Details were unveiled today about project b4, a new release of Eclipse focusing on the past. Project lead Paul Rubens said "We're especially interested in the Baroque era, but all the contributions to Eclipse over the centuries will be gathered in this release."
An example of the historical breadth of the project can be seen in a patch contributed by Roman Centurion Lucius Vorenus. "We were a little concerned about support as the author has been dead for over 2000 years, but his patch applied cleanly so we decided to go for it." said Rubens. "The patch introduced the ISlaveResource interface and all of his unit tests passed."
Backward compatibility is an important goal of b4. "The ruins in Cyrenaica have yielded some interesting early API inscribed in stone tablets. We plan to support them all, except the ones that were already broken when we found them."
Researchers have also deciphered a patch hidden in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. "We normally would only take a patch if it is attached to a bugzilla, but the sheer beauty of this one, all in the original Latin, is too good to pass up. Besides it's just an NPE fix."
The contributions to b4 often reflect the hazards of a time when many committers' work was interrupted by violence and disease. "Many of the project teams were decimated by the Black Death, and a lot of promising contributions are unfinished. They won't compile because they end with phrases like 'castle breached, the end is near' or simply 'Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh'."
Development of b4 will be completely open and transparent according to Rubens: "Certainly it will be open, just as Roman citizenship was open to anyone who lived in the city." He hastened to add "But that was later extended to most of Italy and then even to some barbarian tribes."
The final release date for b4 is still uncertain "There are several patches in the Vatican archives we want, but now the Pope is involved in the IP review process and we don't know how long it will take."