Thursday, November 30, 2006

A mirror in China

Our friends at Actuate are in the process of setting up a downloads mirror site in China. China is one of Eclipse's top downloaders, second only to the USA, and yet we have no mirror sites in China. Thanks, Actuate, I'm sure our friends in China will appreciate the gesture (and our mirrors in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand will be relieved!)

If you know of other mirror hosts in China who would like to be an Eclipse mirror, please, PLEASE, let me know at!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Where'd the bandwidth go?

Last month I celebrated my 2nd anniversary here at the Foundation -- easy to remember, as it falls on the same day as Mike's birthday. After my very first day on the job, I was invited to celebrate with the then very small Foundation team, where we enjoyed finger foods and beverages. I also got to meet a few Eclipse celebrities, such as John Duimovich and Mr. SWT (although they don't know who I am -- we sysadmins work in the shadows.)

Anyway, in these last two years, I invested a significant amount of time optimizing our bandwidth usage. When I started, our then 50 Mbps Internet connection was always 100% saturated -- not only because Eclipse was popular, but also because picking a mirror was a lot of work. With some redesigned downloads pages, our bandwidth dropped to 30 Mbps, but eventually, over several months, it crept back up to a constant 50 as more projects were added, and as more people rushed in to get their Eclipse wares. We eventually caved in and added 10 Mbps because it was the right thing to do.

Well, we eventually filled that up too, so more optimizations were in order. We learned that mirroring entire nightly builds was costly, compared to hosting the relatively few downloads ourselves, so out they came. We also created, with the same idea as nightlies, in that "older" builds don't get many downloads, so why mirror them? Wow, down to 47.

Well, here we are, November 2006, and we're back at square 1 -- since the end of September we've been hovering around saturation, at 60 Mbps. Except now, unlike back then, there's not much left to optimize -- we're using our mirrors very efficiently, and other than cutting out bits and bytes from web pages here and there, I'm running out of ideas.

I think the moral of the story is that optimizing is pointless Eclipse has a vibrant community, and its rapid popularity and momentum gains seen throughout 2005 and 2006 haven't ceased or even slowed down -- and that we sysadmins are trying desperately to keep up with the demand!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Good bug reports

Any committer will tell you that it's important to fill out a good bug report so that he/she can quickly identify and solve the issue. What is a good bug report? One that includes error messages, stack/trace dumps, screenshots, steps to reproduce, versions of Eclipse and plugins in use, and anything else they'd need to know to find the problem. In fact, so many bugs are filed with missing information that committers have asked me to create a Bugzilla bug entry template. Great idea.

Keeping this in mind, I got a good laugh from this vague bug report, opened by none other than -- you guessed it -- an Eclipse committer ;-) So committers, please keep this in mind the next time you see a vague bug report and are tempted to close it as INVALID -- it may be your own ;-)