As an Eclipse developer I'm really proud to say that Eclipse happens to be the driving force for improving the Java stack in various Linux RPM distros. Kudos to all Eclipse developers for making the platform that happens to be the single Java based application that Linux packagers are willing to spend time getting it shipped with their distro!!!
Eclipse dependencies are build using the two most popular Java build systems - Ant and Maven. And that's how the whole work on getting their latest versions packaged to work properly on Fedora. A number of other people joined the effort and we wouldn't have made it without their great help. So what we have now is Maven 3.0.3 on the upstream release date (thanks to the hard work done by Stanislav Ochotnický) - hey this is the first time EVER! Mageia and openSUSE are also working hard to get their stacks updated to the state of Fedora one.
Cross-distros collaboration happens in the best possible way - dev-to-dev directly on #fedora-java or #eclipse-linux at irc.freenode.org . Let me put a small cite to show it:
[08:33] <akurtakov> sshaw: did you fix the icu4j
[08:34] <sshaw> akurtakov: yeah
[08:34] <sshaw> well dmorgan did
[08:34] <sshaw> he finished it up for me when I fell asleep
[08:34] <sshaw> akurtakov: with + sed -i -e 's|tomcat5-jsp-2.0-api|tomcat6-jsp-2.1-api|g' dependencies.properties
[08:34] <sshaw> can I drop tomcat 5?
[08:34] <akurtakov> heh, crossdistro collaboration to the rescue
[08:34] <sshaw> akurtakov: rpm distros unite
- Fedora - akurtakov - Alexander Kurtakov
- openSUSE - sshaw - Stephen Shaw
- Mageia - dmorgan - Dexter Morgan
As I have started with Eclipse and it's role - Mageia already has Eclipse and OpenSuse is really close to getting it packaged. All of this is of course based on the Eclipse Linux Tools eclipse-build project (there is Debian and Ubuntu helping there) but the RPM distros have gone one step further - even the RPM specfile is kind of a shared one.
When Andrew Overholt pointed me into starting eclipse-build I have never thought that this project will happen to be a hub for real cross-distro collaboration bigger than it's Eclipse influence. There are a number of other nice chats/ideas for collaboration that happened thanks to the personal talks that started around eclipse-build. Thanks to Niels Thykier who told us about Debian work for creating Java webapps packaging guidelines and helper tools this was brought to Fedora Java SIG meetings for discussion. There is no fruit from this discussion yet but at least we are trying to be aware of each other's work so we(all Linux distros) can come with a single position that can influence upstream Java developers - note that they are not mandatory Linux developers so they are not aware of our problems.
Collaboration is not something that can be pushed to people top-down in the FOSS world, it depends on every single contributor to make it happen bottom-up. And it is already happening you have to just join us.