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Partial Eclipse

Posted by daniel on December 4, 2003 at 8:44 AM PST

Yesterday Sun announced that they would not be joining the Eclipse project. At least not now.

In the article Sun drops bid to join Eclipse, Martin Lamonica reports that after "several months of negotiations, Sun Microsystems has decided not to join the Eclipse open-source tools effort backed by rival IBM." In addition Sun "will no longer try to merge the Sun-sponsored open-source Java tools project with Eclipse."

There were several proposals for how the two communities might come together. "Initially, the two parties discussed disbanding NetBeans but quickly shifted negotiations to explore ways to coalesce the two open-source projects under a single entity, [Rich] Green [vp of the Development Platforms Group at Sun]
said. In theory, merging the two groups could create a larger community around a single set of technologies and ensure that two different projects did not create incompatible code." The article reported that "Sun is still willing to reopen discussions with Eclipse in the future."

How do you feel about this news? I'm not asking you to rant about conspiracies or political motivations. I don't know why the decision was made and can't comment on that side of it. In practical terms, what do you think this non-merger will mean? When I reach for an IDE I still prefer IntelliJ's IDEA but I periodically download and try the latest releases of Eclipse and NetBeans. They do feel different enough that merging them would not have been trivial.

I'm torn. In some ways I think this is a big deal that should really worry me. In other ways, it means that Eclipse and NetBeans will continue on their paths without having to spend the time to engineer them to work together. What do you think?

Also in Java Today features a link to an IEEE article by Craig Larman and Victor R Basili on "Iterative and Incremental Development: A Brief History". This is available as a PDF Download. Extreme Programming books stress that none of the ideas in XP are new, but you may be surprised at how far back the IID ideas go. Fred Brooks embraced the ideas in the 80s (see Mythical Man Month), and a four year project by TRW that used IID methods to "build the Command Center Processing and Display System Replacement." Ten years earlier, NASA had used IID for significant work on the Space Shuttle program. Larman and Basili wrap up the article with the observation that "even though the value of IID is well known among literate, experienced software engineers, some commercial organizations, consulting companies, and standards bodies still promote a document-driven single-pass sequential life cycle as the ideal."

How do the security models in Java and .Net stack up? Denis Piliptchouk is comparing them in a four part article. In part one of Java vs. .Net security he looks at configurability and three aspects of code containment: verification, application isolation, and language features. Denis concludes that "Java offers a lot of advantages with its configurability. When it comes to code containment, both platforms have pretty strong offerings, with .NET having slightly more choices and being more straightforward to use."

In Weblogs , James Gosling writes about The Peter Principle: software developers version. According to the Peter Principle, employees "tend to rise to their level of incompetence." Gosling points out that feature creep is software's analog to promotion of people. He writes that "it's impossible to resist adding just one more feature or extending some requirement. This feature creep continues until the whole system and organization are on the brink of falling apart. [...] It takes an extraordinarily disciplined team to say no before they've hit their pain limit."

Alan Williamson passes on a bit of experience in Tripped up by Apache XML-RPC not encoding the string type. He writes that he "came a little unstuck when hitting one particular server. I know the default value for XML-RPC is to assume the type, but this server was looking for it and kept throwing invalid RPC request." Check out his output and benefit from the warning sign he left near the trouble spot.

Today in Projects and Communities, we spotlight the RIFE project from the General Projects category. Check out the File Sharing section for binaries, source, examples, and docs to explore "all required tools and APIs to implement and perform all common website related tasks in a fast, intuitive and consistent manner." The JXTA Community points to the announcement for ZIM-Pro v 1.2 on this IM system that works "in an Intranet and/or an Internet environment using public or private ZIM-Pro Routers."

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