Moving Eclipse projects to GitHub and GitLab

Friday, March 18, 2022 - 09:31 by Denis Roy

In 2005, there weren't many hosted forge options for developers. At the time, the Eclipse Foundation used CVS, Bugzilla and a host of other glued-together options to make these tools integrate together. We migrated from CVS to Git a couple of years later, and today the Eclipse forge still looks pretty much the same as it did a decade and a half ago.

Lately, we've been encouraging Eclipse projects currently hosted on the Eclipse Foundation's Git/Gerrit/Bugzilla forge to transition over to GitHub or GitLab. The main reason: that's where the developers are, and those are the tools they are familiar with. But more importantly: that's how all the new generations of developers are being initiated to open source, code repositories, issue trackers and -- contributing code.

Bugzilla is a bug tracker and Gerrit is a code review tool. Bugzilla is practically as old as the Internet itself and isn't actively being worked on anymore. Gerrit is solid in its own merit and under active development, but the combo defines a specific workflow that many of our projects have grown accustomed to, but is quite different from the GitHub and GitLab workflow.

Kids born in 2005 are turning 17 years old this year. They've likely been using Eclipse at school. They've been using Eclipse at home to learn to code. They've been using Eclipse to hack Minecraft mods.

And they use GitHub to pull code from. Some may even know how to fork a repo and submit a Pull Request.

If Eclipse projects want any hope of drawing those fresh young minds into their open source world, and turning casual explorers into productive contributors, it needs to be as simple as pulling a Minecraft mod. It needs to be on GitHub, or on a modern stack that works just like it, such as GitLab.

Right now, we're only encouraging Eclipse projects to migrate. And many of then already have, or are in the process of migrating. We're hoping projects see the value in moving and choose to do so on their own schedules. We understand it's a lot of work, adjusting build processes and such, and the Foundation's Infra and release engineering teams are here to help.

But in the end, we believe it's well worth it. In fact, your project's long term survival might even depend on it.