Eclipse in Europe: A Momentous Move for Open Source
The Eclipse Foundation, one of the world’s largest open source foundations, recently announced that it is transitioning to Europe and will setup its new headquarters in Brussels, the base of the European Union.
As a Strategic Member of the Eclipse Foundation, we at Huawei fully support this move both for the benefit of Europe as well as for that of global open source. And, as a director on the Eclipse Foundation Board, I would like to share some more details about the significance of this announcement.
Open Source & Open, European-based Governance
As I previously explained when Huawei announced that we were becoming a Strategic Member of the Eclipse Foundation, Huawei is a strong proponent of open source combined with open governance as an ideal way to develop shared technologies. So, just as we are a Strategic Member at the Eclipse Foundation, we are also participants at the highest membership and contribution levels across the world’s leading open source organizations, including the Linux Foundation, OpenStack Foundation, Apache Foundation, and many more.
The Eclipse Foundation already has a strong record for providing a globally-regarded governance for over 375 important open source projects with more than 240 million lines of code.
And, open source is already perhaps the most widely trusted and accepted way to create and share technologies around the world.
So, what difference does it make for the Eclipse Foundation to become based in Brussels? What are the benefits of Open, European-Based Governance? There are several important advantages: European Policies, European Participation, and European Projects.
Of all the regions in the world, the EU has arguably taken the lead in implementing digital policies and regulations to protect key values such as privacy and ethics. Technology—including open source technology—is neutral and can be used for a wide variety of purposes. But, that also means that technology is open to abuse.
Now, as open source technologies advance critical areas such as AI, cloud computing, and decentralized ledgers, the combination of Eclipse’s strong open source governance with Europe’s strong digital governance will lead to open technologies that are more easily adopted in Europe and also much of the rest of the world. Through the Eclipse Foundation, the transparency of open source can combine with the trustworthiness of European policies.
The Eclipse Foundation moving to Europe enables increased European participation in open source. There are many European organizations that, for a variety of reasons, have difficulty or are unable to join non-European-based institutions. For example, certain EU or European-national organizations have this limitation.
To date, none of the major, global open source foundations have been based in Europe, precluding the participation of a number of these European organizations. By moving to Europe, the Eclipse Foundation enhances the ability for Europeans to participate together in global open source by providing a strong, Europe-based platform.
The EU has a long track-record of using Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to invest in economic improvement and digital competitiveness. For example, Europe Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe are EU projects to coordinate investments into key areas from AI to addressing climate change. These EU projects direct significant EU-wide investments across new technologies and also stimulate the advancement of many industries.
Similarly, open source has a long track-record of fostering many of the leading technologies available today. From AI to blockchain to cloud, much of today’s breakthrough innovations come via the collaborative development process of open source. Indeed, it is difficult to find any part of our digital society today that does not depend upon open source.
By building upon open source platforms like the Eclipse Foundation, the EU has the opportunity to increase its digital competitiveness by enhancing the innovations and outputs of its key programs. For example, different projects in Europe such as AI4EU or GAIA-X call for and arguably would not succeed without strong open source participation. On the other hand, by building on a strong open source foundation, these projects have the potential to become world-leading and world-benefiting digital platforms.
Global Open Source in Europe
The Eclipse Foundation’s support of European Policies, Participation, and Projects not only help Europe but also international companies looking to serve European markets and partner with European organizations.
- EU digital policies create trust around technologies not just in Europe but elsewhere. For instance, not only has EU’s GDPR already protected the data rights of EU citizens, but it has also shaped the data policies of many non-European organizations and countries. Standardizing key digital policies around certain open source technologies in Europe will benefit the global ecosystem
- As many European organizations newly join the Eclipse Foundation, non-European organizations for the first time will be able to collaborate with them in open source. This strengthens the ecosystems of non-European and European organizations alike for everyone’s mutual benefit
- Non-European organizations will have enhanced access to EU projects and European ecosystems via the Eclipse Foundation. Just as it is difficult for certain European organizations to join non-EU-based open source foundations, it can be difficult for non-European organizations to participate in certain EU projects or ecosystems. However, by providing a globally open platform based in Europe, the Eclipse Foundation can enhance the ability for everyone to collaborate together in Europe in an open and trusted manner
Huawei and Open Source in Europe
The Eclipse Foundation becoming European is an industry-changing move that benefits both Europe and the global open source community.
We congratulate the Eclipse Foundation on moving to become European. Through this move, the Eclipse Foundation will provide an ideal platform for Europe to build global open source technologies while supporting digital competitiveness along with increased opportunities for global companies to collaborate in and with Europe. At Huawei, we strongly support open source and open governance to develop innovative technologies for the shared benefit of everyone. And, with over 13,000 employees across the continent, we look forward to partnering with the Eclipse Foundation to invest in the future of open source in Europe.
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