Incubation, Incubator – don’t mix them up. In the Eclipse universe both coexist:
Incubation is the initial project phase: the version number must be less than 1.0.0 and the project has to be marked with the incubation egg symbol. Sometimes, when a previously Non-Eclipse project becomes an Eclipse project, its version number is decreased, e.g. Subversive 1.1.9 is older than Subversive 0.7.8 and Jetty is the exception which proves this rule.
Currently there are three Eclipse projects with the name affix Incubator: Eclipse Project Incubator, DTP Incubator, and WTP Incubator. These projects contain a set of experimental subprojects. For instance, WTP Incubator contains JAX-WS, Vex, XML Security, XQuery, and RelaxNG. Some time ago XSL tooling started in the WTP incubator project but then graduated into the “normal” WTP project. Outside the Eclipse universe there are also such places but they are called Labs and not Incubator: Google Labs, Mozilla Labs, and Apache Labs. At these places innovative and experimental ideas can live long and prosper without the burden to deliver stable and ready-to-use products or frameworks.
Currently, all Incubator projects are in the Incubation, some of the Non-Incubator projects are not in the Incubation, but some are. Why not do it like any others and rename Incubator to Labs? Especially newcomers should not be confused by uncommon naming. In addition, labs sounds cooler than incubator, doesn’t it? So please vote for bug 300000.
But wait, this is not the end of the story. There is an announcement of Eclipse Labs. Eclipse Labs wants to make it easier to start a project and host it at Eclipse. It will be an alternative to SourceForge, Google Code and JavaForge. Maybe it is the answer to NetBeans’ Kenai. I’m curious about Eclipse Labs but please do not call it Labs. Why not call it Eclipse Forge?
As a developer, I know how important clear naming is for readable code. To do it alone is very hard, pair-programming and code-reviews help to get it right. Why not involve the community to find a better name? The diversity of the community will guarantee that misleading names will be prevented.