I’ve spoken about this in the past, but it’s a pretty important topic, so I thought I’d bring it up again (and will likely do so again)…
One of the best ways to keep up to date with what’s happening at Eclipse is to listen in on bugzilla. Bugzilla is where bugs are reported, and where conversations concerning those bugs are recorded. You want to understand why a certain design decision is made? The answer is likely somewhere in Bugzilla.
Browsing Bugzilla is just painful. Especially if you’re not looking for anything inparticular. Unfortunately, there is no “find me interesting stuff” search option — though maybe Denis can implement that on one of those days when he has nothing to do (note sarcastic tone). The best way to keep track of what’s happening is to get Bugzilla to email you by telling it to send you a copy of any email sent to specific mailboxes; generally some sort of project mailbox. You can find the instructions for doing this here.
I listen to a whole bunch of different projects, but not all. I change the list once in a while to listen to different project activity. Denis laughed at me when I asked if there was an easy way to just listen to everything; apparently that would generate thousands of emails (yikes!). Since I became editor-in-chief of the Eclipse Corner Articles, I’ve started following community.articles-inbox (tack “@eclipse.org” to the end) to keep track of discussion around new article ideas and submissions.
Anyway… bottom line is this: if you really want to understand Eclipse at a fundamental level, following Bugzilla conversations is a great way to make it happen.