Time isn’t free

In response to my Friday posting, RefuX said “Linux is cheap if your time is free”. This statement is, of course, absolutely correct. However a similar statement about the cost of your time can be made about operating systems that you have to pay for. The amount of time that I have spent troubleshooting Windows problems is staggering (I had to resolve a painful driver conflict a couple of weeks back). I think that it’s fair to suggest that the amount of money you pay for your operating system ends up being a relatively small part of the overall cost of ownership. Let me know if you think otherwise.

I’ve installed Eclipse many times. I love the fact that all I have to do is make sure that I have a JRE configured, unzip a file into a directory, and I’m good to go. It all just feels so clean; no files spread out all over the place. Very simple. It literally takes me about 10 minutes to get Eclipse up and running on a new system. I’ve been working on an RCP application (I’ll tell you all the details when I’m a little further along). Since Eclipse is itself an RCP application and comes with all of its own source, it’s a great source of help when you’re building an application. I’ve been able to put together some fantastic user interface elements in almost no time at all by scavenging, borrowing, and blatently copying code tha comes with the environment. This practice is, of course, a staple of modern software development and is strongly encouraged in "Contributing to Eclipse" by Erich Gamma and Kent Beck.

So… the cost of entry for Eclipse, both in terms of money and time is quite low.

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2 Responses to Time isn’t free

  1. zx says:

    I don’t agree with you necessarily that Eclipse has a low entry point. I think quite the opposite. I think Eclipse has a high learning curve (especially some of its technologies, ie., GEF…) The power lies in once you master the basics of Eclipse, it becomes incredibly easy to learn other technologies and the power you harness as a developer increases.Cheers,~ Chris Aniszczyk

  2. Wayne says:

    Hi Chris. I’d rather not attempt to argue the semantics of “entry point”, because it’s a bit of a gray area. You’re absolutely right that there are certain fundamental concepts you need to know before you can do any serious work building Eclipse plug-ins for an RCP application. However, I’ll wager that you’ll agree that getting started with Java development is relatively easy and straight-forward.

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