James Governor's Monkchips

Open Source Press Releases: Eclipse Light and Teasing

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Eclipse is offering its community a chance to feedback on next weeks press releases for JavaOne.

This is pretty exciting, if you are someone that thinks about the future of marcoms and PR. Getting the community to build a press release before it becomes “public”, official, timestamped and ready for “journals of record”. This is a very different way of thinking about PR.

Hats off to Ian Skerret at the Eclipse Foundation for understanding that open source marketing is going to benefit open source organizations.

Its about “release early release often” rather than stealth. And you know what? A lot of the time stealth sucks. Not always – m&a activity for example, or critical trade secrets. But often companies are so worried about control they can’t see a better way of building community. View source: Why not?

Ian understands the dynamics. He also inserts a nice teaser that should attract press interest. Eclipse is set to announce a major new organization joining Eclipse. Any good tech journalist in the space will take a look at the releases and still try and work out who the new member is.

 Chris Aniszczyk suspects Nokia.

One of the most important jobs for Ian in his role is to change the lingering market perception that Eclipse is a secret IBM vehicle. Well it isn’t, and transparency is the best way to prove it.

Why not link organizational targets (one million downloads) to charitable donations? Cool idea, borrowed, as Ian acknowledges, from Mozilla and Opera.

Obviously Eclipse is a community organisation so it makes perfect sense for the community to help with releases. Public and private companies have some different issues to worry about; such as SEC regulations. But don’t we all want to be community organizations to some degree? That’s where value lies.

Ryan Lowe meanwhile has begun an interesting thread on whether a technology evangelist has to actually use and code with the technologies they talk about. I tend to be of the opinion that there are different kinds of conversation to have. I know that Stephen has more credibility with developers, because he geeks out and hacks a little, but I hope that I have authority in some other areas. Even though i have never been an IT practitioner i have been covering the industry for ten years now, and i have a pretty good track record for spotting trends, and working with practitioners to build a world-view.

I can easily imagine a really excellent Eclipse RCP blog that was not written from a developer perspective, but that of an end user. So Ryan makes a great point but I would probably not be so binary. Authority and credibility comes in many different shapes and sizes. It increasingly comes from communities of interest, rather than “top down high church you shall obey” certifiers (Pace Michael Lewis and Stephen Johnson). High priest geeks are still high priests, and those are the folks we need to keep on their toes, regardless of the field of authority.

Eclipse is a marketplace not a priesthood.


[disclaimer: RedMonk has been working with the Eclipse Foundation on its marketing programs, and as such you have to decide whether you believe me in this post, or whether you think i am shilling.]

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