Friday, June 28, 2013

Kepler retrospection - was CBI a net loss?

While I was reading Kepler retrospective notes, I found this statement:
CBI was a net loss for us so far. It was a very large volume of work just to get our build back to its old state. There is benefit for others in the community to make it easier for them to run builds independently. For committers it hasn't delivered value yet.
and started immediately wondering who was the "us", and why it was "a net loss".

Fedora had it's own Eclipse build system, which was 8 x faster than current CBI build (15 minutes vs 2 hours on non-SSD drive). I've spent a lot of time getting Eclipse built with Fedora and switched to CBI before the Foundation did.

All that was (and still is) a cost, but was it really "a loss"?

I find it rather as a first step towards a really necessary move - Eclipse Foundation taking responsibility on development. The build system is first, then maybe we will get vendor-neutral architects or UX designers.

Another point is that once it is possible to easily rebuild Eclipse, we can see even right now internal Eclipse teams appearing here and there, which tend to become really valuable contributors.

Not to mention that after Kim left, it took about a month to get builds running again (at the Eclipse Foundation, we had them running in Fedora). Is it ok to have so much power depending on one person (because that is what happens if you have a large ant-based build)?

I'm sorry but I can't agree with a "net loss". It was a necessary cost. Good for the Eclipse Foundation. Good for the Eclipse.

BTW. I really hope some day UX designers or architects will be hired by Eclipse Foundation.


  1. I agree. Net loss implies it wasn't worth doing. That's really not the case here.

    And I don't think the message was intended to imply the Eclipse platform was better off with PDE build.

    In any investment, you don't calculate loss or gain purely on the investment up front. The CBI platform build will continue to provide benefit from now on.

    One more thanks to the team that made this happen. And thanks to those who tolerated/accepted their build system changing on them.

  2. "Net loss so far" does *not* imply it wasn't worth doing. Those notes reflect an honest discussion of the past year from the perspective of Platform committers, and that's all. It's absolutely the case that CBI was good for the Eclipse Foundation, good for many in the Eclipse community, and will hopefully bring about benefits for Platform committers over time as well.

  3. Have you published and documented your Fedora Eclipse build system somewhere? I had great trouble getting anything to work in official build servers without internet connection. It may be useful for other (RPM) based distributions because right now, everyone just repackages the builds, even Gentoo/Arch.

    1. Matthias,
      the problem is not that much about the build system, which is rather simple, but rather about dependency chain (you need entire maven stack, tycho, and a bunch of other dependencies), which requires (really) a lot of manhours to prepare.
      Even with the full knowledge of a build system, dependency reconciliation and discovering what does not work and why was about a week when moving from milestone to milestone.
      All that could be improved, but other distros would have to join the effort (and they did not).
      If you want to give it a try, please join #fedora-java or #eclipse-dev and look for akurtakov.