Eclipse Foundation synchronizes largest ever open-source project release

The Eclipse Foundation is making history this week with what looks to be the largest ever synchronized open-source project release. The Callisto Simultaneous Release initiative coordinates 10 Eclipse project upgrades, including business intelligence and reporting tools, a modeling framework, a Web tools platform, test and performance tools, integrated development environments, and the latest version of the Eclipse tooling framework (3.2) itself—all of which will be available for download this Friday, June 30.

"The Eclipse community wants to be a predictable supplier of technology for our consumers, including both ISVs and enterprise IT shops, so that they can develop release plans for their applications and products with a high degree of confidence," says the Eclipse Foundation's executive director Mike Milinkovich.

BEA Systems, for example, views the combined release of Eclipse 3.2 and the 1.5 version of the Web Tools Platform (WTP) as a key part of its "blended" strategy of "aggressively bringing products to market which can leverage these crucial advancements to help simplify Java development." Business Objects plans to use WTP, the 3.2 version of Graphical Editor Framework, and the Data Tool Platform 1.0 in combination as the foundation for its Crystal Reports for Eclipse product. 

Callisto coordinates the releases of 10 top-level project teams, Milinkovich tells AppTrends, which actually results in the release of more than 10 projects. Because some top-level projects are managed as a single unit and others are portfolios of several smaller projects, 23 of the foundation's 63 projects are being released on Friday. 

Milinkovich characterizes the Callisto "release train" as a bottom-up, community-led initiative. "For the most part, we just got out of the way," he says. The idea emerged from the work of the foundation's planning council and requirements council, both of which are let by the project sponsors. Work on the projects themselves involved 15 software companies who contributed 260 developers from 12 countries, he says.

The goal of the coordinated, complementary project release is to spur adoption, Milinkovich says, but Callisto has a side effect. "It has also helped to seed some of the new projects with the Eclipse culture of agile, iterative development," he says. "It was a kind of cross-project, cultural transplant."

The Eclipse Foundation plans to synchronize another multiple-project release next year, Milinkovich says. He points out that this year marks the third year in a row the foundation has released an upgrade of the Eclipse platform at the end of June. Eclipse 3.0 was release on June 28, 2004, along with Test and Performance Tools Platform (TPTP) and the C/C++ IDE (CDT) upgrades; and Eclipse 3.1 was release on June 28, 2005, along with WTP, TPTP, CDT, Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools, Eclipse Modeling Framework, and Eclipse Visual Editor upgrades. He can't say how many projects will be involved in the next Callisto release train, but he expects more than 10. Participation is voluntary, but the release train has quickly become a right of passage among foundation members.

"It demonstrates that a project has reached a certain level of maturity and stability to be able to hit the release date," Milinkovich says.

The complete list of projects in the Callisto Simultaneous Release includes:

  • Business Intelligence and Reporting (BIRT) tools 2.1
  • C/C++ IDE (CDT) 3.1
  • Data Tools Platform 1.0
  • Modeling Framework 2.2
  • Graphical Editor Framework 3.2
  • Graphical Modeling Framework 1.0
  • Test and Performance Tools Platform 4.2
  • Web Tools Platform 1.5
  • Visual Editor 1.5
  • Eclipse Project 3.2

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].