Table of contents

I. Introduction

Equinox is considered to be a reference implementation of the OSGi Core 4.x specification and one of the most widely used. It is an open source project, part of the Eclipse project. It provides a set of bundles, that implement various optional OSGi services.

The openHAB bundles are deployed on Equinox runtime. Knowledge about how to start the runtime and execute basic commands will help you to speedup the development process. Some of the bundles that you are going to use from Eclipse SmartHomeTM and openHAB depend on Equinox bundles and this article will list some of the Equinox core bundles and the services that they provide.

II. Start Equinox Runtime from Eclipse

First make sure that you have installed openHAB Eclipse IDE.

Then follow these steps:

  1. Start Eclipse and go to “Run” -> “Run Configurations”.
  2. From the list in the left panel choose “OSGi Framework”. Right click on it and choose “New”.
  3. After you’ve been created a new configuration, select the bundles that you need from the workspace.
  4. Then make sure that the following bundles from the target platform are selected, otherwise the OSGi console will not be available:

    org.apache.felix.gogo.runtime org.apache.felix.gogo.shell org.apache.felix.gogo.command org.eclipse.equinox.console

  5. Click on “Add Required Bundles”. Eclipse will resolve all dependencies of the bundles listed above and include new bundles to the configuration.
  6. Click on “Validate Bundles” and make sure that “No problems were detected” is displayed.
  7. You can start Equinox with the “Run” button.

Run Configurations dialog window

If you use Eclipse for an IDE, this will be the easiest way to run your bundles in an Equinox runtime. If you do not have experience with writing OSGi bundles, go to our coding tasks page.

III. Run Equinox standalone

The org.eclipse.osgi bundle is the framework implementation of the Core Framework R4 specification in a standalone package.

You can get it from your Eclipse IDE installation for openHAB (If you’re using Windows, it should be located at C:\Users\your.name\.p2\pool\plugins\org.eclipse.osgi_3.x.x_xxxx.jar).

  1. Equinox versions before 3.8.0.M4.

In some older version of Equinox, using the following command line:

java -jar org.eclipse.osgi_3.x.x_xxxx.jar -console

was enough to run it standalone.

  1. Equinox versions after 3.8.0.M4.

Starting from Equinox 3.8.0.M4, it has a new console. So the command line above will probably not work. You need some additional bundles in order to run Equinox properly. There are different ways to add those bundles and one of them is given below:

  1. After you have downloaded and installed Eclipse IDE for openHAB, find your .p2 repository and go to the plugins folder. (if you’re using Windows, it should be located at C:\Users\your.name\.p2\pool\plugins).

  2. Make sure that there is a org.eclipse.osgi_3.x.x_xxxx.jar in that folder.

  3. Create configuration folder in the plugins folder.

  4. Inside the configuration folder create a file config.ini.

  5. Save the following content in the config.ini file:


  1. Use the following command line to run Equinox:
java -jar org.eclipse.osgi_3.x.x_xxxx.jar -console -configuration configuration

IV. Commands

Once you have Equinox running, you will see a prompt. Some of the basic osgi commands are:

Command Description
help Basic command that will list all available commands
install [bundle URL] Installs the bundle from the given URL
start [bundle # or bundle name] Starts the bundle with the given numeric or symbolic id
stop [bundle # or bundle name] Stops the bundle with the given numeric or symbolic id
ss Reports a summary status of all installed bundles
diag [bundle # or bundle name] Reports any resolution problems for the bundle with the given numeric or symbolic id
services [filter] Lists all available services or only services matching to LDAP-style filter (e.g. services (objectClass=”*virtage*”) - will print only services having virtage in their class name)

Table 1. Equinox commands (Source: http://www.eclipse.org/equinox/documents/quickstart-framework.php)

V. Equinox Bundles

Another part of the Equinox project is the Equinox Bundles component. It consists of bundles that implement all add-on services from the OSGi specification and additional services defined in various OSGi expert groups.

Some of the core bundles are listed in the table below. Some or all of these bundles must be included in your runtime configuration, if you want to use the services that they provide.

Name Bundle Symbolic Name Description
Declarative Services org.eclipse.equinox.ds An implementation of the OSGi R4 Declarative Services specification
Event Admin Service org.eclipse.equinox.event OSGi R4 Event Admin Service provides an inter-bundle communication mechanism based on an event publish and subscribe model
Log Service org.eclipse.equinox.log This LogService provides a general-purpose message logger for the OSGi environment
Equinox Utilities org.eclipse.equinox.util A library of utility classes that are frequently used from the Equinox OSGi Service implementation bundles
OSGi Services API org.eclipse.osgi.service This bundle contains the set of OSGi specified service APIs.

Table 2. OSGi Bundles (Full list can be found at: http://www.eclipse.org/equinox/bundles/)

VI. p2

The p2 project is a sub-project of Equinox that focuses on provisioning technology for OSGi-based applications. Provisioning is the act of finding and installing new functionality and updating or removing existing functionality; it is distinct from building.

Although p2 has a specific support for Equinox and Eclipse, can be used as a general purpose provisioning infrastructure.

1. Core Concepts

p2 manages artifacts, such as plug-ins(bundles), features and products. You can think of these as bags of bytes. p2 not only stores these artifacts, it also stores metadata about these artifacts, such as version information, cryptographic signatures, dependencies, platform specifics and special installation requirements.

2. Installable Unit

Every p2 artifact Installable Unit or IU is uniquely identified by an identifier and version number. For example, in the Equinox OSGi container from the Indigo release there is a bundle whose identifier is org.eclipse.osgi and version 3.7.0.v20110110. p2 assumes that two artifacts with the same identifier and same version number are the same artifact.

An IU representing the SWT bundle:

id=org.eclipse.swt, version=3.5.0, singleton=true
    {namespace=org.eclipse.equinox.p2.iu, name=org.eclipse.swt, version=3.5.0}
    {namespace=org.eclipse.equinox.p2.eclipse.type name=bundle version=1.0.0}
    {namespace=java.package, name=org.eclipse.swt.graphics, version=1.0.0}
    {namespace=java.package, name=org.eclipse.swt.layout, version=1.2.0}
    {namespace=java.package, name=org.eclipse.swt.accessibility2, range=[1.0.0,2.0.0), optional=true, filter=(&(os=linux))}
    {namespace=java.package, name=org.mozilla.xpcom, range=[1.0.0, 1.1.0), optional=true, greed=false}
    {namespace=org.eclipse.equinox.p2.iu, name=org.eclipse.swt, range=[0.0.0, 3.5.0)}

As you can see the installable unit defines capabilities - what the IU expose to the rest of the world, requirements - what the IU needs (the requirements are satisfied by capabilities). This metadata is used in the resolvement process.

3. Update sites

Installable units can be grouped into a p2 repository (also called update site). A repository is defined via its URI and can point to a local file system or to a web server. A p2 repository is also frequently called update site.

The most important characteristic of p2 repositories (and difference compared to the Maven repositories) is that IU do not depend directly on each other, they depend on packages identified by namespace + name + version(unless Require-Bundle is specified).

A sample p2 repository(update site) has the following layout


Some of the most popular p2 repositories are orbit p2 Repo and Eclipse p2 Repo.

You can find information about the Eclipse SmartHomeTM update sites at this link.

VII. Further Reading