IBM’s open source Eclipse platform is an incredibly powerful development tool. Despite the fact that it’s a bit of a resource hog, the productivity gains I get from it are well worth it. Thanks to its open source license, there are an increasing number of excellent tools that let me work with anything from PHP to PovRay.

IBM does a pretty good job of soliciting input from the development community, and in many cases they respond well. But not today.
There’s one critical flaw in Eclipse that has to do with its essentially flat project structure. There’s also a fair bit of demand for a fix: Of the twelve unresolved bugs with more than fifty votes. “Better Project Organization” has seventy-six. It ranks seventh.

Today some genius on the project decided to change the priority of this bug to P5. That’s the bottom of the list. This works out to roughly “we’ll get to this about the time hell starts to freeze over.”

I suspect that the problem is that the current project structure runs deep into the code, and that fixing it is going to be a lot of work. Tough. It’s a real problem, and downgrading it to P5 is an insult to the community as well as a real limitation in the platform.

So it’s time to lobby. If you use Eclipse, read the details of the problem, and if you think it’s an issue, then submit a vote for it. Another 75 votes will put it in the number two position, at which point some pointy-haired boss is likely to start asking questions, and then maybe something will get done.

This is one of the real powers of an open source development process. A vendor can’t say “yeah that would be nice but we don’t have much demand for it” when the demand data is out in the open. Whoever thought they could get away with burying this one in “P5 purgatory” must have recently moved from the proprietary side of IBM where you can get away with that kind of stunt… at least until the competition wakes you up. In open source, the wake-up call comes in a lot quicker.

Someone should answer that call.