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A busy year for the guys at Eclipse

Eclipse Foundation outlines exciting 2012 path

Chris Mayer
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Eclipse 4 becomes base platform, the Github move and much much more in store

You’d think Eclipse would perhaps slow down a bit after a rather hectic 2011, but Executive Director Mike Milinkovich was quick off the mark to tell the open source community what was brewing in the coming year for Eclipse.

Milinkovich has said it will be an exciting year ahead for the Eclipse fraternity. He outlines some of the initiatives that will be driving the open source giant in his blog, but a brief overview of what we can expect is as follows:

Eclipse 4 becomes the base platform

Hardly a surprise, but as of the Juno release, Eclipse 4 will become the base platform for all packages, meaning that you’ll only be able to download 4.2 packages.

Although an enormous investment has gone into the backwards compatibility layer for Eclipse 4, it is obviously going to take testing and effort by the Eclipse projects and the many Eclipse adopters to migrate to Eclipse 4.2. So if you haven’t started testing with the Juno builds, now’s the time to start planning for it.

So, now would appear to be the best time to begin to shift across to Eclipse 4, which brings a lot more APIs, a renovated UI and also more flexibility.

The CVS lights are still being turned off in December 

As previously stated, Eclipse are migrating every single project over to the social coding phenomenom that is Github, giving the community much more opportunity to experiment with the source code of any Eclipse project. 

Two new community-friendly services to get excited about

Milinkovich also provided more details into two new services that are set to receive a huge push in 2012, aiming to eradicate common gripes from the community.

Firstly, the Common Build Infrastructure (CBI) will provide a core hosted infrastructure on eclipse.org, hopefully improving the running and working reliability of builds. There is a lot of work to be done, with ‘the big daddy’ Eclipse platform scheduled to put in first, hence why Milinkovich wants the community to be fully behind the service. Only through that will it work.

The other service that is in the works is Long Term Support - a new service that does exactly what it says on the tin/title. 

There is a fundamental mismatch between the maintenance window for Eclipse releases and the enterprise products that are built and ship on top. Eclipse release trains at least offer SR1 (September) and SR2 (February) maintenance releases on a regular basis. But an SR2 eight months after a major release is small solace to anyone with a requirement to offer support or maintenance on a product or application for five or more years (as many organizations do).

However, Eclipse won’t be providing support directly, per se. The maintenance and support will be offered through an ecosystem of different organisations collectively seeking such support. Eclipse will contribute the infrastructure so code repositories, bug trackers, build farms, test farms etc. In other words, being the trusted overseer in the operation, providing the platform for other to communicate.

Other business

Eclipse are also promising to create more industry working groups, such as the M2M group that grew at the back end of 2011. We can also expect the first release of browser-based open tool integration platform, Orion towards the end of 2012.

An incredibly exciting prospect for the calendar year, and a lot to be getting on with, but we’re sure the Eclipse Foundation will deliver, for the greater good of the ecosystem. Watch this space.

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