Thursday, February 16, 2006

Free beer at EclipseCon?

In light of the Eclipse Community Awards free beer propaganda, I've compiled a list of individuals to whom I likely owe a Free Beer at EclipseCon. Here goes:

1. Gunnar Wagenknect. This guy is so helpful, whether reassigning bugs that don't belong to me, assigning bugs to me that should be, proposing solutions when others open Infrastructure bugs and helping maintain It's like having an extra set of hands.

2. Chris Aniszczyk: For all the work on PlanetEclipse, and for his great involvement in the community.

3. Kim & Sonia on the Platform Releng team: for working with us to make sure a release doesn't send me to the nuthouse.

4. Mike Milinkovich: call me a brownnoser if you must, but Mike deserves credit for working tirelessly and for being open to what others have to say. A great boss in every respect, if only for the fact that he's never in the office ;)

On the other hand, the following individuals likely owe ME a beer:

1. Bjorn Freeman-Benson: this guy can instantly make you feel understaffed. We sometimes see him as "300 committers suddenly wanting something." I actually think he's a program. No human can be as multitasking as him.

2. David and Naci on webtools: I did so much work for these guys, they probably owe me a case :)

3. Pascal Rapicault: for opening bugs in a language that is foreign to me, despite that being English. He probably means well, I just don't know what he means.

4. Chris Aniszczyk: He never manages to spell my name correctly. It's Denis, Chris, not Dennis. (Someone should tell him that his last name is no walk in the park ;)

So there. Come see me at EclipseCon for your Free Beer (or lemonade).

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Thumbs up for WebMasters!

Yesterday I ran a very sophisticated poll asking you if us WebMasters were doing a good job. We got an overwhelming response! Here's how you voted: 142 votes 23 votes

Thumbs-down from googlebot: 3 (*sigh* there ain't no pleasing them)

We recognized a few friends who took the time to vote, and some others got very crafty. My favorite is this one:

Thanks, guys! You know, you could have sent us an e-mail to say that :-)

It was fun to notice that the overwhelming majority use Firefox (115) and a few *nix users (15).

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Are we doing a good job?

With millions? of users, 600+ committers in 50+ projects, 13 servers, 10 co-workers and 1 boss to report to/manage/take-care-of/help/assist, we WebMasters think we're doing a good job of keeping running smooth and fast, while maintaing a decent level of security and responding to requests for new infrastructure features or changes in a timely fashion.

Do you agree? Are we doing a decent job? Cast your vote now:

You WILL get a 404 Page not found for both links. Innovative polling, no? We'll gather the responses from our Apache logs tomorrow and post the results. Feel free to open Bugs with your comments, suggestions or infrastructure enhancement requests!

[Updated to specify it's the WebMasters looking for feedback]

Friday, February 10, 2006

A community that listens

We get these e-mails all the time:
im trying to build a new plugin, but the plugin state is not saved. After i read the help, which by the way is bullsh1t, i still dont have a clue how to make the plugin remeber its state. Can you, please, send me some info on the exact plugin setup!

When we get mail like this, we usually refer the sender to a newsgroup, in this case to the eclipse.newcomer or the eclipse.platform newsgroup. I also offered this particular fellow some help to post better documentation if he wished to write some up. Most often, they answer back, surprised that someone actually read their question and offered help.

And we're not the only ones listening - quickly browsing through the Eclipse newsgroups reveals thousands of posts by our committers and contributors lending a helping hand in a way no one else can: they actually wrote the software, and they're helping others use and extend it.

It's fun to see everyone chip in and help. An enthusuastic "you rock!" to everyone who spends countless hours reading and answering messages on the newsgroups!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Move over Platform, here comes Web Tools

For the longest time, the most downloaded project at was Eclipse itself - the Platform and SDK that everyone knows and loves. But there's a new kid on the block, and that kid is Web Tools.

Prior to December 2005, the Web Tools project occasionally flirted with the bottom positions of the top-10 downloads. A few weeks ago, with the launch of Web Tools 1.0, it landed the #2 spot. Today, it claimed top spot, with a whopping 3,400% increase in downloaded files since December 2005. Wow. Web Tools is also the #2 visited project website at, surpassed only by BIRT.

Congrats to the Web Tools team. Nice work!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Eclipse downloads page grows a brain

When you download a file from, you're usually asked to pick a mirror site. The list of mirrors now detects where you are and suggests a random mirror site in the same country as you. Failing that, it tries to find mirrors in the same continent and lists those first.

With this, the whole idea of asking you which mirror you want to use is obsolete. Your download could start immediately from what was detected as being "the closest mirror". Just try this link to some random JAR file, and you'll see what I mean (note: your automatic download may randomly be served by servers, as we don't want to put 100% of the burden on our mirrors).

The Eclipse Update Manager (Help/Software Updates/Find and install) works in a similar fashion. When you launch an update, it asks the servers for a list of mirrors and in return, asks you which one to choose. But the first mirror in the list should already be one of the closest to you.

What I think would be really neat is if you didn't need to pick a mirror site - either by a) Update picks the first mirror in the list for all the JARs that need to be downloaded, or b) Update asks for the best mirror for each JAR. Option b) gets my vote, because the Update could then use a different mirror, in the same country, for each file that needs to be downloaded (think multi-threading - speed - yay!).

Bug 99412 is open to discuss mirror support in Update manager and the discussion in that bug contains lots of ideas on how mirroring can be done.

Of course, a built-in bittorrent client would be really neat also, but then there are NATs, firewalls, ports, file integrity and a whole other bunch of stuff to worry about.