Wiki creator quits Microsoft, joins Eclipse

'A truly rare bird: someone who is both brilliant but also blessed with a warm and engaging personality'

The inventor of the Wiki, Microsoft researcher Ward Cunningham, is leaving the software giant to join the Eclipse Foundation, according to a blog entry posted by Eclipse executive director Mike Milinkovich Monday.

Cunningham's role at the nonprofit foundation will be to help improve collaborative and cooperative efforts between members of the Eclipse open-source community.

Cunningham's WikiWikiWeb or Wiki concept to enable users of a website to quickly change its pages. He created the first wiki site, the Portland Pattern Repository, in 1995, focusing on people, projects and patterns in software development.

He joined Microsoft in December 2003, working as an architect in the company's patterns and practices group.

Eclipse is growing by leaps and bounds with a wide range of open-source projects under way to create development tools and frameworks for building software. The foundation's efforts compete with those of Sun Microsystems and its open-source NetBeans development platform as well as Microsoft's own .Net initiative.

Milinkovich included the text of his email to the Eclipse committer community announcing Cunningham's new role as the foundation's director, committer community development, in his blog.

The Eclipse Foundation defines "committers" as individuals who devote a substantial amount of their time to the open-source software, either by initiating new Eclipse projects or working part-time or full-time on such a project.

"Ward's track record of invention in areas such as wikis, patterns and agile development are known worldwide," Milinkovich wrote in the email. "His [Cunningham's] current interests in open source and developing communities of developers are a perfect match for the work we need to do at Eclipse."

The foundation needs to do more to create "a culture of collaboration and cooperation" across the various Eclipse development projects, Milinkovich added. "Ward will lead the effort to create a more cohesive Eclipse committer community by working with developers in order to enhance Eclipse as 'the place to be,'" Milinkovich wrote in the email.

In his blog, Milinkovich described Cunningham as "a truly rare bird: someone who is both brilliant but also blessed with a warm and engaging personality."

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