If you're at all involved in the Eclipse Ecosystem from a marketing, management or business development perspective, you should make sure you've had a good read of the Strategy as Ecology
article from HBR in 2004. Yup, it's $6 to buy the copyright and download, but well worth it.
One thing that really jumped out at me was the discussion on how to measure the health
of your Ecosystem. Fact is, many of us measure health by numbers - how many members, how many downloads, how many posts, etc. But is that really a measure of health
? It would be like saying "there are 4 billion more people on earth than 100 years ago, therefore we're more healthy".
Building on the ecosystem metaphor, the health of an ecosystem is better measured by productivity, robustness and niche creation. Productivity
means how much value is being created in the ecosystem - taking raw materials (time, skills, tools) and converting them into something more valuable (better tools, applications, innovations). Robustness
means how durable and able to adapt is the ecosystem to external events. Niche Creation
is about the ability to expand the ecosystem with meaningful diversity. A great example of this is how quickly many vendors (members and not) have used Eclipse as the cornerstone of an AJAX offering.
Bottom line - we're striving and working on many ways to measure the health of our ecosystem. Raw numbers, although very impressive, only tell part of the story. Productivity, Robustness and Diversity (although difficult to quantify) are key.