Mars.2 is here!

Eclipse Mars 4.5.2 released: The last major update before Neon

Dominik Mohilo
eclipse
Planet Mars with moon image via Shutterstock

Recently, JAXenter reported on the fifth milestone for Eclipse Neon – but the Eclipse Foundation does not forget about the actual Eclipse version Mars. Here is the second service update, aka Mars.2.

The following packages can be found under https://eclipse.org/downloads/ in the current version 4.5.2.

Windows / Linux / Mac OS X:

While milestones 5 and 6 of the new primary version 4.6 (Eclipse Neon) have detailed release notes, information about Mars.2 is scarce. There is, however, a list of 95 bugs -all of them have been fixed for the current version of Eclipse. One of them, as Arjan Tijms reported,  is a high profile OS X bug involving an ugly NPE. Another bug where Eclipse would delete code was also fixed. Another list of bug fixes belonging to the Web Tools Platform Eclipse project is also available. In the current release of the WTP, which appears in the package with Eclipse Mars.2 in version 3.7.2, 22 errors have been fixed.

Service release versus flexible updates

Unlike its competitors, the Eclipse Foundation has been relying from the very beginning on a fixed schedule of new updates’ release. Ever since 2004, the biggest updates of Eclipse-IDE and participatory projects have been released in late June. The simultaneous release (also coordinated release or annual release) has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are somewhat obvious: thanks to a fixed deadline, users know when to expect changes and get a version that is thouroughly tested by a large community.

The disadvantage of having a simultaneous release is the lack of flexibility in the critical updates. For example, having only 2 fixed updates a year makes it impossible to provide an update shortly after a new version of Java. Furthermore, bugs can be present in releases despite all the testing, and would linger for months in the recommended Eclipse version, ready to be fixed only in the the next big update.

To ensure the performance, safety and stability of the Eclipse-IDE and connected projects, there used to be 2 so-called Service Releases (SR1, SR2) -the first one occurs roughly three months after the primary version, the second one five months after SR1. However, in the following year, this scheme should go through some changes:

First, it should no longer go from Eclipse Neon in the intermediate versions only for bug fixing -this should also occur for the implementation of new features. Second, the number of updates will increase from two to three to provide updates with timely guarantee at least every three months.

Author
Dominik Mohilo
Dominik Mohilo studied German and sociology at the Frankfurt University, and works at S&S Media since 2015.

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