OK, I’m so old I remember programming before the IDEs (that’s Integrated Development Environment people, not the Ides of March for all you Shakespearian scholars). I thought that those interfaces were almost “cheating” by greatly improving the programming and engineering environment when I first ran across them.

Now, IDEs are everywhere–even PLC (or other industrial) programming. Last week I saw a re-enactment of the Siemens TIA Portal, and recently I’ve seen the advances at Beckhoff Automation and Rockwell Automation. It just keeps getting better.

If you program in Java, maybe you’ve run across the open-source project called Eclipse. When I worked for Control Engineering and covered the embedded space, I saw the kick off of the project. I had downloaded the original Java JDK as soon as it was available in the mid-90s, so I downloaded the Eclipse IDE and really liked it. I had heard that they ported it to C/C++, but by then I wasn’t covering it any longer.

The Foundation has come a long way in the past 10 years. Now, the Eclipse Foundation has launched a new initiative to enable the infrastructure and ecosystem for the support of Eclipse in industries that require Eclipse releases maintained over a very long time. Industries such as aerospace, automotive, and enterprise software are expected to support their software stack for 10 to 50 years. The new Eclipse Long Term Support (LTS) initiative will allow these companies to release bug fixes and maintenance releases of previous versions of Eclipse technologies.

The Eclipse Long Term Support initiative is led by CA Technologies, IBM, EclipseSource and SAP AG. The Eclipse Foundation, through Eclipse LTS, will provide the IT infrastructure to fix, build, sign and deploy updates for older versions of Eclipse. LTS will also enable an ecosystem of service providers, technology providers and large enterprise consumers of Eclipse to share fixes and releases. The initiative is open to any organization with an interest in long-term support and maintenance for Eclipse technology.

“This is an important next step for the Eclipse Foundation to enable the adoption of Eclipse and open source software in important industries,” said Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director, Eclipse Foundation. “LTS is going to solve some very important challenges for organizations that rely upon open source for critical applications. This is a great example of how the Eclipse Foundation is extending the services we offer to make it possible for companies to adopt Eclipse and open source software.”

LTS has been established as an Eclipse Industry Working Group and will operate under the governance of the Eclipse Foundation.

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