Eclipse Source Builds (Source from CVS)

Table of Contents

  1. What is an Eclipse source build?
  2. Getting the source
  3. Building Eclipse
  4. Setting the bootclasspath
  5. Supported build platforms
  6. Known limitations


What is an Eclipse Source Build?

Eclipse source builds provide developers with an automated method for checking out source code and other required resources, compiling the Java code, generating javadoc, and finally, creating a zip file of an Eclipse runtime from a downloaded source tree. The end result of a source build is a runnable Eclipse.


Getting the Source

A source build download contains shell and ant scripts that fetch and build a particular version of Eclipse. Although you can manually edit build.xml files in each feature and plug-in, they are typically generated by the Eclipse pde-build plug-in. As a result you will need to download a fresh source build zip file when major changes occur to Eclipse source, such as the addition or removal of plug-ins. The version of Eclipse a particular source build will create is embedded in the source build zip file name. For example, builds Eclipse from integration build 20030624.


Building Eclipse using Ant and a JDK


Produces an Eclipse SDK using the Java compiler you have installed.

System Requirements

  1. Ant 1.6.1 or higher
  2. JDK 1.4
  3. Info-Zip zip and unzip executables on system path. Tar for *nix distributions
  4. CVS 1.10 or higher
  5. 600 meg free disk space
  6. Source build zip from

Initial Setup

Install Ant, a JDK, and a CVS client, as per each program's instructions. Minimally you will need the following environment variables set.
  1. Add the Ant bin directory, and the CVS executable to your path.
  2. Set the JAVA_HOME environment variable to the root of your JDK installation.
  3. Set the ANT_HOME environment variable to the root of your Ant installation.
  4. (Windows 98) Set the HOME environment variable to c:
  5. (Windows 98) Increase the default environment space as specified here.

Run the Build

  1. Extract the eclipse-sourceBuild-*.zip to a directory. Extract using tar if using a *nix drop.
  2. cd to the buildScripts directory.
  3. Execute build -os <osType> -ws <windowSystemType> -arch <architecture> [-bc <bootclasspath>] [-compilelibs] [-target <target>]

      Parameter Name Description
      osType Target operating system (See supported types).
      windowSystemType Target windowing system (See supported types).
      architecture Target system architecture (See supported types).
      bootclasspath (optional) The list of bootclasspath jars to compile against using either a colon or semi-colon as separators. The jars that make up a bootclasspath are part of any JDK or JRE. Typically this parameter is only specified if you are cross compiling Eclipse. The default is the rt.jar on your path.
      compilelibs Flag to force the recompilation of native libraries.
      target (optional)

      The Ant target from build.xml to execute. The default target is run and performs a complete fetch, build, javadoc build and install. Other valid targets are:

      • fetch
      • compile
      • install


Install Eclipse

When the Eclipse build is complete, there will be a zip file called


in the results subdirectory of your build directory. If you are building for Linux or Mac, there will be a tar.gz file.

Extract this file to the directory where you would like to run Eclipse. If you extract it to your root directory, a directory called eclipse will be created.

Run Eclipse with the desired command line parameters.

Supported Platforms

Eclipse can be built on any of the following platforms. With some limitations any platform can be used to build Eclipse for any or all supported platforms.

Operating System (os) Windowing System (ws) Archecture
win32 win32 x86
linux gtk x86
linux gtk x86_64
linux gtk ppc
linux gtk ppc64
linux gtk ia64
linux motif x86
macosx carbon ppc


hpux motif PA_RISC
hpux motif ia64_32
qnx photon x86
solaris motif sparc
solaris gtk sparc


Known Limitations

  1. Building unix flavours of Eclipse on Windows will result in incorrect file permissions. The *.so, *.sl, and Eclipse executable files will not have execute permissions. In addition, linux-motif and linux-gtk builds will not have soft links to in the installation root directory. In these cases you would have to write an install or post install script to set permissions properly. (UNIX builds built on UNIX systems will set sufficient permissions and make the appropriate soft links).
  2. Only Java source code is compiled. *.dll, *so, *sl and Eclipse executables are all checked out of prebuilt in this build process. The linux-gtk-ppc64, linux-gtk-ia64, linux-gtk-ia64_32 and hpux-motif-ia64 configurations will require a re-compilation of the eclipse executable and swt libaries and copying these files to the apppropriate directories. This can be accomplished by using the -compilelibs flag when running the build. The instructions on recompiling the eclipse executable and recompiling the swt libraries available in the SWT FAQ are also a useful reference. This document also includes a list of the prerequisites for running SWT on Linux GTK
  3. If you wish to use a 1.5 JDK to build Eclipse, change the value for javacSource to 1.4 in the build.xml of your source build.
    <property name="javacSource" value="1.4" />


Using the source build to construct a new Eclipse port

The Eclipse platform releng team has limited hardware, software and time to compile Eclipse on every conceivable platform. If you would like to enhance the source build scripts to build eclipse on a platform that is not currently included, please follow the following steps: