Migrating Eclipse Workbench from Windows to Linux

Some folks like to have a relationship among the development tools they use regardless of the underlying operating system. I would certainly qualify as one such individual, because I honestly don’t believe that the operating system should adversely impact the development environment of choice. Of course, there are specific exceptions to the rule: .NET development is a little painful in Mono Develop, and most people writing .NET applications are very likely going to be working under Visual Studio.

My desire to maintain such similarity first started with ActiveState’s Komodo which I once used for PHP and Python development. It amused me to no end that I could purchase one license and use the same IDE under Windows and Linux with virtually no difference in environment. (There was a bug with the color picker under X windows when it came to syntax highlighting and other preferences, but there was a really cheesy solution. More on that in a moment.) The best part, too, was that I could copy my configurations from Windows over to my .komodo directory, change the file and directory paths in one or two XML configs, and it’d work just like it did in Windows. Remember that little bug I mentioned in the parenthetical about colors? By setting your color preferences under Windows and copying the configurations over it was possible to work around such limitations. It was a kludge but it worked.

Eclipse is a whole ‘nother animal. Although it’s slightly more well-behaved with Galileo (Eclipse 3.5), it’s nearly impossible to copy a workspace from Windows to Linux and expect anything to work. However, if you’d like to maintain your open projects and files, I have just the solution. Some fair warning is in order: This little tip does take some effort to complete, and I’d highly recommend having access to Python (Ruby would work just as well). Unless you know a great deal more about Eclipse internals than I do, the extra effort of guessing data types isn’t really worth it. Read more…

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