[galileo] Install Plug-ins into Eclipse IDE

If you read my last blog “Whats your Target ?” you have identified what bundles you need in your IDE.

Which Eclipse 3.5 Download to use ?

Before Eclipse 3.5 Galileo normaly I started using EPP packages:

  • EPP RCP as starting point for my client and server runtime – projects of an OSGI Equinox Enterprise Application
  • EPP Modeling for my oAW projects modeling for and generating code into these Runtime projects


Using Eclipse 3.5 Galileo the story is different:

  1. the good news: its now much easier to install and manage Plug-Ins and their dependencies
  2. the bad news: there are no EPP packages yet for OSX Cocoa 64-bit (Bugzilla 281501), but because of 1. it doesn’t matter 😉

BTW: I still think that the EPP packages are great for users to get some pre-configured plug-ins for different domains (Modeling, Java EE, RCP, …) or to test out Eclipse Projects. Its an easy HowToStartWithEclipse entry point.

Download Eclipse 3.5 Galileo SDK

For my daily work I prefer to start with the Eclipse SDK – in my case for OSX Cocoa 64Bit


Download from here and install it.

Hint: If using Cocoa 64-Bit you should be sure, that you can use Java 6 or Java 5 64 Bit: HowTo use Eclipse Cocoa-64 Bit.

Configure eclipse.ini and insert / modify some vmargs, per ex.:


These values may be different in your case, but the default values normaly have to be increased.

Hint: You’re using Eclipse on OSX first time ? You miss the eclipse.in ? HowTo edit Eclipse Start Parameters under OSX.

Now you’re ready to start Eclipse.

What is installed in your Eclipse 3.5 SDK ?

I promise that you’ll use the “About Eclipse” Command more then before, because it’s the door to your Installation treasure:

about sdk

Click on Installation Details and you’ll get informations about your Installed Software:

installed software sdk only

at the moment only the SDK.

There’s an Installation History we’ll use later.

You can take a look at the Features currently installed:

installed software sdk only - features

If you select a Feature (PDE in this case) and click on Plug-in Details you see all Plug-Ins installed by this Feature:

installed software sdk only - features - plugins

You can also explore all Plug-ins and the Configuration. We’ll use this later, too.

These detailed and structured informations about your installation provided by Eclipse 3.5 Galileo help to “understand” whats inside your IDE.

You’re impressed ? Wait – this is only the tip of the iceberg – Galileo is really cool 😉

HowTo install Plug-Ins ?

Now the next step: you need more then provided by standard SDK ? There are many ways to install new Plug-ins (bundles).

There’s a new Preference Page coupled with “Install new software…

preferences av upd sites

These Software Sites are installed from Galileo by default. You can add your own, test the connection, disable Sites and using Export… / Import… its easy to share sets of Software Sites between diffferent installations or with others.

Menu Help -> Install new software… opens this View:

install new available software

Work with… selects the Software Site, you can enter only a fragment of the Name …

install new available software fragment of name

or even Add a new Site.

There are some Options you can check to get only the latest versions, hide already installed software and so on.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for, try to uncheck “Group items by category” – not all available Plug-ins are categorized.

Now let us install XML Editors because its useful to have them. You dont have to think about “which is the categtory to look into ?” – simply type something into the search field:

install new available software search xml

Then select Mylyn the same way:

install new available software search mylyn

Now you hit Add and follow the Wizard until Finish.

Hint: Before clicking Add clear the Search field – otherwise you’ll not found all selected items on the next pages.

Then P2 gets all the new Plug-ins and installs them into the IDE. At the end of this process you’ll get the old known message

install new available software restart

From my experiences now in many cases you can hit “Apply Changes” without problems – but to go the safe way Restart.

Its up to you to look at the Installation Details again and check the Installed Software, Features, Plug-ins and Installation History.

Isn’t this cool ? P2 resolved all the Dependencies under the Hood and installed all whats needed to make XML Editors and Mylyn run 🙂

Install from old Eclipse Installations

There’s also a way to install Plug-ins from old Eclipse Installations. (see Blog from Peter Friese)

Install on-the-fly (add Mylyn Connectors thru P2)

What you can do with P2 demonstrates Mylyn in Eclipse 3.5:

if you create a new Task you’ll found a new Option “Install More Connectors

mylyn new task

Clicking on the Button “Install More Connectors…” you get:

mylyn install connectors

Then the normal “Install new Software…” process is started. Imagine what you can do in your own applications with P2 !

Do you need the Dropins folder ?

A year ago I had much more inside the Dropins folder then now, because most of the plug-ins in the meantime have a Software-Site.

But if you’re using Plug-ins where no Software Site is available, then the Dropins folder is a great place to store the downloaded Plug-Ins and Features.

It’s easy to use: just copy the Plug-ins (and perhaps features) into the dropins folder.

You’ll find the dropins folder after installation of Eclipse directly inside the eclipse folder:


you can use some different  structures to place the plug-ins into the Dropins folder – I prefer to separate them by domain:

  • /dropins/exampleA/plugins/…
  • /dropins/exampleB/plugins/…
  • /dropins/exampleC/eclipse/features/…
  • /dropins/exampleC/eclipse/plugins/…

The Dropins folder is also very handy if you’re testing some of your  plug-ins.

After copying plug-ins into the Dropins folder its the best to restart Eclipse – if there’s a problem try restarting using -clean (inserted into eclipse.ini)

HowTo share a Dropins folder ?

If you have some Eclipse installations using same bundles , then you can also share these plug-ins instead of copying them into each installation.

Create a folder like /mySharedDropins anywhere. Inside the folder use the same structure then in your normal Dropins folder.

Now you have to tell your Eclipse that there’s a shared Dropins folder:

Edit eclipse.ini and insert this line:


What about sharing Mylyn between different Eclipse Installations ?

We’ve seen howto share the Plug-ins from Dropins folder, but if you like Mylyn then you also want to share your Mylyn data between your Eclipse installations.

You’re in luck: there’s an easy way. Open Preferences -> Mylyn – > Tasks, click on Advanced


In the Task Data section just  set your Data Directory to your MylynData and you’re done. But have in mind, that Mylyn isn’t really multi-user – you’re only sharing the data between your Eclipse Installations.

HowTo modify / enhance your Plug-in – Installation ?

Now you have installed Galileo Plug-Ins into the IDE – this was really easy, But what about modifying the Installation ?

We have to add some 3rd Party Plug-ins, Update the Installation, Revert or Uninstall.

Read more in my next blog “HowTo manage Plug-Ins in your Eclipse IDE ?

7 responses

  1. Awesome post, both for Eclipse newbies and experienced users who haven’t had the time to keep updated about P2 (myself included).

  2. Wonderful summary, thanks a million.

    >> These Software Sites are installed from Galileo by default.
    The predefined sites are not coming up for me, after a clean install – so I have to hunt for those URLs everytime I reinstall (which happened a few times..)

    Any idea on what could be wrong? I’m using Eclipse 3.5 on Debian squeeze, in a so-called ‘shared install’ (which I guess is the normal case on unix, install stuff into /usr/local as read-only; ‘configuration’ is kept @home).

    • Gergo,

      I’m only working on OSX and Windows, so I dont know why this happens on Debian.
      The easiest way is to export your software sites, then its only one clickto import all after re-installing.


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