It has been over twenty-one years since the OSGi Alliance was formed - sponsored by several major corporations such as Ericsson, IBM, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems - to create open specifications, reference implementations, and compliance tests to establish an architecture and programming model that was modular, dynamic, and service-oriented. These standards were initially targeted at “Internet gateways”, what we would call today an Edge Computing device, but over the years would address a plethora of computing environments.
The world has changed a lot since 1999. Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, Ericsson is a much different company, and IBM and Oracle are no longer the biggest names in tech. The world of software specifications development has also seen vast changes, being heavily impacted and influenced today by open source projects.
In 1999 open source projects were just starting to become recognized by major Information Technology providers. The Apache Software Foundation was just getting started, the Linux operating system was beginning to be supported by computer hardware manufacturers, and it would be another 5 years before the Eclipse Foundation was established.
Now open source projects have become the primary source for open technology for software developers. Even the OSGi Alliance depends on open source projects for the vast majority of its reference implementations. A “code first” approach has taken hold for open standards too. We can see examples of this at the Eclipse Foundation in their Jakarta EE platform project and at OASIS in their OASIS Open Projects.
Another thing has changed too, the OSGi Alliance no longer has the critical mass necessary to continue as a stand-alone organization.
When this became evident to the OSGi Board of Directors, they began to examine and plan how best to deal with the future. After a great deal of work examining every reasonable alternative it was decided the best course of action was to transfer the assets of the OSGi Alliance to the Eclipse Foundation, with the expectation that future specification development will continue there, and dissolve the OSGi Alliance. The OSGi Board of Directors has reached an agreement with the Eclipse Foundation to establish an Eclipse OSGi Working Group which will be the home for the continued evolution of the OSGi specifications. Current OSGi Alliance members and others that wish to participate will need to be members of the Eclipse Foundation itself, and also members of the Eclipse OSGi Working Group. The Eclipse Foundation intends to waive the membership fees for the OSGi Working Group for the rest of 2020.
To quote Mike Milinkovich, the Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation, “The Eclipse Foundation is pleased to become the home for the future evolution of the OSGi's specifications. Our working group model and the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process both provide a natural framework for the important work that continues under the OSGi banner, and our communities are both very comfortable with each other already. We thank the OSGi Alliance’s Board of Directors for their trust, and we look forward to working with OSGi Alliance’s members and developers as we continue down this path.”
I certainly hope that everyone will join the efforts at the Eclipse Foundation to continue the work that started 21 years ago.
It has been a pleasure to serve you all these years and I look forward to continuing to work with you in the Eclipse OSGi Working Group.
Best wishes for the future,
Dan Bandera, President of the OSGi Alliance
Q: Why the Eclipse Foundation?
A: The OSGi Alliance and the Eclipse Foundation share many of the same members, and we have had a long, synergistic relationship between our organizations.
- The Eclipse Equinox project has hosted the OSGi Framework Reference Implementation for many years and many releases.
- The Eclipse Foundation, like the OSGi Alliance, is a non-profit, vendor-neutral organization which simplifies the transfer of OSGi Alliance assets and mission to them.
- We have held joint EclipseCon / OSGi Community Event developer conferences for the past 8 years.
- The Eclipse Foundation is home for many Java technology related open source projects like Jakarta EE, OpenJ9, OMR, MicroProfile, Transformer, Vert.x and many more.
- The Eclipse Foundation has developed a robust specification process over the last two years which can produce specifications allowing for Intellectual Property grants and benefits very similar to those of OSGi Specifications.
- The Eclipse Foundation continues to thrive and grow which provides a safe home for the planned Eclipse OSGi Working Group.
Q: Where will we find the old OSGi specifications in the future ?
A: Currently published OSGi specifications are available at . The planned Eclipse OSGi Working Group will decide if a different location is appropriate.
Q: For existing published OSGi Specifications what will be users/implementors rights be after the OSGi Alliance dissolves?
A: There will be no change in rights. The existing published OSGi Specifications will remain available under their existing license.
Q: What about reference implementations and compliance tests?
A: Almost all existing OSGi Reference Implementations are in open source projects at the Eclipse Foundation or the Apache Software Foundation (Eclipse Equinox, Apache Aries, Apache Felix, etc.) and should continue to be available directly from those projects. Those that are not will most likely be made available in a GitHub repository sometime in the future. The planned Eclipse OSGi Working Group will make this decision.
Q: How will the Eclipse specification process differ from the OSGi specification process?
A: BIG Question! There will be changes. Please see the following resources (in the order listed):
Q: Will new specifications from the Eclipse OSGi Working Group have a different license ?
A: It is expected that specifications released from the Eclipse OSGi Working Group will use the Eclipse Foundation Specification License. See .
Q: How will this transition affect the development of Bnd/Bndtools?
A: This transition won't affect Bnd/Bndtools which is a separate open source project.
Q: What are the next steps? What should be done to participate in the Eclipse OSGi Working Group?
A: To participate in future OSGi specification development you will first need to be a member of the Eclipse Foundation itself. Subsequent to that, you will also need to be a member of the Eclipse OSGi Working Group.
Q: How can we join the Eclipse OSGi Working Group?
A: At this time, the Eclipse OSGi Working Group has yet to be formed. So right now, you can join the Eclipse Foundation itself and we will communicate when the Eclipse OSGi Working Group is ready to be joined.
Q: Who do I contact if I have further questions?
A: For OSGi Alliance questions, you can contact the OSGi Executive Director . For Eclipse Foundation questions, you can visit , or contact Eclipse Foundation VP Member Services .