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Using Policy Files

Eclipse 3.4 p2 Note

Using Policy files for "mirror control" is obsoleted by Equinox p2, available in Eclipse 3.4.

To avoid reaching mirrors specified for a particular update site / repository, there are two ways:

  • If you are in control of the repo, you can remove the mirroring information to make the site unaware of any remote mirrors.
<site pack200="true"


<site pack200="true">
  • If you are not in control of the repo, you can tell the p2 director to ignore mirrors:
-vmargs -Declipse.p2.mirrors=false

See also: bug 241430, bug 236762.


Policy files allow a user to configure where to search for updates to a feature when checking for updates.

Why would you want this?

  • For mirror control. With a policy file you can force your users to update from a mirror within your organization's firewall, instead of letting them choose a public mirror. This might give better performance or at least let you monitor the bits being transferred. Of course you'd have to be an Eclipse mirror first.
  • For patching. With a policy file you can update a publicly available EPL'd feature with your own custom version. Bear in mind doing so still must be done in adherence to EPL rules. See

Creating the Policy File

A sample policy file is shown below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <url-map pattern="" url="http://hostname/update/nightly/nightlySite.xml"/>

In this example, we save this to an XML file named "policy.xml". This is then placed next to the corresponding update site.xml. This effectively says "when I see feature with id x, instead go to update site y rather than the default". The pattern attribute is a string that represents prefix of a feature ID (up to and including a complete ID). A value of "*" matches all features. For example, a pattern of "org.eclipse" will match org.eclipse.jdt and org.eclipse.swt but not com.mycompany.myproduct

Note that the wildcard does not work embedded within a larger pattern; it can only be used by itself. For example, a pattern like "org.*" does not match all plugins that start with org


If you wanted to update all features from a non-standard update site, you could use a policy file to redirect from the default Update site to a secondary one. For example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <url-map pattern="*" url=""/>

Using the Policy File

In Eclipse, navigate to Window > Preferences > Install/Update, and paste in the URL to the policy file and hit OK, eg:
or, for a local file:

The next time you search for updates, Eclipse will use the URL specified in the policy file, instead of what's in the feature.xml files.

An additional thought is to provide a preference page to allow the end user to choose which "release stream" they wish to subscribe to. In this case, there is a radio button that might specify "stable", "rc" and "nightly". Selecting one of these radio buttons would automatically set the policy file behind the scenes.

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