Eclipse Helios

Linux Tools Project Jumps on the Eclipse Helios Release Train!

Andrew Overholt

Andrew Overholt

According to the results of the Eclipse Community Survey 2010, Linux is currently gaining popularity with Eclipse users and, with the release of the Eclipse Linux Tools project as part of the Eclipse Helios release train, it seems likely Linux is going to retain this popularity. With this in mind, we spoke with Andrew Overholt, project lead of the Eclipse Linux Tools project, to find out more about this new project.....

JAXenter: Can you describe the Linux Tools project in a few words? Who is behind the project, and where did the original idea come from?

Andrew Overholt: The Linux Tools project aims to provide tools for Linux C/C++ developers, often integrating existing Linux tools into the Eclipse IDE.

Our second target audience is Linux distribution packagers for whom we provide some tools to ease their jobs and help encourage further distribution of Eclipse technology.

The project started a few years ago as the "Linux Distros Project". It came about as a place for the various Linux distribution packagers of Eclipse technology to gather and to provide them with a unified voice in the Eclipse community. Nowadays, the project is focused more on the C/C++ developer crowd -- though not forgetting the Linux distribution crowd by any means -- with project committers hailing from Red Hat, Ericsson, IBM, ST Microelectronics, École Polytechnique de Montréal, and some individuals. We also have many individual contributors in the Eclipse community.

JAXenter: How advanced is the development of Linux Tools, in the Helios Release?

Andrew Overholt: Our project is still in the incubation phase but we have had a number of previous releases leading up to this, our 0.6 release. Some of our components are years old and others are quite new. That being said, our exemplary tools have gone through quite a bit of user testing and are usable and stable. One of the biggest hurdles we have to clear before releasing 1.0 is defining our APIs, especially for our frameworks.

JAXenter: This is the first time that Linux Tools project has participated in the annual Eclipse Release Train. In your experience, what are the benefits of participation in Helios, and what are the critical points?

Andrew Overholt: Exposure to many users and consistency with the rest of the Eclipse simultaneous release are, in my opinion, the biggest benefits of participating in Helios. With the wide exposure, however, comes the required discipline to adhere to schedules, knowing when to postpone new features until the next release, etc. The maturing of our development processes to be more like those of the established Eclipse projects is something we gain from being a part of the simultaneous release.

JAXenter: What are your own personal highlights of the Helios release, apart from the Linux Tools project?

Andrew Overholt: I am enjoying many of the little polish items in Mylyn and the CDT's improved debugging experience. EGit is also a very important tool for much of the Linux Tools project's intended audience so I am looking forward to getting more familiar with it myself.

JAXenter: What are the next steps for Linux Tools?

Andrew Overholt: Some of the themes for our next release include unifying many of our tool workflows and continuing to define and refine our APIs. Bug fixes are also always being made. One non-code aspect of the project that we will be investigating is where our project fits into the Eclipse project structure and how we can graduate from the incubation phase as we move towards our 1.0 release.

JAXenter: If you had to pick which football team most closely resembles the Linux Tools Project, which football team would it be?

Andrew Overholt: I'm far from what one would describe as a football fan so I can't answer that :) We are a diverse project ... is there a team that symbolizes that?

Jessica Thornsby

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