Project Community Enhancements for 2010
I mentioned in a comment last week that — pending Board approval of the 2010 budget — there are a number of items which we’re looking at for 2010 that we at the Eclipse Foundations are pretty excited about. These are some major pieces of work that we are going to be focusing our time and energy on.
There will also be a number of significant programs for the commercial members, but those will be the topic of a separate post.
- Build and Test: The team here is aggressively begging companies for the hardware contributions required to take on more of the build and test requirements for Eclipse projects. If we are successful, we will happily provide additional infrastructure and support for build and test activities for projects. But don’t forget that the hardware is actually only a relatively small part of the total solution here. The resource management that the webmaster team will take on will be a significant amount of additional work for Denis and team.
- Git: Denis and the webmaster team have been working hard on getting read-only git mirrors up and running on eclipse.org. But we really look at this as just the starting point. We view git as the SCM solution of the future at Eclipse and hope to have it up and running for as the main SCM repository for as many projects as possible by the end of 2010. Our reason for doing so is pretty simple. From what we can tell, the use of git at Eclipse is going to make it easier for contributors to make and track changes to the Eclipse codebase. And anything which gets us significantly more contributors is a very good thing.
That said, there are a couple of items that are out of the Foundation’s control that the community will have to help with.
- The CVS Team Provider that has been in the platform for years is really good. In fact, it is so good and so stable that it makes CVS very usable from within Eclipse. For git to gain traction at Eclipse, the EGit Team Provider is going to have to get good, and do so quickly. If we want to see git adopted to a significant degree, my personal belief is that we are going to have to ship EGit with Helios. My guess is that you, the community, are going to have to help make that happen through use, feedback and contribution. (Note that I do not know what the plans of the EGit project are. This is my personal opinion.)
- The Eclipse Foundation doesn’t tell projects what to do. So if git is going to be adopted at Eclipse, the projects are going to have to vote with their feet. In other words, we are going to have to see a number of the large and mature projects bite the bullet and make the transition to git. Because if there is little or no evidence of this within the projects, then the investment by the EMO will be for naught.
- In some ways, the most difficult part of this will be deciding which of the existing SCM systems we’re running to shut off. I personally have a major problem with the idea of running CVS, SVN and git for anything other than a short and constrained period of time. The main reason for this that having multiple SCM systems is a barrier to contribution for the community. If someone needs to learn three different SCM systems to interact with and contribute to three different Eclipse projects, then we have failed our community.
- “Eclipse Labs”: We’re looking at creating an Eclipse Foundation affiliated forge where projects which are based on the Eclipse platform, but are not interested in hosting at eclipse.org can run their projects. There will obviously be some constraints (e.g. only Eclipse Foundation projects can use the org.eclipse namespace, and be part of the release train) but Eclipse Labs will hopefully over time form a powerful complement to the projects hosted at Eclipse.
- “Get Involved”: We are going to be adding some variant of a “get involved” menu item to the left nav for project home pages. We want to make it easier to contributors to understand how to get involved with every Eclipse project, and we want to help projects to learn and follow best practices on how to facilitate more community involvement. Obviously, this may require some additional work for some projects, but the increases in community involvement, contributions and project diversity will be worth it to all of us.
- Artifact Repositories: We want to make it easier for adopters of Eclipse technology to find and consume the great work that’s happening in the Eclipse Foundation projects. For this reason we are going to be looking into what technologies would make it easier to consume Eclipse software. To be blunt, we don’t know what this might be at the moment. It could be Nexus or Buckminster or Tyco or something new from the B3 project. We just don’t know and we won’t be making any final decision for six or seven months. If people are interested in getting together for a BOF at EclipseCon, I think that would be a great way to move the conversation along.
As you can see, this is a pretty significant list of projects for 2010. Denis, Wayne, Ian and their respective teams are going to be carrying the ball on these. So comment at will, but please also consider buying them a beer at EclipseCon 🙂