce the word. Listen to the hash you get when some people try to say "bouy". It seems to have become "boo ee" now. I always want to ask them if their "boo ee ancy" tanks are ok, or if their economy is "boo ee ant". Don't get me started on Loughborough...

          1. Len Silver badge
            Angel

            Re: A long time coming

            The suggestion that English has a correlation between how words are spelled and how they are pronounced is fanciful.

          2. Norman Nescio

            Re: A long time coming

            However, where there IS extra letter(s) in a word, people that are used to simplified spelling seem to lose the ability to pronounce the word. Listen to the hash you get when some people try to say "bouy". It seems to have become "boo ee" now. I always want to ask them if their "boo ee ancy" tanks are ok, or if their economy is "boo ee ant". Don't get me started on Loughborough...

            Oh buoy, oh buoy, oh buoy.

            I thought for a minute you were complaining about the French telecoms provider Bouygues Telecom. If you know how to pronounce it, it can be fun asking people to try and work it out themselves.

      4. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: A long time coming

        The one thing that massively gets my goat is their absolutely insane date system. DD-MM-YYYY puts the most accurate element first, there is a lot to be said for YYYY-MM-DD where you increase the accuracy as you go through the digits but what fresh hell is MM-DD-YYYY!? Why not YYYY-DD-MM or DD-YYYY-MM while you're at it?

        Good point, although dd MMM yy{yy} (e.g. 12 May 2020) is rather locale agnostic.

        1. julian.smith

          Re: A long time coming

          I use dd MMM yyyy as it is unambiguous

          However, as pointed out, it's not suited to sorting - perhaps

          dd MMM yyyy for text

          and

          YYYY MM DD for sorting, for example in file names

      5. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: A long time coming

        Don’t get me started on not allowing a normal 24h clock

        Our printer has a clock on the panel display. It can be set to 12h or 24h.

        In 12h, ten past two in the afternoon displays as 2:10pm

        In 24h, ten past two in the afternoon displays as 02:10pm

        Wut?

        M.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: A long time coming

          Bork!Bork!Bork!

  7. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Joke

    COMMUNISM!

    This is all happening because of the SOCIALIST INFLUENCE on OPEN SOURCE PROJECTS! OF COURSE the Eclipse Foundation would want to move to Brussels because THEY'RE ALL A BUNCH OF NAZIS (yes, that's the same thing as Communism: IT'S IN THE NAME). Red-blooded Americans will continue to PLEDGE THEIR FEALTY to gigantic corporations such as Microsoft and Google (but not AMAZON because Bezos is A COMMIE LIKE TRUMP SAYS). IT'S THE AMERICAN WAY!

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: COMMUNISM!

      (That you. bob?)

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: COMMUNISM!

        Shit, you've found my alt.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: COMMUNISM!

          As many folks have tried to tell you, bob...uhh, Throatwarbler, you need an easier hand on the CAPS LOCK key....

  8. IGnatius T Foobar ! Bronze badge

    Bye bye

    As an American, I am happy to see any project escape the clutches of communist socialist Silicon Valley.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      "communist socialist Silicon Valley"

      The same "communist socialist" valley that has incredible wealth inequality and nothing in the way of a social safety net?

      wtf_am_i_reading.jpg

      C.

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: "communist socialist Silicon Valley"

        Presumably satire, albeit not as nuanced and subtle as mine, obviously.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Bye bye

      Luckily more and more Americans have started to understand the difference between social security and socialist security, between a social person and a socialist person and between social behaviour and socialist behaviour.

      1. Len Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Bye bye

        I wish more Americans started to understand the difference between Social Democracy, Socialism and Communism.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Bye bye

          Yes indeed.

          "advocating economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and a capitalist-oriented mixed economy"

          Some Americans have been fooled to believe the capitalism is missing. This is partly due to the two party system where everything is either or, if capitalism is part of the right then it must be absent in the left.

          The English aren't much better babbling about Venezuela during each election like the pink twat in the WH.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ftpc4fwcDfk

          Trump’s Best Words

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Bye bye

          @Len

          "I wish more Americans started to understand the difference between Social Democracy, Socialism and Communism."

          Under the assumption that they dont who says they would want it anyway. From the UK we might wonder why California is considered too far left but from America its probably fairly easy to see. The interesting commentary of the place being that those who work and earn are leaving while the 'something for nothings' are rolling in due to the tax rates and more socialist approaches (government intervention and increased welfare state).

          Social democracy is on the left in the UK but to Americans our conservatives are far left (even before they moved centre left after Corbyn abandoned the spot). So even if the assumption that they dont know the difference is right, they would still likely reject it as it doesnt seem to appeal.

    3. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Bye bye

      Bunch of Libertarians up there.

      California has never been particularly left leaning (read up on its hisory.....). Its been firmly in the Democratic camp for the last decade or so because successive Republicans made such a mess of the budget and the like that nobody in their right minds would give them control over anything more complex than a partking lot.

  9. Alex Vincent

    Is this a "turn around"? A total eclipse to depart...

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Happy

      Well, the article says ".....in the decision to redomicile to the heart of the EU."

      So, I was going to go with "a total eclipse to the heart"!

  10. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Feels like old news

    Oh, that was Eclipse Europa. Nevermind.

  11. Maelstorm
    Coat

    Goodbye and good riddance

    Hey Eclipse,

    Goodbye and good riddance. Your crappy software will not be missed here in the U.S. (at least by me).

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Goodbye and good riddance

      Do you think that you only use good 'ole USA software?

      1. Maelstorm

        Re: Goodbye and good riddance

        Absolutely not. Good software is good software no matter where it's written. I just don't like Eclipse software.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Goodbye and good riddance

          OK, fair enough. I misunderstood the context of your post.

  12. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Pint

    Belgian Beer!

    That is probably what cinched it

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