Eclipse Provides Synchronized Updates for 10 Projects

Lora Bentley

Lora Bentley spoke with Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. The Foundation's Callisto project aims to release 10 open source projects at once.


Bentley: Can you explain the idea behind Callisto and what prompted it?
Milinkovich: Callisto is about making it easier for ISVs and IT shops to adopt Eclipse technologies. As Eclipse has grown, organizations are using more than just the original Eclipse Platform and Java Development Tools project. They are using multiple Eclipse projects to build their products and applications. The challenge then becomes: "How do users update to new releases of multiple projects?" Callisto is the Eclipse community's attempt to answer this question. It is a coordinated release of 10 projects on the same day, June 30.


Bentley: What do those involved hope to accomplish?
Milinkovich: Releasing 10 projects on the same day accomplishes two things: 1) It allows adopters (ISVs and IT shops) to pick up the new releases all at the same time, so you don't have to wait until the last project is released, and 2) You don't need to worry about version compatibility between different projects, since they are synchronized and released on the same day.


Bentley: How is it possible to coordinate so many developers and so much code in such a manner that the release schedule stays on track?
Milinkovich: I think Callisto has shown the Eclipse community has a great model for shipping large-scale projects. I think there are three factors to the success:


  1. Architecture. Eclipse is built on a modular component architecture that includes well-defined extension points. This is essential for defining how the different projects integrate and interoperate. The modular architecture allows each project team to develop, test and release with minimal dependency on other projects.
  2. Governance. Each project team at Eclipse is responsible for defining the features and roadmap of their project. There is no top-down command and control system that attempts to control the overall release, other than its schedule. The projects define their plan and roadmaps based on listening to their communities and working with the other projects.
  3. Process. The open source development process fosters discipline in software development. Being transparent and open makes it easy to get quick and useful feedback from your users. Eclipse also uses an agile process of regularly making milestone releases available that lead up to the final release. This allows the projects to "practice" their integration release and also allows them to get feedback from the community.

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