On Openness

I am a firm believer in openness. That is the reason I believe open source has such great value. The way I see it, the word open in “open source” does not just refer to the source code: it also means open communication, open structure, open management… openness in every aspect of a project.

Yet, in one of my own projects I failed to abide by my own principle. Two years ago, at the end of the summer of 2008, I left my small GSoC project – a split editor for Eclipse, in the state of a working prototype to begin a full-time job and join a master’s program. For two years now I have neglected the split editor project and kept in complete silence to the point that people have even forgotten that there was ever anyone involved in this effort.

I am now nearing the end of my master’s program and with all classwork completed am getting ready to begin work on a thesis. Before I do that, however, I wanted to clarify the state of affairs of my split editor work. I have not forgotten about it, and I am determined to complete it eventually. Although I will not have any time to dedicate to this work for another year, it is first on my queue of side projects after completing my master’s.

Actually, if anyone is willing to pick up the work now, I will be more than willing to provide whatever support I can. Here are the patches with my latest work, updated against the current Eclipse release as of the time of writing – 3.6.1 (R3_6_1 label in CVS):


The file contains four separate patches for the four Eclipse plugin projects involved in the split editor implementation:

  • org.eclipse.ui.workbench – this project contains the bulk of the split editor work.
  • org.eclipse.ui,
  • org.eclipse.ui.editors,
  • org.eclipse.jdt.ui – the above three projects contain mostly configuration changes to activate the split editor for Java and Text editors.

To see the split editor in action, check out these four projects from the Eclipse CVS repo (at label R3_6_1), apply the patches and start up an Eclipse launch configuration. If you want to try this but get lost or none of this makes sense, post a comment here and I will be happy to provide more detail.

I have always wanted to make it very easy for people to try out and experience the split editor at the earliest possible stage of its development (at which it stands currently – there are quite a few known bugs). The best way I see for this would be to share a custom build of Eclipse with the split editor work compiled in. Unfortunately, I have never been able to successfully build Eclipse from source. I gave it a shot two years ago, and more recently, I spent the last two months frantically trying to build the Eclipse 3.6/3.5/3.7 SDKs, without any success. It seems like I am not alone in this. If at any point fortune strikes me, you can be certain that Eclipse packages with split editor support will appear here immediately. If anyone is willing and able to help with this, please get in touch!


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