The Eclipse Foundation’s Coordinated Kickoff
- By John K. Waters
- March 26, 2006
The third annual EclipseCon tradeshow produced
a swarm of news and new product announcements last week. But easily the most
intriguing recent development in the Eclipse ecosystem is the Callisto
Simultaneous Release initiative.
Word that the Eclipse Foundation was planning to synchronize the release of
10 of its 61 projects actually began circulating in January. The details seemed
to come together at the show—in particular, the final list of projects, which
- BIRT reporting tools
- C/C++ IDE
- Data Tools Platform
- EMF modeling framework and code generation facility
- Graphical Editor Framework
- Graphical Modeling Framework
- Eclipse Test and Performance Tools Platform
- Eclipse Web Tools Platform
- Eclipse Visual Editor
- Eclipse 3.2 (the Callisto release)
The collected Callisto projects are set to ship on the same day in June. If
this coordinated commencement goes off as planned, we can expect it to become an
annual event, EF executive director Mike Milinkovich told me during an interview
at the show. But more than once a year just wouldn't be practical, he said,
because newer projects are going to need to ship more often than older, more
Why go to what was undoubtedly a considerable amount of potentially divisive
fuss to coordinate a group of Eclipse project releases?
''We simply want to make it easier for our technology to be adopted,''
Milinkovich said. ''Developers are going to be winners in this, because they’re
going to get a lot of code that has been tested together. The big winners are
going to be the ISV adopters who are building products on top of Eclipse,
because they’re going to get pretty much everything they need to build their
And why these ten projects?
''It’s important to remember that this thing was not imposed from the top
down by the Foundation,'' Milinkovich said. ''Eclipse is a community, not a
software company by other means. [Callisto] was an idea created by the projects
themselves, and enlistment in the release train was absolutely voluntary. They
had to commit to hitting the dates, but that was really the only criteria.''
Milinkovich has been characteristically circumspect about Callisto, insisting
that he doesn’t want to over-hype the initiative. ''It’s not an end-to-end
solution that we’re shipping,'' he said. ''It’s 10 open-source projects that are
going out on the same day.''
I actually think Milinkovich is underselling Callisto. This is, to my
knowledge, something that has never been done by an open-source community.
It's a remarkable undertaking, because to make it work, the Eclipsicans had
to create an environment in which there’s a much deeper level of inter-project
cooperation among competitors—fierce competitors, many of whom have
committed $250,000 a year and serious people power to work with their rivals on
In fact, I predict that we'll look back on this initiative as a genuine
milestone in the evolution of OSS development. Assuming, of course that it
Callisto details (goals, plans, schedules, project status reports) are
available on the Callisto
Simultaneous Release web page.
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached
at [email protected].