Much ado about scripting, Linux & Eclipse: card subject to change

2007-12-04

Eclipse Development All-In-One

I'm shocked. Check this out:

Twelve per cent [of those companies surveyed] said they focussed “exclusively” on .Net development while an additional 49 per cent focussed “primarily” on .Net. Only three per cent of enterprises were exclusively Java shops, while an additional 20 per cent focussed “primarily” on Java.
...
But as more companies adopt Microsoft Exchange as their messaging software and SQL Server as their database, the decision to use .Net develop tools is “almost a no-brainer,” Goodall said. (source).

This seems counterintuitive to me. Sure, there's entrenchment. Sure, there's comfort in using Microsoft products as for most people that's who provides their operating system, office tools, and mail software. But c'mon, which companies did they survey? I'd love to find out but I can't find a copy of their survey results online, and even if I could I'm not about to cough up $150 - $990 for a 200K PDF file. Begs the question -- who commissioned this report, and how deep are their pockets? IMHO, there's a fine line between market research and marketing.

Or... is it possible that OSS people just don't have time to answer surveys because they're too busy contributing to their community? ;-)

Pointed pontifications aside, perhaps the real point here is that Microsoft does a better job at selling the 'one stop shop' idea of operating system + office tools + database + mail tools + mail server + dev platform. Sure, all of that is also available in the FLOSS / LAMP world, but are we failing to market it it as a cohesive offering? Is it still too disparate, too complex?

And has anyone thought of building an ubuntu + Ganymede self-contained offering? I know there's some cool virtual appliances out there, such as Grandma's LAMP, but AFAIK there's never been an attempt to bundle Eclipse w/ an OS for an all-in-one offering. Now that there's an Eclipse Store and an Eclipse Donations site, isn't it time for some Eclipse DVDs to complete the trifecta? Along with the new EPP bundles planned for next July, wouldn't it be cool to have an Eclipse Ganymede + ubuntu 08.04 Distro DVD? A collector's item, for sure.

Oh, and with the advent of the EMF4Net proposal (yes, that's EMF for the .Net plaftorm), this all-in-one DVD would also allow people to develop C# apps as well as Java. And php. And perl. And ruby. And python. And C/C++. Whoops, there we go again with too many choices. ;-) Once again, maybe Microsoft continues to dominate mindshare not because they're better or more entrenched, but out of a sense of simplicity.

So, here's my new mantra:

Simple is sexy.
Options are overwhelming.

Agree? Disagree? Post your thoughts here, or blog them and/or link here. I'd love to know your experiences as a customer or as a vendor, as a client or as a developer.

9 comments:

Andrew Overholt said...

> And has anyone thought of building an ubuntu + Ganymede self-contained offering?

You mean like how Fedora includes man Eclipse plugins? :P

Andrew Overholt said...

Ugh. I obviously mean "many" and not "man".

Nick said...

Damn, that's the second time I've forgotten about the Fedora Eclipse bundling. Time to start lurking in #eclipse-linux again. Sorry, Andrew, Ben, and the rest of RH. I suggest a counterblog to talk about the "all-in-one'ness" of what you guys sell / provide for free.

Denis Roy said...

> Simple is sexy
> Options are overwhelming

Huh? This coming from the guy who writes the most complex download pages known to man :-)

http://www.eclipse.org/modeling/emf/downloads/

sb said...

If simple is sexy, I'm afraid Eclipse will remain chaste for the forseeable future. The options dialog is a nightmare!

Eclipse is for gadget freaks. How else do you explain its nightmare of poorly named, overlapping, half-completed plugins? Or its impenetrable preferences dialog? I doubt wrapping it in a simple one-click install will help much!

Felonious Ham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Felonious Ham said...

> Simple is sexy
> Options are overwhelming

sb is right, and I blame the Update Manager.

It should only list meaningful, very high-level product names (as opposed the dirty details of every dependency) and allow simple browsing of a clearinghouse for these products (Eclipse Plugin Central?).

Monodevelop gets it right with its Add-in Manager, Ubuntu gets it right with its "Add/Remove Programs", Update Manager gets it wrong.

Todd

Nick said...

Denis: Surely you jest. ;-) You can find all the EMF downloads on one page, instead of having to hunt for platform downloads on http://www.eclipse.org/europa/, http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/ and http://download.eclipse.org/eclipse/downloads/. Plus, from that same page, you can find details about potentially breaking changes "The Bleeding Edge" and how to install via Update Manager instead (left nav), where other projects bury that URL in their Wiki or individual download pages. And the same UI degrades into much simpler versions for EMFT, MDT, and M2T. In all seriousness... what would you do to improve it?

Todd / Felonous Ham: Have you used the Europa update site? It's simpler than either its predecessor or having to use multiple update sites. But then having multiple update sites is not that different from having multiple repository URLs in your Synaptic Package Manager or other .deb-based install tool. Are you suggesting that EPIC should somehow publish an update site that includes all the plugins available on that site? If so, how would *that* be simpler? There are 996 projects listed there -- are you suggesting you'd want to browse them all in a single list?

Felonious Ham said...

Nick: It's not the update site that's the problem--it's the Update Manager itself. Manage Configuration is inscrutable (how do I uninstall a plugin again?), the wizard first presents a list of sites instead of products.

>But then having multiple update sites is not that different from having multiple repository URLs in your Synaptic Package Manager or other .deb-based install tool. Are you suggesting that EPIC should somehow publish an update site that includes all the plugins available on that site? If so, how would *that* be simpler?

I'm asking for Add/Remove Applications, not Synaptic. A platform management page doesn't need to expose every Tom, Dick and Harry plugin, but it should provide organized access to legitimately supported, highly rated products by task. With less stable community plugins similarly accessible, and organized by their supporters.

The Update Manager faces the same problem I see in most software today: exposing too much information to the user. What I want from UM is not the minutae of plugin versions and dependencies, I want Subversion functionality, or UML Visual Modeling Tool (not framework technology). Don't show me any information that I can't make a useful decision with.

Todd Chambery