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[equinox-dev] DS and bundle stop/start

I came across an interesting problem today involving DS and expicitly starting/stopping bundles. After chatting with Tom he suggested I raise it here for general awareness and to discuss whether the behaviour makes sense.

In various places in p2 today we explicitly start bundles for various reasons. We typically use Bundle.start(Bundle.START_TRANSIENT) for this purpose. We are starting to use DS in p2 today, and we have a few places where a bundle acquires a service that it registered via DS in its own BundleActivator.start method. It turns out that DS only processes/starts service components synchronously for bundles that are lazy started. If you start a bundle explicitly the DS processing occurs asynchronously, and as a result the services provided via DS are not available at the time the bundle starts. The result is subtlely different bundle behaviour (or outright failures), if a bundle is started explicitly via Bundle#start versus implicitly via lazy activation:

1) Lazy start case:
 a) bundle's service component is processed and services provided by the component are registered by DS
 b) bundle activator starts, and can use services registered in 1a)

2) Activation via Bundle.start(Bundle.START_TRANSIENT):
  a) bundle's activator starts, and services are not yet available
  b) bundle's service component is processed and services provided by the component are registered by DS

It turns out there is a coding pattern that can be used to make the explicit start case match the lazy start case:

                        final Bundle bundle = ...;//get some bundle

The call to start(Bundle.START_ACTIVATION_POLICY) causes DS to process the bundle and register its component services, but does not start the bundle. The second call to start with Bundle.START_TRANSIENT actually starts the bundle.

The moral of the story seems to be that we need to use this "double start" coding pattern anywhere we are starting bundles, because those bundles might be using DS and relying on the activation order. Or, perhaps someone has a suggestion for changes that can be made to the framework or DS so that these cases behave consistently...