I’ll be posting interesting news from EclipseCON this week; as it happens and as I happen to hear it ;-)

The first piece of news that Ian Skerrett and Mike Milinkovich shared was the introduction of a new runtime initiative at the Eclipse Foundation. “A runtime project at Eclipse? I thought Eclipse was a home for tooling stuff.” That’s what I would have thought if I wasn’t previously aware of the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP). RCP is the foundation for some IBM Lotus client-side products. Back in the day, folks at Eclipse realized that under the Eclipse tooling environment was a fairly robust client runtime environment. This client runtime had historically been used to run a tooling environment (i.e. a Tooling app). Supporting general purpose client-side applications was a natural next step.

The news today is a little different as it focuses on the server-side. The Eclipse Runtime project (Eclipse RT) is a new top-level project that will use the OSGi-based Eclipse Equinox runtime at the core of the top-level project. The Eclipse RT project will host several sub-projects that deliver runtime infrastructure based on Eclipse Equinox. The Project Management Committee (PMC) for Eclipse RT will be driven by Code 9, Innoopract, Sopera, Oracle and IBM.

OSGi is core to this announcement. OSGi is used to build several enterprise software products. I know that WebSphere Application Server v6.1 was built using OSGi, and I’ve read that BEA’s microkernel leverages OSGi. I know Oracle uses OSGi, but I can’t remember in what fashion. However, all of these uses of OSGi have been in the building of products, not the support of a new programming model. It will be interesting to see what traction OSGi gets as a programming model, and how Eclipse RT can help raise the profile of OSGi. If you’re using OSGi or interested in using OSGi, drop a comment with with you’re doing and how you think Eclipse RT can help. Better yet, get involved!

BTW, Eclipse Equinox is going up against Apache Felix, another OSGi-based runtime. I only mention it because Apache & Eclipse have been pretty complimentary (for the most part) in the past…but hey, competition is good for everyone. ;-)