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21 February 2013, 11:51

Eclipse Foundation starts Long Term Support initiative

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Eclipse Foundation icon The Foundation has announced the Eclipse Long Term Support (LTS) initiative. With industrial uses of software which expect support and maintenance of the software stack from ten to fifty years, there has long been a desire to address this need. With the new LTS initiative, led by CA Technologies, IBM, EclipseSource and SAP AG, the Foundation will provide the facilities and processes needed to create signed deployable updates for older versions of Eclipse. This should, in turn, enable a new ecosystem of companies and enterprises to share fixes and releases. The initiative will be open to all organisations with an interest in extending the productive life of Eclipse technologies.

Historically, Eclipse releases have been managed with an annual big Eclipse release train in early summer followed by two service releases, one in the autumn and one early the following year. This rolling schedule is effective for fast moving development, but less effective for longer term support. It is with this in mind that the Eclipse LTS Working Group is being formed. Eventually, it is envisioned that the group will create and define an LTS release branch based on the release train and the future content of service releases.

The charter for the working group sees an ecosystem of consumers of technology, maintenance server providers (MSPs), self service providers (SSMPs), and project support providers (PSPs), with the MSPs and SSMPs taking the work of PSPs to support the consumers. The group will create the management processes and provide a forge dedicated to LTS versions of Eclipse software, complete with code repositories, bug tracking and software distribution and signing facilities.

The working group will also connect with Eclipse industry working groups like Polarsys and Automotive to harmonise and coordinate support efforts. The charter also details the fees for members, which range from $3000 for a small company participant to $50000 for a company with a greater than $250 million turnover that wants to be on the steering committee.

"This is an important next step for the Eclipse Foundation to enable the adoption of Eclipse and open source software in important industries," said Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director, Eclipse Foundation. "LTS is going to solve some very important challenges for organizations that rely upon open source for critical applications."


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