Unfortunately this attempt resulted in the following error:
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java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: org/eclipse/pde/internal/ui/launcher/LaunchArgumentsHelper at org.ops4j.pax.cursor.Utils.getVMArgsOptions(Utils.java:216) at org.ops4j.pax.cursor.LaunchConfiguration.getProgramArguments(LaunchConfiguration.java:156) at org.eclipse.pde.launching.AbstractPDELaunchConfiguration.launch(AbstractPDELaunchConfiguration.java:72) at org.eclipse.pde.launching.OSGiLaunchConfigurationDelegate.launch(OSGiLaunchConfigurationDelegate.java:47) at org.eclipse.debug.internal.core.LaunchConfiguration.launch(LaunchConfiguration.java:853) at org.eclipse.debug.internal.core.LaunchConfiguration.launch(LaunchConfiguration.java:702) at org.eclipse.debug.internal.ui.DebugUIPlugin.buildAndLaunch(DebugUIPlugin.java:923) at org.eclipse.debug.internal.ui.DebugUIPlugin$8.run(DebugUIPlugin.java:1126) at org.eclipse.core.internal.jobs.Worker.run(Worker.java:54)
This looked pretty much like an incompatability between the Pax Runner plug-in and the Eclipse platform. And indeed the plug-in unfortunately doesn't seem to keep up with PDE-internal changes in recent Eclipse versions due to limited developer resources.
Further googling then led me to PAXRUNNER-353 at Pax Runner's issue tracker.
The ticket itself is not yet resolved, but the good news is that Christian Baranowski (whom I had the pleasure to meet during the OSGi code camp last week) created a fork on GitHub fixing the issue for now. So let's hope that this fix gets quickly merged into the main branch.
Until then Christian even has established a temporary Eclipse update site which makes upgrading the plug-in to the forked version a breeze.
So my kudos go to Christian (for fixing the plug-in) and to GitHub (for making forking easy) :-)