The Eclipse Foundation is today making its biggest release of the year, highlighting open source projects created using the Eclipse development platform. Its new Galileo release — the latest in the group’s annual “release train” roundup — includes 33 open source projects that were built with contributions from 44 different organizations.
The Galileo release also marks an increase for Eclipse in the number of projects it releases as part of its annual release train event. In the 2008 Gannymede release, Eclipse unveiled 23 projects.
While the projects that make up Galileo are all open source, the primary driver behind the release train is to encourage greater commercial adoption. Eclipse-based tools are already used by many companies including IBM, Oracle, Nokia and SAP, among others.
“By wrapping up all these projects and shipping them together, it makes it a lot easier for companies to pick up the Eclipse platform and base their product on top of it,” Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, told InternetNews.com. “Lining up all the product releases on the same day means that inter-dependencies between the projects are aligned, version compatibility issues are taken care of, and you don’t get the latency you might have if a project is waiting for another project to ship.”
Milinkovich added that before Eclipse started doing the release train, it could take months until all the various inter-dependent projects would be aligned.
Among the projects included for the first time in Galileo are the PHP Development Tools project, which is a PHP IDE
Now, PDT 2.1 is being released as part of Galileo, delivering an incremental upgrade over the PDT 2.0 release from earlier this year. Its key new feature is support for the upcoming PHP 5.3 release, which adds namespaces, a way to encapsulate classes and other PHP items more easily.
Another new project in Galileo is the Memory Analyzer application, designed to help developers better face the critical task of memory management. To that end, Memory Analyzer helps Java developers examine their memory utilization to find memory leaks.
Xtext, a framework for domain-specific languages, is also new to the release train. Milinkovich explained that Xtext provides the ability to developers to create languages and build tools for those new languages.
While the goal of the Eclipse release train is to help commercial adoption, it is not clear exactly how many commercial software applications are actually derived from Eclipse technology.
“It’s a difficult thing to measure because people don’t have to do anything to ship or sell a project based on Eclipse,” Milinkovich said. “They don’t have to register with us — they just download and use it. We’re confident there are hundreds of companies shipping thousands of projects, but we’ve never been able to create a registry of all the products based on Eclipse.”
Meanwhile, focus now turns to the next Eclipse release in 2010.
But one of the things that will be changing ahead of the next Eclipse release is that Sun is being acquired by Oracle. Oracle is a member of Eclipse, whereas Sun has been pushing its rival Netbeans IDE efforts.
Milinkovich noted that it’s a little too early to tell how Oracle’s acquisition might affect Eclipse.
However, he said he’s hopeful that Oracle will open up the Java Community Process (JCP), which governs the development of the Java language.
“It’s not so much about the JCP process as it is about governance,” Milinkovich said. “There are still special rules in the JCP for Sun’s participation. I’d love to see the JCP emulate the Eclipse Foundation more closely and be a more vendor-neutral organization.”