Eclipse’s ‘Callisto’ Onslaught


There are many software projects in both the proprietary and open
source communities that don’t keep their release schedules. Eclipse is not
one of them.

In keeping with its release record, the Eclipse Foundation this week will release 10 projects right on schedule. It’s such a huge undertaking that Eclipse branded it Callisto.

Callisto involves more than 7 million lines of project code, developed by 260 developer committers,
including the efforts of 15 different ISVs spanning a dozen countries
around the globe.


The roll-out of Callisto marks the third consecutive year that Eclipse has
shipped a major release on schedule.


“There is a long track record in the software industry of missing dates and
failing to ship on time,” Mike Milinkovich, executive director of Eclipse
Foundation, told internetnews.com. “We think it’s really an
accomplishment to be that predictable.”


The 10 projects included in the Callisto release event are: Business
Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) 2.1; C/C++ IDE (CDT) 3.1; Data Tools
Platform (DTP) 1.0; Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) 2.2; Graphical Editor
Framework (GEF) 3.2; Graphical Modeling Framework (GMF)1.0; Eclipse Project
3.2; Test and Performance Tools Platform (TPTP) 4.2; Web Tools Platform
(WTP) 1.5; and Visual Editor (VE) 1.2.


Milinkovich said Callisto includes the first releases for both the
Data Tools Platform (DTP) and the Graphical Modeling Framework (GMF) both of
which are getting Eclipse into new areas.


And the Eclipse Callisto release isn’t just for Java developers either. Milinkovich said that CDT 3.1 has been around almost since the inception of Eclipse.

It is also widely used and, according to Milinkovich, helps form the basis of almost all companies in the real-time operating space. CDT currently ships with most Linux distributions.


The namesake Eclipse project also gets a boost with support for Mac
OS X on Intel, as well as providing preview support for Eclipse running on
Microsoft’s Windows Vista.


The motivation and the need for doing 10 releases at the same time is
directly related to the nature of Eclipse itself.


“When Eclipse first started it was really simple; there was one project to
download and use,” Milinkovich told internetnews.com.

“As we’ve grown,
the number of projects has grown and the equivalent platform or the
definition of what it means to have the Eclipse platform has grown along
with it.”


Milinkovich explained that many ISVs now need more than one project and that
the interdependencies between the various projects is also increasing to a
certain extent.

As such, the latency between the various project releases
could be a potential issue for adopters. In the past there had been up to a
10-week lag between when original Eclipse projects shipped and when other
projects shipped.


“By pulling together on the same day we eliminate any version
incompatibility issues and the entire Eclipse platform gets there a lot
faster for the adopter,” Milinkovich said.


Having regular, predictable releases is also key for the adoption of
the Eclipse platform.


“One of the things that is quite unique about Eclipse as a community is that
we’re very interested in seeing the commercial adoption of our
technologies,” Milinkovich said.

“We strongly feel that part of our mission
in doing that is being predictable so that companies building on top of
Eclipse can rely [on the fact] that they will be getting what they need when they are expecting it.”


Instrumental in helping Eclipse to hit its
release goals is the fact that they do six-week milestone releases throughout
the year. Milinkovich noted that the milestones give Eclipse a lot of
practice.


Callisto’s project tally could grow next year beyond the 10 Eclipse projects
it included this year. A new SOA Tools Project could well be among
them.


“Over time we do expect to see more projects joining the annual release
train,” Milinkovich said. “It seems that a lot of projects are very
interested in participating.”

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