EclipseCon Exercise Thursday: 570K in total

>> Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday morning we had 24 hardy eclipse family members arrive for a run.

Today the other runners decided to award me today's jacket for organizing the running.  Thanks!

Special thanks to EclipseSource and the Eclipse foundation for sponsoring this event.  It was a lot of fun!  I had someone come up to me at the poster session last night and say that they had found a new business partner while running. That's what EclipseCon is all about.  Community and conversation.

A special kudos to Olivier Thomann, the JDT Core lead,  who ran 5K every day despite not being a runner before attending the conference.  Also, thanks to everyone who came out so early in the morning despite some very late nights.

I hope everyone has safe flights home!


Ada Lovelace day at EclipseCon

>> Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March 24 is Ada Lovelace day.  This is a day that to celebrate the achievements of women in science and technology.  As you are probably aware, the number of women participating in open source communities is very low.  From Noise to Signal.

I think it's fitting that I have been able to spend today at EclipseCon with so many of my peers.  As I look around the rooms during talks and tutorials, I think I see more women that I've seen at previously.  I don't think the Eclipse Foundation has data on attendees by gender, so my observations are purely anecdotal.

Yesterday, I participated in a build panel.  When you enter a room to listen to a talk, the conference staff will hand you a card to put in the +1, 0 or -1 bucket to indicate your opinion when you exit.  At the entrance of the room for the build panel, I told the conference staff member at the door that I didn't need a card because I was a speaker.  She looked at me and said. "Really?  You're a speaker? I haven't seen a female speaker all day. Way to go!".

So this Ada Lovelace Day, I'd like to dedicate to the women attending and speaking at EclipseCon.  For the women who have attended EclipseCon this year but not been a speaker, I encourage you to consider submitting a talk next year.

With that in mind, I'm going to head off to a talk by Susan McCourt and Steffen Pingel on the new Mylyn discovery ui in p2.


EclipseCon Exercise Wednesday: Still going strong - now at 450K

We had 28 people show up this morning for EclipseCon Exercise. Considering all the activity last night at the Hyatt bar, this is very impressive.

Today's winner won an Eclipse jacket for the oldest running shirt  (we are very flexible with the categories here :-).  A shirt from 1997!

Let's keep it up for tomorrow morning and the last day of the conference. Tomorrow's contest category may be the hotly contested "Best Committer or Contributor Calves". May the best calves win.

This morning, I was remarking that it was amazing that so many people continued to show up every morning. One of the other runners said "Maybe people just love to run." I like that.

See you tomorrow morning at 7am!


EclipseCon Exercise Tuesday: 310K and counting

>> Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I expected the crowd to be diminished today since the shirts were distributed yesterday and a lot of people were celebrating late into the night. No. Eclipse community, you delivered. Look at this picture.

About the same number of people as on Monday. Today's prize category was a "Best Running Shoes". Patrick Paulin won with his Vibram Five Fingers.

I'm so happy that people continue to get up and running for EclipseCon exercise.

Tomorrow's theme is "Best Running Shirt". Wear an old shirt, or a new shirt recently acquired at the conference for the chance to win an Eclipse jacket courtesy of the foundation.

If you're wondering where the 310K came from, it's the approximate number of people who attended multiplied by 5K a person.

See you tomorrow morning at 7am in the Hyatt lobby!


Eclipse Run Time was a Fun Time

>> Monday, March 22, 2010

We had 30+ people turn out for EclipseCon exercise this morning.  This is a new EclipseCon Exercise attendance record!  Way to go!

EclipseSource generously provided technical t-shirts. Since so many people showed up, they all were distributed the first day.

Today's contest category for an Eclipse jacket was "Runner from farthest away".  The winning runner was from India.   Congratulations! Thanks to the Eclipse Foundation for supporting this event.

We went for between a 5-6K run on the bike trail behind the conference centre.  There were lots of different pace groups.  Some first time runners.  Great job everyone!  If you had a hard time with the run, remember that pace makes a huge difference.  So slow it down a bit if you didn't feel good when you got back to the conference centre. It's just a fun run not a race.    No need to feel nauseous before breakfast :-)

When we returned to the Hyatt, the staff had water bottles and towels for everyone.

Thanks to those who had run this route last year and led the way. I  look forward to seeing you tomorrow morning.


EclipseCon Build Panel: It's not rocket science, it's release engineering

>> Friday, March 19, 2010

There will be a build panel next Tuesday afternoon at EclipseCon. I'll be one of the panellists and hope that it will be a constructive discussion.  Have a question about release engineering but were afraid to ask? This is your chance!

Photo credit clix at

We have gifts from our new friends at the Hudson project to give away at the build panel.   Hudson is an open source project for a continuous integration server that's in widespread use, including on  Like eclipse, it has a plugin architecture that allows you to add functionality incrementally and the community contributes plugins to make Hudson better.   The first thirty people who ask the build panel a question will receive a Hudson sticker to affix to their laptop. 

The Hudson committers are also having a hackathon this weekend, if you happen to be in the Santa Clara area this Friday and Saturday.


Ten things I wish I'd known as young committer

>> Thursday, March 18, 2010

On Monday afternoon, I'm giving a short talk at EclipseCon entitled Eclipse Top Ten. My presentation will discuss the important lessons I've learned while interacting with the Eclipse community. Release engineers build SDKs but along the way I've learned about building community as well.

I prepared the slides with the help of the excellent book Presentation Zen that that my Eclipse colleague Lars Vogel recommended.  One of the suggestions in the book is to present interesting pictures with as little text as possible.  This is to encourage the audience to listen and interact with the speaker, instead of spending time reading text heavy slides.

Photo credit Gábor Shajda

If you look closely, you will notice the billiard balls are scratched, and a bit worse for wear.  I think that's fitting, because as a long time Eclipse committers, some of us are in a similar condition. The steady stream of bugzillas that has rained down upon us for years does leave some scar tissue:-)

For the draft of this talk, I wrote down a list of 50 different things I've learned working in our open source community.  I had to do a lot work to condense it down to ten.  Given the material I had, I could have had a completely different talk. The end result is a candid and humourous look at the Eclipse community, and how you can get involved to make it better.

What have you learned from open source?  The talk is from my perspective, but I'm sure others have much to contribute to this discussion. I look forward to speaking with you at EclipseCon.


EclipseCon Exercise: Vote for prize categories

There will be Eclipse swag available at EclipseCon exercise. Vote now on the criteria to win. You can vote for four difference categories, one for each day.

Next week is EclipseCon. Interesting talks.  New technology.  Awards.  Surprises.  Lego.  Robots. Chats with old friends and making new ones.  What's the perfect start to such a great day?  Running.  Here are the steps to ensure your bun(dle)s are running at EclipseCon.

1) Sign up on the EclipseCon exercise wiki so we know you're coming.  So far there are 30+ people signed up - fantastic - looking forward to seeing you there!

2) Pack your sneakers, running shoes or trainers. Whatever you call them, make sure they end up in your suitcase. Shorts and a shirt too.  As Chris mentioned, there will be EclipseCon exercise shirts for the first 30 runners.

3) Get out of bed for and meet in the Hyatt Lobby at 7am.

The last one is really key.  Many of my running friends say "Getting out of bed is the hardest part of running". There's some truth to that. The good news is that it's California.  Sunny and warm. Palm trees.   Look at this forecast.

Looking forward to seeing you at EclipseCon Exercise!


Confessions for the EclipseCon Speaker

>> Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I recently read a very funny and informative book about the pitfalls to avoid while speaking in public.  Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun.  If you need a great book to read on the plane to EclipseCon, I highly recommend it.

Some of the most important points in the book
  • Practice, practice practice your talk. This allows you to optimize the organization of your talk and smooth out your delivery.
  • If you are speaking to a small number of people in a large room, try to convince them to move to the front of the room. People who are sitting together will change the dynamic of the talk.  Speaking to a group of people who are scattered around a large room is not optimal.
  • Go over the agenda in your introduction. For instance, say "I'm going to talk about five points at three minutes a pop. The final five minutes will be for you to ask questions". This will give people an idea of what to expect.
  • Interact with your audience.  Ask trivia questions, for a show of hands or ask the audience to solve a problem.
  • I notice that a lot of people are working during talks instead of listening to the talk. My employer paid money to send me to a conference and I'm investing my time.  So I make a point listen instead of doing my regular job even though it will be painful to catch up with work later on.  In the book, he suggests asking people to close their laptops and if they are bored after five minutes, go back to surfing the web.  Again, the audience it gets the audience engaged in your talk and your show that your care about your audience.  Of course, if they are blogging or tweeting about how interesting your talk is, they can keep the laptop open :-)

The final chapter of the book describes some of the worst things that have happened while people giving a presentation. There's fire, water, and SWAT teams.  Hilarious. I don't give that many presentations in my day to day job of building bundles, so I found this book was a great resource . With that note, I must get back to writing slides, practicing my talks, and fixing bugs.


Better builds with Hudson, hardware and help

>> Monday, March 15, 2010

Some might say that the build is one of the engines drive a project.  The Eclipse and Equinox build needs a tune up.

(Image © Paul Gorbould,, licensed under Creative Commons by-nc-sa 2.0)

A simplified summary of our build process today is as follows.  (Many of these processes occur in parallel.)
  1. Checkout code from to an IBM build server.
  2. Generate build scripts, compile code and create a master feature of all the bundles used in the build.
  3. Copy master feature to for signing, copy back to IBM server when complete.
  4. Run the p2 director to provision products and use repository tooling to slice out zipped repositories.
  5. Run JUnit and performance tests.

Here are some of the fundamental ways this process can be improved:


Problem: The build process takes too long to complete code checkout, compilation, signing and packaging. It's also also too monolithic.

Solution: Take advantage of the local access to the filesystem by running the build on the Hudson install at at the foundation.  Now that we have hardware donations there will be new Hudson slaves for more build cycles.  Also, breaking the build up into smaller builds and chaining them together will let us identify problems earlier. See bug 302436 for details. We run test builds on Hudson today and they work very well.


Problem:  There aren't enough test machines to run our tests in a reasonable timeframe.  Committers aren't able to rerun the tests on the same hardware that was used in the build.

Solution: New test  hardware at the Eclipse foundation is a start. We'll probably need more but it's a good beginning. Thank you to all the companies who have donated hardware to the foundation recently.



Today we run our JUnit tests  on Windows machines by invoking them via rsh.  This allows us to manipulate the display while running ui tests.


This is where you come in.

I'm not sure how to do this on Hudson.  Sonatype has a series of articles on running tests in a multiple OS environment and they state that this is still a problem for them.  If anyone has any pointers to articles on how to do this it would be appreciated.   Please update bug 305213 with your suggestions.

Also, we need some rack mounted Macs to run JUnit tests on this important platform.  So once we get the new hardware integrated, some more hardware donations would be welcome :-)


AFOL at EclipseCon

>> Monday, March 08, 2010

I read an interesting book over the weekend.  Groundswell  is a book from the Harvard Business Press written by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff.  It discusses how to use social media to open up communication channels with your customers. For instance, how to harness the wisdom of the crowds to design better products and improve technical support.  The book describes the approaches of several companies and shows the ROI calculations for the investment in social media.

One of the companies that was profiled was the Lego Group.   I learned that Lego is the sixth largest toy manufacturer in the world. Over a billion dollar a year business.  And somewhere between 5-10% of their sales go to AFOLs.  Adult fans of Lego.  In fact, they have an executive in charge of marketing to AFOLs because it is such a significant market.  AFOLs hang out in an online community called LUGNET.  The Lego Group's approach to social media is to have Lego Ambassadors in the AFOL community listen to the needs of the people who view Lego as a building material, not just a toy. And these amabasadors are paid for their services in Lego bricks, not money.  Pretty cool.

So what does this have to do with Eclipse?  EclipseCon 2010 is having a e4-Rover Mars challenge where you have the chance to use Eclipse technology to maneuver Lego robots.  Go to EclipseCon and add four letters to the end of your name without paying for tuition.  AFOL at EclipseCon!


Community starts with conversation

>> Friday, March 05, 2010

This week, I've been writing slides for our p2 tutorial at EclipseCon. As part of this effort, I wanted to show the companies that were shipping products based on p2 or that used p2 in their internal products. I asked for suggestions on the p2-dev list. Here's a summary of the responses.

Pretty interesting. It's a testament to the Equinox team and the larger community that so many companies are building products based on p2. If your company, belongs on the slide, let me know.

Pascal has arranged a p2 BOF at EclipseCON. It should make for interesting conversation.


Tag after Release

>> Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Last week Eclipse and Equinox 3.5.2 was released as part of the Galileo SR2 release.  So far, so good!    A big thanks goes out to David Williams for keeping all the projects on the release train in line and ready for SR2. Also, kudos to the webmasters for ensuring that the mirrors were ready for the release.

The work of the release engineer isn't done after the release bits are available.  I tag all the projects in the Eclipse and Equinox project with as R3_5_2, as well as our our map files and the builder projects.  This ensures that if required, exactly the same build can be reproduced.  In addition, it's useful for developers to be able to compare against a tag for a previous release, or to branch from a tag.

Our source resides in the /cvsroot/eclipse and /cvsroot/rt repositories. The steps I take to do this are as follows:

1. Start eclipse with a clean workspace.
2. Check out the vM2010211-1343 versions of org.eclipse.releng and the builder projects.  Every time we run a build, the org.eclipse.releng and builder projects are retagged with with the build id. M2010211-1343 is the build id of the final 3.5.2 build so I retag these projects as R3_5_2.

3. I remove the orbit map from the releng project in my workspace. There are prebuilt bundles fetched from the Orbit repository so we don't need to tag them. 
4. Replace  :pserver:anonymous with :extssh:kmoir in the remaining map files in my workspace.  I have commit rights on all the eclipse and equinox projects for this very purpose.
5. Change the connection timeout on the Team CVS client to one larger than the default.  Otherwise, your CVS connection will timeout while tagging all the projects.
6. Select the map files in my workspace.  Right click and select Team and the Tag Map File Projects option.

7.Tag as R3_5_2.

8.  Once all the tagging has completed after several hours, I will check out all the projects from the map files and compare with R3_5_2 to ensure that there aren't any files missing the tag.
9.  Install the releng tools to use the "Tag map file projects" functionality. This allows me to tag the versions of projects defined in your map files as another version without checking them out. Very useful.

  • Q.Why don't you do this tagging as part of the build process?
  • A.Eclipse and Equinox is a large project with a lot of source  - over 300 bundles and more than 30 features.  Tagging this as part of the the build each time takes a few hours and is often has CVS timeouts.  We don't need that, the build is slow enough as it is today :-) That being said, if you have a smaller project of just a few bundles, tagging the bundles with the build id could be useful.


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