Eclipse delivers biggest update yet

Eclipse proves the open source model, shared infrastructure which is used competitively. The predictability and regular updates demonstrate that cooperation works, across many large, competing organizations.

Eclipse Foundation logo
As important as operating systems and applications may be, the real key to software innovation lies in building better tools.

Open source toolmaking is in the hands of the Eclipse Foundation, which has now delivered its biggest release yet, dubbed Europa. Some 21 projects were updated, with 17 million lines of code, and 25 organizations in 19 countries contributing.

It's easy to minimize the importance of this. Eclipse has regular annual update cycles, which go off like clockwork each year, at the end of June. The updates are named for the moons of Jupiter, so planning is already underway for next year's Ganymede release.

Some of the largest software organizations in the world, including IBM and BEA Systems, now depend on the Eclipse process for updating their development toolkits, noted executive director Mike Milinkovich, who is based in Ottawa, Canada. It is, as I wrote last week, a way to fight against Moore's Second Law.

But it's more than that. Eclipse proves the open source model, shared infrastructure which is used competitively. The predictability and regular updates demonstrate that cooperation works, across many large, competing organizations.

Safety is another feature of this year's release, Milinkovich added. "This year everyone on the train had to go through the process of havig their Java Archive (JAR) files digitally signed by the Eclipse Foundation." This keeps malicious code out of the Eclipse system.  

So what are you going to do with Europa?

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