Bob Congdon asks a few questions about the impact Eclipse is having on the market for development tools:
Eclipse is a terrific Java IDE. Its plugin architecture is superb. And it's free. Apparently that "free" part is having some negative consequences. According to The Register, Borland is dumping their Java and Windows IDE business to focus on the software delivery lifecycle. Why? Borland has been badly hit by the rise of "free" software tools, notably the open source Eclipse Foundation . Another article from The Register asks can IntelliJ IDEA can survive the Eclipse onslaught? IntelliJ IDEA originated a lot of Java refactoring features. Now they're available for free in Eclipse. That's great for developers. But what about tools vendors? One of the goals of Eclipse is to provide a platform for vendors to add their own value. But is it a good thing when Eclipse provides these same features for free and, as a result, forces vendors like Borland (and possibly Jetbrains, the developer of IntelliJ) to abandon the tools market?
Well, the interesting thing about Eclipse - to me - is the funding. It's an IBM project for all intents and purposes, and the net effect it's having is to drive Java development tools from the market. An interesting side note on that - I had a call with an analyst grouyp recently, and they told me that the overall vendor revenues for tool sales was up (and growing) - excluding the Java segment of that space, which was down, and sinking.
The amusing part for me is watching the way people react to all this. Microsoft gives away internet explorer, having the unsurprising effect of hurting Netscape - bad. IBM gives away Eclipse, having the unsurprising effect of hurting Java tool vendors - no problem. Apparently, you can inoculate yourself from charges of predation by open sourcing the software in question.