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Home » Newcomers » Newcomers » Is it possible to use an external plugins directory? Unable to get dropins working.(Developing on a corporate Docker environment that is re-imaged every night)
icon5.gif  Is it possible to use an external plugins directory? Unable to get dropins working. [message #1748585] Thu, 24 November 2016 19:00 Go to next message
tr codestore is currently offline tr codestoreFriend
Messages: 1
Registered: November 2016
Junior Member
Hi all,

I'm really hoping you can offer some guidance.

Is it possible point Eclipse to an external plugins directory and what is the recommended approach?

We're developing on a locked-down corporate Docker-based VDI. The user home area is the only part of the filesystem that is persisted; the Docker containers are restarted every night and all changes made outside of user home are lost. Eclipse (Spring Tool Suite) is installed in /opt - which is outside of the user home area and so is bought back to an original state every night - therefore all plugins installed through the Eclipse UI are lost.

Getting a plugin installed through official channels is an arduous process. It first has to be approved - then has to be added to a base Docker image - then has to wait until the infrastructure team is free to push the image out to the environment.

With that in mind, I'm trying to point Eclipse to a dropins directory in my local home area. I use the "" method and point Eclipse to a local directory that has the correct file structure (it has an eclipse directory that contains features/plugins as well as artifacts.jar and contents.jar). However I receive the error "<my_local_dir> is not a valid extension location because it already contains a standard p2 repository file".

I understand that the dropins feature is legacy but I'm not sure how else to proceed. If I use the "Install New Software" GUI then the plugin will be installed to the Eclipse installation directory - and so will be lost the following day.

Any advice is appreciated

Re: Is it possible to use an external plugins directory? Unable to get dropins working. [message #1748701 is a reply to message #1748585] Sun, 27 November 2016 10:40 Go to previous message
Ed Merks is currently offline Ed MerksFriend
Messages: 31543
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
If the Eclipse installation itself is read-only then a surrogate installation will be created in ~/.eclipse/<some-hashed-folder-name> and extensions (Install New Software) can/will be installed into the surrogate without changing the base shared read-only installation.

Ed Merks
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