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Heavyweight Helios crushes Eclipse's past

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Hard on the heels of Oracle's NetBeans 6.9 comes the traditionally bigger annual update to its time-honored nemesis Eclipse - and this year, it's bigger still.

The Eclipse Foundation has announced delivery of its 2010 release train codenamed Helios, its largest ever coordinated update of developer and runtime projects.

Helios updates 12 packages for developers working in PHP, C/C++, and Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE), all plugging into the underlying open-source Eclipse framework.

Helios spans 39 project teams, with 490 committers working on more than 33 million lines of code. Four years ago, the Callisto release train coordinated just 10 teams with 260 committers and seven million lines of code, hailed in 2006 as "a major undertaking".

Callisto was at the time "one of the largest multi-project releases undertaken by an open source community," Eclipse claimed.

Eclipse inaugurated the release-train concept to make its beloved tools more reliable for ISVs. Conceived in late 2001 as a simple Java and C/C++ developer tools framework, Eclipse has since mushroomed: by 2006, it included business intelligence tools, and with a growing code base and increasing ISV pick up, it became essential that commercial partners could rely on Eclipse projects and plug-ins working reliably.

In this year's update are packages concentrating on Linux, web, and enterprise development.

A Linux IDE package is designed to make development of Linux applications easier. The package includes an integrated tool chain for building C/C++ applications and the Eclipse Linux Tools project that includes integrations with popular Linux utilities such as GNU Autotools, Valgrind, and OProfile.

A Javascript debug framework has been added in order to integrate debuggers such as Rhino and Firebug, while a JavaScript IDE package makes it easier for to find, install, and use an Eclipse-based IDE the Foundation said.

The Web Tools Platform project, meanwhile, has added the ability to support, create, run and debug applications using Java EE 6, including Servlet 3.0, JPA 2.0, JSF 2.0, and EJB 3.1.

You can read more about what's inside Helios here

Reducing security risks from open source software

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