Eclipse 3.4 (Ganymede) – Managing Extension Locations

Upon installing Ganymede, I immediately tried looking for the “Manage Configuration” option to install the plugins I have configured in an “Extension Location”. (see Europa screen shots below)

Help > Software Updates > Manage Configuration

Add Extension Location

But to my surprise, that option is no longer available in Ganymede! Instead you need to click “Software Updates” menu. Switch to “Available Software” tab, click on the “Add Site” button and choose the “Local” option button to select the directory where you have placed your plugins as an extension location. (see Ganymede screen shots below)

Help > Software Updates

Available Software > Add Site > Local

However, there’s a catch to this approach, instead of running your plugins from the Extension location, Eclipse will copy your plugins to the features and plugins directory of Eclipse (which really defeats the point of having an extension location).

For a cleaner approach (than what was described above), Ganymede now supports “Dropins” (described in this article) which is sort of a hot deploy directory for plugins.

Just make sure your plugins are still compatible with the latest version Eclipse and you should be ready to go.

Now I’m off to explore Eclipse’s latest features...

Recommended books:

0764574701 0321396855 0596100655 0321334612 032142672X



  1. But this just installes the plugins from the given local site into the Eclipse installation. What I want is to leave the plugins outside … and to select the outside location to place new downloaded plugins into.

  2. dayg said

    Thanks Thomas for pointing this out. I’ve updated my blog entry to include a reference to “Dropins” which should “somehow” solve our problem.

    As discussed in the referenced article, Dropins support the “extension layout” directory structure.

  3. ekke said

    the dropins folder is different from the old extension locations. you could easy enable/disable locations to test different versions of plugins etc.
    if you place something into the dropins folder its always scanned and used.
    one way could be to go back to the old behaviour using preferences-general-capabilities classic update.
    or you can still have your plugins at different locations and use link files and if you want to change a plugin you change the link.

  4. dayg said

    You are absolutely correct. And you know what, I was also thinking of using “linked files” to enable the old behavior while on my way to work this morning.

    Regarding enabling “Classic Update”, I have been unable to locate that option from my installation.

    I tried Window > Preferences > General but I cannot see a Capabilities option in there.

    I am using the JEE bundle by the way.

  5. dayg said

    See also: Understanding the Eclipse p2 Provisioning System

  6. dayg said

    I tried running the default (not the JEE bundle) Eclipse SDK and I can now see the Capabilities option.

    This is interestingly weird.

    I should probably try downloading the JEE bundle again. I got my copy the first day it became available.

  7. Jing Xue said

    Following your pointer I was able to hook up my extension directory with a link file under dropins, Thanks.

    Installing new plugins to the extension directory is still a problem though. It doesn’t seem to let me choose the target location. Uninstalling a plugin installed in an extension directory through the management interface is also a bit messy.

  8. dayg said

    It’s confirmed, I just downloaded a new copy of Ganymede JEE bundle and it really doesn’t have the Window > Preferences > General > Capabilities option where you can turn on the “Classic Update Manager” feature.

    To Jing Xue, if you’re using a non-JEE Ganymede bundle, you can probably use the “Classic Update Manager” so you can manage extension locations like before, without the mess.

    If you need the JEE tools, you can probably manually add them to your Eclipse SDK using the update sites.

  9. Ur said

    I try to install org.python.pydev.feature-1_3_18 although it’s for europe-release.
    So with classic update manager ganymede strike off, but with new manager it install pydev-feature from update site… is it not strange?

  10. […] my blog entry gets included for the other […]

  11. isxylands said

    I tried the’s not jee bundle!), and it also doesn’t have Window > Preferences > General > Capabilities option!

    Maybe only the classic SDK bundle(a.k.a, have the Capabilities option? I will try it later.

  12. me said

    So, how about a multi-user scenario?
    Eclipse is a system-wide application, but *each* user should be capable of managing his/her own set of plug-ins, added ON TOP of those installed by the root user!

  13. Regarding the missing “Capabilities” preference, please see this URL:

  14. Sri Sankaran said

    Much as I like the flexibility the SDK bundle provides (the ability to point to an external location), I found it to be a double-edged sword.

    For example, after downloading the SDK bundle, I tried to install the WTP bundle. The dependency resolution step showed that I needed to install GEF first. However, even after installing the latest GEF, I am unable to install WTP. Aaargh!

    Several hours of fussing around with installing this, that and the other I give up. I have succumbed to the “convenience” of the JEE bundle.

    Is there a way to have the cake and eat it too? IOW can I use classic update and somehow have it resolve dependencies as well?


  15. Luke Kowald said

    I recently installed Ganymede. You’re right there is no “classic” ‘Manage Configuration’ option. However. Here is what you can do to add “external” plug-ins (I do this with my Intel C++ Compiler plug-ins). Simply link the directory which contains your external plug-ins to the ‘dropins’ directory. Done.

  16. Luke Kowald said

    Ah. I see someone else also suggested that above. Sorry. :p

  17. Ronan said

    I found a way to navigate to the “Manage configuration” window in Ganymede:
    Open the help window and search for “Manage configuration”, then select ” Enabling, disabling, and uninstalling features”.
    The help window gives a link to “Help > Software Updates > Manage Configuration.”

  18. Hannu Leinonen said

    Got it there by removing plugins/org.eclipse.ecf.identity_2.0.0.v20080611-1715.jar

    Somebody might be keen to investigate this a bit more. So far I’ve seen no side effects.

  19. Bernard Ligny said

    There is also a well-known (?) feature allowing to easily extend eclipse using +/- the same principles as extension location:

    1. Create a sub folder “links” under your eclipse install dir
    2. Create a new text file with “.link” extension (eg “”) with a single line pointing to your extension dir:
    3. Now setup the extension directory:
    – create the folder it-self (C:/Devware/MyExtension)
    – create a sub folder named “eclipse”
    4. finally put/deploy your preferred plugins under this alternate “eclipse” dir

    Doing that way enables you to cleary separate eclipse from your customizations, so that you can safely upgrade eclipse without impacting your habits…

    Enjoy !

  20. DremLIN said

    I make fake Eclipse SDK and put it in “dropins” folder.
    Result: Window > Preferences > General > Capabilities option enabled.
    Help > Software Updates > Manage Configuration menu is enable too.

    Good Luke!

  21. DremLIN said

    Ups! – it’s not work… :(
    Try it:

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: