An Eclipse First? Who Cares?

Opinion: Red Hat claims first place in the Eclipse open-source IDE stakes and I want to know why that makes a difference.

Red Hat announced the release of its JBoss Developer Studio on Dec 10, touting it as "the first open source, Eclipse-based, integrated development environment," and I want to know why that makes a difference.

I'm not trying to disrespect the JBoss/Exadel/Red Hat effort or technology here, I'm just wondering why making that claim of being the first 100 percent open-source IDE based on Eclipse is an issue.

I suppose having the full widget collection in open source may have some value for some developers. But making the issue of being the first open-source IDE based on an already open-source project is just curious to me.

First of all, to claim to be first in anything open source and developer related is hard to prove these days. But, secondly, what is the benefit? To take a poke at CodeGear, Genuitec and others that offer commercial IDEs based on Eclipse? OK.

As far as I see it, being first at anything on Eclipse mattered a lot more back in 2002 and 2003. Now Eclipse is everywhere. It's a saturated market in most aspects. And, though Red Hat touts its "open sourceness," its new offering goes for an annual subscription of $99. You can get Genuitec's MyEclipse for 30 bucks annually and the professional edition of the product for about $50.

"I know I'm biased, but I'm not sure how taking over a year to only provide another vendor lock-in IDE at twice the price of vendor-neutral MyEclipse subscription can be viewed positively by the developer community," said Todd Williams, vice president of technology at Genuitec.


To read more about why a survey says Eclipse helps make money and save money, click here.

Moreover, Red Hat may have open-sourced the technology, but they did so under the GPL (General Public License) which means that it cannot be shared with anyone else in the Eclipse ecosystem. So the net effect is pretty much equivalent to making it proprietary?

In a blog post from back in March when Red Hat first announced the deal with Exadel, Sacha Labourey, chief technology officer and co-general manager of the JBoss division of Red Hat said: "From a licensing standpoint, JBoss Ajax4jsf and JBoss RichFaces have been open sourced under the LGPL while Red Hat Developer Studio will be open sourced under a GPL-based license (except for JBoss IDE plug-ins which will keep their current license)."


Anyway, that little rant aside, JBoss Developer Studio is based on tools Red Hat got from Exadel when Exadel decided to open-source its toolset early this year. First dubbed Red Hat Developer Studio, now known as JBoss Developer Studio, the tools provide a simple, powerful and easy-to-use solution for developers utilizing JBoss Enterprise Middleware, said Bryan Che, Red Hat product marketing manager.

While Todd and some others might say the idea here is to provide nothing more than an open-source lock-in to the JBoss application platform, I don't even want to go there. I just took issue with the "first ever" thing.

Che said JBoss Developer Studio eliminates the need to assemble individual development environments, enabling developers and IT departments to use the complete JBoss solution in one easily delivered installation.

Red Hat also said that since its initial beta release in August, there have been more than 100,000 downloads of the test builds for Developer Studio.

JBoss Developer Studio incorporates Eclipse tooling, integrated JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, and also comes with Red Hat Enterprise Linux for development use and full access to Red Hat Network, Che said. The product also features tooling for technologies such as Sun's Java Platform Enterprise Edition, JBoss Seam and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), Hibernate, JBoss jBPM, Struts and Spring IDE.

The combination of these components provides developers with a stable solution that offers matched tooling, easy upgrades and the same runtime environment in development as in production, Red Hat officials said.


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