What is Eclipse?
"The Eclipse Platform is a kind of universal tool platform -- an open extensible IDE (integrated development environment) for anything but nothing in particular. The real value of the Eclipse platform comes from the many tool plug-ins that each "teach" Eclipse how to work with things -- Java source code, OO models, Web content, XML, graphics, workflow processes, video -- almost anything you can imagine. Tools built as Eclipse Platforms plug-ins interact with both the platform and other tools. This can provide users with a seamless work experience. In fact, a user may not even realize where one tool starts and another begins." (Erickson 2001)
What's the benefit to IBM
"developerWorks: What does IBM hope to get out of turning this software into an OS project?
Marc: IBM believes it benefits when there is an open marketplace for interoperable tools. We all benefit because the products deployed become more useful and more easily integrated into developers' projects no matter what approach they are taking. A development environment that is really open creates a much more vibrant marketplace where people aren't locked into a proprietary system and where we've leveled the playing field that IBM joins with others to compete on.
Since IBM is confident that its products can compete feature for feature, this is good news for us. When companies have already made a choice that locks them into a given set of tools, it's harder for any company to jump that barrier and get their foot in the door. In an open marketplace, products can compete based on merit and that's where IBM wants to be." (Brody 2001)