Eclipse on Four Operating Systems

Last week, I successfully fixed the Ubuntu 7.10 installation my laptop (a Dell D820). I had been experiencing several bizarre problems; most of them unquantifiable. It just didn’t work “right”. One of the more quantifiable problems was some Java instability. Java applications (at least while running the Sun JVM) just weren’t able to run without crashing (normally, I will leave Eclipse, for example, running for weeks at a time). I assume that there was something funky in the upgrade from Ubuntu 7.04 to 7.10. I don’t begrudge the good folks at Ubuntu for the upgrade problems, since I’d been screwing around with the plumbing pre-upgrade. Besides, it’s gone now and—other than some funkiness with sound capture—everything seems to be working just fine. Great even.

While I was having stability issues, I started doing more development on some of the other workstations I have around. Specifically, I have a very nice HP workstation running Fedora 8. Fedora 8 has several Eclipse Europa-based packages, so you can get up to speed quickly by either selecting the packages you want when you install, or add later. In both cases, it installs all the necessary software and sets up handy menu entries. Very nice. I’ve been using these prepared packages and they work great. I’ve also been using Ganymede I-builds of the Eclipse IDE for RCP Developers from the Eclipse Packaging Project (EPP) which work great as expected (are you starting to notice the “great” trend?). I’ve been switching between the Fedora 8 machine and another box with similar hardware running Windows Vista with a recent Ganymede EPP I-build. At home, I have an older bit of hardware running Windows XP. I’ve got a couple of versions of Eclipse running there, including a recent Ganymede EPP I-build of the Eclipse IDE for RCP Developers which (in keeping with my established theme) works great.

The part that makes giggle is that I’ve been using these four machines to develop the same bit of software. Everything is in CVS, so keeping things synchronized is pretty easy. Eclipse Mylyn, which is included in the EPP packages, makes it really easy to flip between workstations. I have the same task query (against Eclipse Bugzilla) on all four machines. When I complete some part of a task on one machine, I store the task context on the bug. When I switch to another machine, I recall that task context (after synchronizing from CVS) from the bug and Mylyn configures my workspace to show me what I need to see for that task. CVS keeps everything in its place, and Mylyn makes sure that I can find everything. A wonderful combination (or should I say great combination?)

The bottom line for me is that Eclipse runs great on all four of these platforms. Now Mike… about that requisition for a Mac…

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