Eclipse is a free, Java-based development platform known for its plug-ins that allow developers to develop and test code written in other programming languages. Eclipse is released under the terms of the Eclipse Public License.
Eclipse got its start in 2001 when IBM donated three million lines of code from its Java tools to develop an open source integrated development environment (IDE). The IDE was initially overseen by a consortium of software vendors seeking to create and foster a new community that would complement Apache’s open source community. Rumor has it that the platform’s name was derived from a secondary goal, which was to eclipse Microsoft’s popular IDE, Visual Studio.
Today, Eclipse is managed by the Eclipse Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation whose strategic members include CA Technologies, IBM, Oracle and SAP. The foundation, which was created in 2004, supports Eclipse projects with a well-defined development process that values quality, application programming interface (API) stability and consistent release schedules. The foundation provides infrastructure and intellectual property (IP) management services to the Eclipse community and helps community members market and promote commercial software products that are based on Eclipse.
In 2016, Microsoft announced it would join the Eclipse Foundation and support the integration of Visual Studio by giving Eclipse developers full access to Visual Studio Team services. Oracle donated the Hudson continuous integration server it inherited from Sun Microsystems to Eclipse in 2011 and is expected to donate the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) to Eclipse in the near future.