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[equinox-dev] Equinox summary and direction


First, thanks to everyone who has worked so hard on Equinox over the past year and a bit.  The project has been an unqualified success.  The main task was to identify and prototype an alternative runtime for Eclipse which offered standardization, dynamic behaviour and security.  OSGi fits the bill on all fronts and perhaps more importantly, we have found it fits well under Eclipse.  So well in fact that the code developed in Equinox has been adopted by the main Eclipse project and was just shipped with Eclipse R3.0.  Congratulations!

The Equinox project has been a bit of a test case approach for incubating new technology for use in the Eclipse platform.  It has had a secondary role as a path for others to get involved in Eclipse and ultimately gain commit rights.  Again here the project has succeeded with four of the OSGi code contributors now being full Eclipse committers in the Platform Core component.  I would not be surprised to see further incubator projects spring up.

We could stop here and be quite satisfied.  I believe there is more to do however.  While the details are somewhat fluid, the current direction is to continue Equinox as a place to explore new runtime related technologies that we expect to, if successful, directly impact the Eclipse Platform proper.  These should be items whichAn incomplete, randomly ordered list includes:

- Security: This include understanding the impact of running with Java 2 security enabled as well as approaches to and facilities for application level security (e.g, authentication, ACLs, ...)

- Scalability: Technology that helps Eclipse scale up to more effeciently handle 1000s of plugins as well scale down to smaller platforms and reduced functionality scenarios.  Examples include declarative service specification and framework/runtime refactoring.

- Support for dynamic behaviour and services programming:  The runtime fully supports the dynamic coming and going of plugins but it is clear that this support is challenging to put in place.  We need higher level abstractions, mechanisms and best practices for handling the changing environment.

Some of this work may well happen in the main Eclipse repository.  What work gets done in the Equinox vs Eclipse repos largely depends on a) how speculative the work is and b) who is doing the work.  We intend to remain as flexible as possible in this area.

Since the bulk of the work items have been complete the project resources (CVS, Bugzilla, ...) should be cleaned up and prepared for new work.  In particular:
- repopulate the repository with the Eclipse R3.0 code as required (note that this should be done in a different directory structure under the org.eclipse.equinox folder to reduce confusion)

- move the Equinox bugs to a to be created Platform Runtime component (the exact details are being ironed out)

- scrub the committer list.  Over the past year+ we added a number of committers to look at specific work items or areas.  For the most part, these items are complete and the committers are no longer active.  The committer list will be reduced to include only those making commitments to work on items with specific plans.  The committer list was always intended to be quite dynamic both in additions and deletions.  Removal from the list now in no way prohibits subsequent readdition.  I will discuss their status with each committer over the next few days.

- scrub the website. The website was at best sporatically maintained.  The result is an obsolete and rather incoherent mass of content.  Over the next few days I will version off and clean up the site and unlink or delete stale content.  Note that everything is in CVS so nothing is ever deleted for real.  Going forward we should have a plan for how to evolve the site content in a more coherent way.  Your suggestions are most welcomed.

Let me know if something has been missed or you have any questions or concerns in this area.

Again, thanks to everyone for the hard work.  We have definitely left Eclipse better than we found it.

Jeff