Adrian Colyer: Why dm Server Is Moving To Eclipse


As JAXenter reported last week, SpringSource have submitted a proposal for dm Server to move to The follow-on from the recently released dm Server 2.0 will be developed under the Eclipse Runtime Project. JAXenter caught up with the Chief Technology Officer for SpringSource, Adrian Colyer, to ask him about the project.

JAXenter: The SpringSource dm Server will continue as the Eclipse project “Virgo” – What are the reasons behind the migration to Eclipse?

Adrian Colyer: There is a great deal of interest and innovation around enterprise OSGi and the dm Server.  This interest is strongest amongst early adopters, and projects with requirements that match closely the dynamically modular nature of the OSGi Service Platform. For a mainstream development team though, who just want to build an enterprise application as quickly as possible, and with as little hassle as possible, the costs currently associated with adopting enterprise OSGi can outweigh the short-term benefits. This situation needs to be addressed before enterprise OSGi can become the de-facto approach for mainstream enterprise application development.

The dm Server builds on, and tightly integrates with, Eclipse Equinox – the reference implementation of the OSGi Service Platform. In addition, the recently proposed Gemini project at will host reference implementations of many of the key enterprise OSGi specifications supported by Virgo – including the SpringSource led Gemini Web Container and Gemini Blueprint Service projects. The dm Server development tools are also all Eclipse-based. As an Eclipse RT project, Virgo will benefit from close collaboration with the OSGi community at, the ability for multiple parties to contribute to it’s ongoing development, and feedback from the Eclipse user base to help shape future direction. This community involvement and collaboration is the fastest way to help make the transition into the mainstream for enterprise application development on OSGi.

JAXenter: What does the migration mean for the development process of the dm Server (i.e. Virgo)? Is SpringSource abandoning the project ?

Adrian Colyer: Beyond the 2.0 release which we just put out, ongoing development of the dm Server will happen as part of the Virgo project at The full set of SpringSource developers currently working on the dm Server will become committers at The aim is to put out a baseline release from the Virgo project as quickly as possible, and ultimately to join the Eclipse release train to coordinate Virgo releases with Equinox and other Eclipse component releases. We already have indication from other interested parties that they would like to contribute to Virgo development too, so the project has a healthy future ahead of it.

JAXenter: What role will virgo play in the context of the Eclipse Runtime Top Level Project? Are there any deeper integrations planned with other projects like Equinox, Jetty or the recently proposed Gemini-project?

Adrian Colyer: itself has a stated number one strategic priority to “Establish Eclipse runtime technology as a leading open source runtime platform.” and clearly the Virgo project plays an important role in helping achieve this objective. Regarding the relationship to other Eclipse projects, this is covered in the proposal document. Of particular note is the close integration with the Gemini project, and the intention to make the Gemini Web Container and Virgo work with Jetty as well as with Tomcat.

JAXenter: Will Virgo join the Eclipse Helios Release Train? What are the next steps for Virgo?

Adrian Colyer: The Helios release train is essentially closed already – by the time the Virgo project has been through initial creation review and uploaded the initial contents it will be too late to make the 2010 train. The intention is to align with the release train for 2011 though. We plan to put out a baseline release from Virgo as soon as possible, probably followed by a service release on the “2.0” code base. We will also aim to put out a new release during 2010 off the back of the Helios train. 

JAXenter: You wrote in your blog, that the costs currently associated with adopting enterprise OSGi can outweigh the short-term benefits. How can Virgo help the adoption of enterprise OSGi?

Adrian Colyer: The move to can help drive community involvement in dm Server (Virgo) in two key ways. Firstly, the license change from GPL to EPL means that many more organisations and individuals will be comfortable using Virgo, building on Virgo, and contributing back to Virgo. Secondly, is vendor neutral and this will help to alleviate any concerns over Virgo being too strongly controlled by SpringSource. The broader community involvement will in turn help steer the project to better address mainstream requirements.

JAXenter: Thank your very much!

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