Thursday, May 15, 2008

p2 from the Horse's mouth

Yesterday, Eclipse superheroes John Arthorne, Jeff McAffer and Pascal Rapicault were at the Eclipse Foundation's office for a 'working lunch' to show us what p2 is all about.

p2 is essentially the next generation of Update Manager (UM) - you know that thing we sometimes use to upgrade Eclipse or, worse, to add plugins. UM was okay back in the day, but its shortcomings were really becoming apparent in everyday life. Enter p2.

p2 -- or Provisioning 2 -- is a new system for provisioning software deployments on your computer. For the Eclipse user like myself, this means easier -- and more robust -- installs and upgrades.

From the quick demo, I saw p2 handle multi-threaded downloads from multiple mirrors, selecting the fastest ones for transfers. It also handles 'bad' mirrors by reverting to the home site when all else fails. This robustness is definitely lacking in the current UM. I also saw Pascal download a small (5MB) launcher, from which he proceeded to install only a small set of Eclipse plugins, rather than download the entire 140MB SDK. Pascal also swore (in French!) that p2 can handle upgrading Eclipse upgrades that UM cannot, such as 3.2 -> 3.3.

At the end of the p2 demo, I was pretty excited. p2 paves the way for future generations to upgrade and install Eclipse -- just because it can be fun.

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