OSGi essentially has two Main development tools. Eclipse PDE with its maven integration tycho and bnd with its derived tools (bndtools, maven and gradle integration). PDE followed a Manifest fist approach, whereas bnd follows the approach to generate the Manifest and any other descriptors used in OSGi.
Two weeks ago the EclipseCon came to an end a lot has happened. For years the conference yielded discussions and usually showed, what appeared to be an unbridgeable gap between the PDE and bnd users. This year was different though, as Christoph Läubrichs PDE Manifest generation feature, provided the first solid bridge. After some discussion about minutia, both sides of the aisle concluded that it does not make sense to maintain two separate tools, to build OSGi applications.
Last Friday Hell froze finally over, as we had our first joint call. We discussed how we can bring both tools closer together. As a Group, we set the goal to make both worlds more compatible with each other. It will start with small steps, by e.g. move the bnd Jar Viewer over to PDE. Besides that, we want to share the bnd file editors (used in PDE for the new pde.bnd build descriptor) and integrate the resolver as well. If this goes well, we may even achieve a merge of bndtools and PDE in the long run, so there are no sperate worlds anymore.
The OSGi Workingroup is fully in support of this move and we try to help the effort however we can. I personally look forward, to the positive change this can yield. We can use our combined knowledge and manpower to achieve something our community can profit from.
As we are all a volunteer army, any support on that not so small effort is welcome. Any kind of help or funding is welcome. I with my head as the Chair of the OSGi Steering Committee am currently working with the Eclipse Foundation to provide a Sponsoring Agreement for anybody, who wants to pitch in with some funds.