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Meet This Year's Top Committer Nominees

Today we complete our trilogy of interviews with the Individual Eclipse Community Awards nominees with the Top Committer nominees.

The award is to recognize an Eclipse committer who best exemplifies support for the community through newsgroups, Bugzilla, white papers, conference presentations, blogs and other forums.

This year's Top Committer nominees are:

  • Martin Oberhuber

    Martin has been nominated for his work in leading the TM project and for reviving the Eclipse Architecture Council.
  • Steffen Pingel

    Steffen has been nominated for his contributions to the Mylyn project, with half of last year's commits to the project coming from him. 
  • Thomas Watson

    Thomas has been nominated for being the man behind the Equinox curtain. He also represents Eclipse on the EEG and CPEG committees at OSGi.org
  • Jason Weathersby

    Jason is well known for his work on the BIRT project, speaking at conferences, monitoring the news group and writing papers. 
  • Paul Webster

    Paul has been nominated for his efforts helping people on IRC and newsgroups.
  • David Williams

    David has been nominated for his work on the WebTools project, providing an incubator within WebTools and for helping to catch those release trains

 Over the next few pages we will introduce and interview each of the nominees. It's interesting to see what each of these guys do for the community, so please consider each of the nominees before you place your vote.

Martin Oberhuber


DZone: Congratulations on the nomination Martin. Could you tell us more about yourself?

Martin: I'm 37 years old, married and got 2 kids. I live in Salzburg, Austria, and have been working for Wind River (formerly TakeFive software) since 10 years. I've always been interested in software development process and practices to ensure top quality. I'm glad that quality plays such a big role at Eclipse. In my little spare time, I like reading, skiing and hiking.

DZone: What are the main things that you do within the community?

Martin: I'm leading the DSDP Target Management Project, and I'm a platform core committer, but I guess what's most important to the Community is my role on the Eclipse Architecture Council. As the chair of the AC, I see
myself as a facilitator: collecting the topics that the Community cares about, and bringing the great people together that we have in order to move things forward in a positive way. I'm also active on the Galileo cross-project list, testing things and filing bugs to ensure that the Release train really works as a whole as it should.

DZone: How long have you been involved with Eclipse?

Martin: Wind River proposed the Device Software Development Platform (DSDP) project in March 2005, and along with it the Target Management project was created shortly after. I've been leading the TM project since it's
inception, but have also been reaching out to the wider community from the beginning.

DZone: Do you have a favourite project within the Eclipse ecosystem?

Martin: There's so many exciting new things going on that it's hard to make a choice here. I'm really thrilled about the great amount of innovation and quality work. If I must make a choice, I guess that the Platform and
Equinox are still dearest to me because they really are the enablers for all the great work going on -- both in terms of technology and the exemplary process that they have been practicing.

DZone: In the Eclipse world, what were your highlights of 2008, and what are you looking forward to in 2009?

Martin: Well my personal highlight of 2008 is being able to serve on the Architecture Council. It's really exciting to be able and work with some of the greatest engineers in our industry to move things forward. I'm
really glad that Wind River allows me to spend the time for this work. For 2009, I'm most looking forward to the work on the e4 project, exploring some fundamental change in the base Eclipse architecture while still doing our best to remain compatible to clients. The work surrounding this is really exciting.

DZone: What is your full time job?

Martin: I'm employed by Wind River as a full time Eclipse committer and contributor to other Open Source projects. Of that time, in the past quarter I've been spending about 30% for the TM project, 30% for the Architecture Council, 30% for the Platform and e4, and 10% for other Open Source projects (JSch, RXTX, Apache Commons). Of course things are changing quickly in our industry, and my priorities have been shifting
as needed.

DZone: What do you like most about contibuting to Eclipse?

Martin: Working in a multi-national setting of great engineers and the high focus on quality.

DZone: Is it difficult for you to find the time to commit to  Eclipse projects?

Martin: No, thanks to my employer, Wind River, who's sponsoring my work full time.

DZone: Why do you think you should be chosen as Top Committer?

Martin: Because I'm caring for the Community, looking beyond just my own projects, and working to improve things for all committers.

Steffen Pingel


DZone: Congratulations on the nomination Steffen. Could you tell us more about yourself?

Steffen: I graduated from the University of Stuttgart, Germany two years ago. During my Masters' degree, I got involved with Eclipse by creating the Mylyn Trac connector as a Google Summer of Code student in 2006. At that same time, I was in the process of moving to New York city to work as a Java developer on Swing applications but I stayed involved with the Mylyn project in my spare time, and earned my commit rights. My contributions made it into the June 2007 release of Mylyn 2.0.

After that, Tasktop Technologies, the startup that created and leads Mylyn, extended me an offer to work full time on Mylyn and Mylyn-based technologies.I have since moved to Canada where a lot of the Eclipse excitement is happening. I enjoy working on tools that keep developers focused and productive, when I am not riding my bike in the beautiful mountains surrounding Vancouver.

DZone: What are the main things that you do within the community?

Steffen: Most of my Eclipse time is spent collaborating with the community through Bugzilla and the Mylyn newsgroup. The Mylyn project has a very active user base who keeps me busy with a never ending stream of feedback and contributions. We applied over 130 patches for the next 3.1 release in March alone. While prioritizing contributions is a great way to evolve the tool to users' and integrators' needs, I also enjoy hacking on new Mylyn features.

DZone: How long have you been involved with Eclipse?

Steffen: I started using Eclipse for Java programming when support for Emacs key-bindings was added. Ever since the time I spent in the workbench has steadily increased. Thanks to the endless number of extensions I now do the occasional Python and C++ hacking in Eclipse and don't need to rely on browsers and emails for tracking tasks anymore.

My first serious exposure to plug-in programming was getting my feet wet as a Google Summer of Code student. Since then I have been getting sucked into the broader Eclipse community and taken over more responsibilities in the Mylyn project.

I am managing the project's participation in the Ganymede and Galileo release train and I am also one of the maintainers of the Java EPP package.

DZone: Do you have a favourite project within the Eclipse ecosystem?

Steffen: That's easy. Mylyn.

DZone: In the Eclipse world, what were your highlights of 2008, and what are you looking forward to in 2009?

Steffen: The Ganymede release is the first 2008 Eclipse highlight that comes to mind. As part of that I worked hard on releasing Mylyn 3.0 which was a major milestone for the project.

My favorite new Eclipse feature that was added last year is PDE's API tooling. It's the type of automation that makes maintaining API much easier. And it helps us ensure that we don't cause integrators problems by accidentally changing public method signatures.

I also had the privilege to be a Google Summer of Code mentor last year. Owen Ou integrated rich text wiki editing with the Mylyn task editor based on WikiText which is a new component contributed by David Green. It was great to be part of this team effort and to see the results of the project which are now being released for the first time.

I am very much looking forward to EclipseCon in March. It's always a great opportunity to meet other committers in person. This year it will be my first time to give a talk at the conference so I am extra excited.

DZone: What is your full time job?

Steffen: I am a software developer at Tasktop Technologies, which is the company behind the Mylyn project.

DZone: What do you like most about contibuting to Eclipse?

Steffen: I keep being impressed by the quality and extensibility of the platform. It's fun to work with the rich APIs and solid framework Eclipse provides. It also sets a high bar for every Eclipse project to meet the same standard. I enjoy this challenge and the positive community feedback makes it worth the effort.

DZone: Is it difficult for you to find the time to commit to Eclipse projects?

Steffen: Yes, even though I am in the great position that Eclipse development has become my day-to-day job it's still challenging at times to find enough cycles to dedidicate to Mylyn between my different responsibilities at Tasktop.

DZone: Why do you think you should be chosen as Top Committer?

Steffen: As a committer, my goal is to build solid, reusable frameworks. Eclipse thrives on everyone's participation which I am supporting through my active involvement with cross-project, the EPP project and user community.

Thomas Watson


DZone: Congratulations on the nomination Thomas. Could you tell us more about yourself?

Thomas: I live, work and play in Austin, Texas with my wife and 7 month old daughter.  I have been developing software for the past 11 years at IBM and have worked on a number of projects with-in IBM including network computers, service gateways, embedded devices and server technologies.  I have spent the better part of the past 7 years working on the OSGi specification and implementing various parts of the specification in the Equinox project at Eclipse.

DZone: What are the main things that you do within the community?

Thomas: I am the co-lead of the Equinox project and the lead developer of the Equinox OSGi framework.

DZone: How long have you been involved with Eclipse?

Thomas: In the Summer of 2003 I became a member of the Equinox technology project to assist the Core Platform team in moving the Eclipse 3.0 runtime over to the OSGi Framework.  Since then I have become the development lead of the Equinox OSGi Framework and the co-lead of the Equinox project.  The Equinox project has come a long ways since its initial days as a technology project at Eclipse. 

DZone: Do  you have a favourite project within the Eclipse ecosystem?

Thomas: Other than the Equinox project I would say e4.  I think they are really starting to do some interesting things in e4 and I hope to be able to contribute some time to the project in the future.

DZone: In the Eclipse world, what were your highlights of 2008, and what are you looking forward to in 2009?

Thomas: In 2008 there has been continued growth in the use and interest of OSGi technology and the modularity runtime it provides.  An Enterprise Expert Group was started at the OSGi Alliance to investigate using the modularity concepts of OSGi in the enterprise space.  I have enjoyed working on the new challenges and developing the next OSGi R4.2 specification as well as implementing the specification within the Equinox project.

In 2009 I look forward to participating in e4.  In particular I hope to be able to spend time working on modularity in other languages besides Java.  I also look forward the next major release of the OSGi specification.  I hope we can finally modernize the OSGi API.  Perhaps I can finally start using features of JavaSE 1.5.

DZone: What is your full time job?

Thomas: Sometimes it feels like I have two full time jobs.  My first job is my roles as an Eclipse committer which includes co-leading the Equinox project and development lead of the Equinox OSGi Framework.  My second job is participating in the expert groups within the OSGi Alliance developing the next versions of the OSGi specification.

DZone: What do you like most about contibuting to Eclipse?

Thomas: I enjoy the community of Eclipse and working on a core technology that get used by such a diverse set of projects at Eclipse as well as others outside of Eclipse.

DZone: Is it difficult for you to find the time to commit to Eclipse projects?

Thomas: I have the luxury of having a day job that requires I participate in Eclipse.  I easily consume more than enough hours in the day working on Eclipse.  The question is do I find it difficult to do anything else?

DZone: Why do you think you should be chosen as Top Committer?

Thomas: I am very active in both the Eclipse community and the OSGi community developing modularity features needed by the Eclipse platform.

Jason Weathersby

DZone: What are the main things that you do within the community?

Jason: I manage the BIRT Website and spend a good bit of time on the Newsgroup. I co-author the BirtWorld Blog and write articles on how to use the BIRT technology.

DZone: How long have you been involved with Eclipse?

Jason: I have been involved with the BIRT project since August 2005.

DZone: Do you have a favourite project within the Eclipse ecosystem?

Jason: I am glad you asked, and the answer is yes I do and the project is BIRT:> which I believe has a little to offer any developer/Eclipse user, from simple report development, writing event handlers in Java/JavaScript, developing data drivers to deployment.If you have a development interest or just need an awesome report tool, most likely you can find your niche in the BIRT Project.

DZone: In the Eclipse world, what were your highlights of 2008, and what are you looking forward to in 2009?

Jason: I think it was a highlight in general to see our team role out BIRT 2.3, with top notch new features like the JavaScript/Java Event Debugger and new Crostab scripting capabilities. The BIRT team is full of great and skillful committers that have added so many features in such a short period of time.

DZone: What is your full time job?

Jason: I am one of the lucky individuals that gets to spend alot of my time working with the community, as I work for Actuate corporation in our Engineering department as the BIRT Evangelist.

DZone: What do you like most about contibuting to Eclipse?

Jason: Obviously there is a certain amount of pride that comes with contributing to a cool and popular tool, but writing, coding and solving technical issues are challenging and fun in their own right.

DZone: Is it difficult for you to find the time to commit to Eclipse projects?

Jason: Time is always precious in the arena, but luckly I have a job that allows me to devote a lot of time to the project.

DZone: Why do you think you should be chosen as Top Committer?

Jason: I don’t believe I should be chosen as Top Committer. There are a lot great names in this category and frankly I feel honored to be among them, but many others deserve this honor before me.

Paul Webster


DZone: Congratulations on the nomination Paul. Could you tell us  more about yourself?

Paul:I've been working in the industry for about 14 years now in C, C++, and Java, and up until I joined the eclipse team mostly on low level framework or networking applications.  I went to school in Waterloo, and currently work for IBM Rational in Ottawa.

DZone: What are the main things that you do within the community?

Paul:I try and answer questions in the eclipse.platform.* branch of newsgroups :-)

DZone:How long have you been involved with Eclipse?

Paul:I've been working on Eclipse for almost 4 years on the Platform UI team.  I started off in presentations and workbench part lifecycle, and then moved onto actions and commands.

DZone: Do  you have a favourite project within the Eclipse ecosystem?

Paul:I'm quite partial to EMF+GMF (it can do cool things).

DZone: In the Eclipse world, what were your highlights of 2008, and what are you looking forward to in 2009?

Paul:2008 included Eclipse 3.4, which had some new and very useful features (especially in the PDE area) and but also had some improvements to help mature the Commands Framework.  In 2009 I hope to get the chance to contribute to some of the Eclipse 4.0 work (e4) which I think has a lot of potential.

DZone: What is your full time job?

Paul:IBM employs me as a full time committer on the Eclipse Platform UI team.

DZone: What do you like most about contibuting to Eclipse?

Paul:I like working through the public bugs and mailing lists.  Communication with our downstream consumers is very important and I think that on some other software projects (especially commercial ones) it is hard to get that communication that level of communication.

DZone: Is it difficult for you to find the time to commit to Eclipse projects?

Paul:Not in my case, no :-)

DZone: Why do you think you should be chosen as Top Committer?

Paul:Ha, would you believe I don't have an answer for that except it would be a good opportunity to poke fun at Chris Aniszczyk :-)

David Williams


DZone: Congratulations on the nomination David. Could you tell us more about yourself?

David:I've worked in the software industry for 25 years, all for IBM. First in Usability, making products (software and hardware) easier to use. Then in Software Consulting, mentoring customer developers on how best to use VisualAge for Smalltalk, and then VisualAge for Java, along with all the principles and best practices of OO Programming.

And then I worked with Eclipse. At first, for several years, I was a consumer of Eclipse which formed the platform of some some commercial products we were developing. In 2004 we started the Web Tools Platform Project and that's when I became an Eclipse committer.

DZone: What are the main things that you do within the community?

David:I am the WTP PMC Lead where I try to influence the whole of WTP in positive directions and try to keep it vibrant, and diverse.

I'm also on the Eclipse Foundation Planning Council, which is a group made up of members from each Eclipse Project, and together we decide how and when to do our simultaneous release each year.

I also recently became lead of the Orbit Project, which is a repository of OSGi bundles for use by other Eclipse Projects.

So, I have lots of opportunities to work with other Eclipse Projects. In day-to-day terms, the main things I do are monitoring the mailing lists and bugzilla notices, helping to answer questions when I can. Looking for ways to make things easier for developers and the community.

DZone: How long have you been involved with Eclipse?

David:Technically, I was involved before it was called Eclipse ... and, before there was an Eclipse Foundation. But, I like to think of "starting" in 2004 ... about the same time the Eclipse Foundation was formed ... and when I became an official Eclipse committer. Then I learned that developing in the open makes you very vulnerable ... everyone can see your mistakes and ignorance. It turns out, luckily, that is a good thing. Gradually I have became less involved in day-to-day programming, and more involved in over all project leadership and architecture.

DZone: Do  you have a favorite project within the Eclipse ecosystem?

David:Web Tools of course!

DZone: In the Eclipse world, what were your highlights of 2008, and what are you looking forward to in 2009?

David:The Releases and advances in the Web Tools Platform are always the largest highlights. But the most personally rewarding things are the smaller, everyday things ... seeing incubating projects start to blossom, seeing the collaboration between projects and developers bloom into some useful result or bug fix. Plus, I do look forward to EclipseCon every year!

DZone: What is your full time job?

David:This is it! I'm very lucky (or, crafty?) that my company is willing to pay for my (nearly) full time involvement with Eclipse. I have the impression that's becoming more rare at Eclipse. Of course, that's not just altruistic on their part. Eclipse in general, and the parts I'm responsible for, all benefit our Products in one way or another.

DZone: What do you like most about contributing to Eclipse?

David:The collaboration with a wide-range of diverse groups. I think development in the open is the best way to develop software ... and, makes it more interesting and fun to see others ways of working or solving a problem.

DZone: Is it difficult for you to find the time to commit to Eclipse projects?

David:There's never enough time in the day, if that's what you mean, but on the other hand, I always make time to contribute something. 

DZone: Why do you think you should be chosen as Top Committer?

David:Honestly, I do not know. Don't get me wrong, I'm honored to have been nominated ... and enjoy being appreciated, just like everyone does ... but there are so many talented and deserving people at Eclipse, I think it is very hard to choose any particular one as "top".

I think I was nominated because I have helped some incubating projects get started at Eclipse. Part of that is helping them get through the bureaucracy and technicalities, but I'd like to think, too, that I help new committers feel more comfortable and learn the ways of Eclipse.

So now you have met most of the nominees for the Top Ambassador, Top Contributor and Top Committer awards. We hope that we have made it easier for you to choose who to vote for.

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