Eclipse is an Open Source community, whose projects are focused on building an open development platform comprised of extensible frameworks, tools and runtimes for building, deploying and managing software across the lifecycle.
The result is a platform based on public APIs and plugins whose development specifications are in the public domain and it allows anyone to develop their own plugins and make them available to the Open Source community or create special versions for a fee.
Today Eclipse is the best known and used development platform in the Java world.
The Eclipse Project was originally created by IBM in November 2001 and supported by a consortium of software vendors.
The Eclipse Foundation was created in January 2004 as an independent not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to administer and support both the open source community and an ecosystem of complementary products and services. To date hundreds of companies are part of the Eclipse Foundation, such as IBM, itemis, Nokia, Oracle, SAP, BleckBerry, Adobe, BMW, Cisco, Google and many others, whose support creates many important Eclipse Projects.