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Sun Microsystems Java Programming

Sun and Eclipse Squabble 423

Posted by michael
from the quit-blocking-my-light dept.
gbjbaanb writes "CNET news is reporting on a potential spat between Sun and Eclipse: 'Sun Microsystems has sent a letter to members of Eclipse, urging the increasingly influential open-source project to unify rather than fragment the Java-based development tool market.' Although Sun's letter says it wants interoperability, and a 'broad base' for java tools, it then insists Eclipse should push to be a 'unifying force for Java technology'. Competing tools is a good thing, but it sounds like Sun just wants everything to work its way."
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Sun and Eclipse Squabble

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:08AM (#8142582)
    But it will be short-lived... maybe only a few minutes. Then Sun will be back.
  • by ikeee (689351) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:10AM (#8142592)
    Who in the sane mind would ask such a thing... Come on, wasn't java supposed to be write once run everywhere..., So how on earth multiple IDEs are going to cause problem...
    • Because eclipse is taking revenue from the over priced bloatware jbuilder and Sun studio.It's bad [eclipse] because it's free. I thought darl showed us all that this is clearly unconstitutional - there is no profit motive - it's unAmerican damnit - only a monopoly can truly bring us together
      - /sarcasm
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Sun has a free IDE and IBM has a over-priced version of Eclipse as well, so that argument cancels itself out.
      • I quite like JBuilder, but then

        a) my company pays for it
        b) my company also bought me a 2.6GHz P4 box with a gig of RAM

        I have tried Eclipse and netbeans (and AnyJ), but didn't really get on with them. That was probably mostly due to being used to JBuilder, though, rather than through any real failing of the alternatives.
      • Sun has their own, free (Mozilla public license derrived) Java IDE.

        Netbeans [netbeans.org]
      • by dnoyeb (547705) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @11:29AM (#8143715) Homepage Journal
        NetBeans (SunStudio) sucks completely, and developers feel more satisfaction making the move to Eclipse. (such as I did)

        Eclipse is light years ahead of NetBeans, and gaining developers everyday.

        Eclipse has NEVER crashed on me, not once in about a year. nor have I found any bugs. not a one.

        Also note that IBM/Eclipse has SWT. SWT is a set of graphical tools that allow you to code once, but run on any OS and look/feel/run "native" to that OS. This sort of replaces AWT/Swing but it ties you to SWT.

        Furthermore, there is not Eclipse/RCP or Rich Client Platform. This allows you to use eclipse as your underlying application architecture (sort of like MFC), and end users can't even tell.

        There's also "eclipse.exe" and not eclipse.jar.

        Sun's problem is that IBM is doing to Java what Sun initially sought to do to Java. IBM is going to steal Java away from Sun within 5 years.

        I should mention that whining wont change anything Sun...
        • SWT is a set of graphical tools that allow you to code once, but run on any OS

          That's not strictly true. The GUI widgits in SWT are provided by a shared library compiled for the local platform and linked to Java code with JNI.

          This means you need a shared library compiled and tested for your platform. To see what platforms are currently supported and the status of those platforms, check out the port status [eclipse.org] section of the eclipse homepage.
          My impression of SWT is it's more feature rich than AWT, faster
          • by Joseph Vigneau (514) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @07:42PM (#8146789)
            Consider this: Java on *any* platform also needs some sort of native library for GUI access. It just turns out that they happen to bundle this with the JRE. In fact, if Sun was willing to ship Java without AWT (as it's commonly used in an server environment), they could probably port it to more platforms. Right now, SWT supports the vast majority of the machines currently running Java (Windows/Linux/Solaris/AIX/OS X), but even more "fringe" platforms like QNX.

            And it does it pretty well. This is what AWT should have been. The fact that it actually uses the underlying environment effectively means they don't have to update their look and feel every time one of their platforms releases a new UI. As a result, applications look like other native apps, including "themes" and such.
        • It should be noted that eclipse.exe is just a launcher for the various JARs in the plugins folder. All it does is display a splash screen and start the JVM loading up the necessary classes.
    • by MidKnight (19766) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @04:38AM (#8142819)
      Who in the sane mind would ask such a thing...

      A sane company who's trying to beat everyone's favorite convicted monopolist [microsoft.com] at gathering developers around their campfire for the next big platform of application development (i.e. this Internet thing). Can you name more than 3 IDE's for Windows development? No fair using Google....

      What I'm saying is that I think that Sun wants to have "... all the wood behind one arrowhead " when Java & .NET start really competing for developer mindshare. And yes, I'm sure that will happen soon. Is that so difficult to see?

      Anyway, my prediction is that IBM will have a good laugh about this whole thing. They'll ignore it, continue to make gobs of $$$ off of their services division, and not worry about fighting Microsoft directly. It's worked well for them for 20 years... why stop now?

      --Mid
    • It's easy for multiple IDEs to cause problems...

      Some form of unification wouldn't be all that bad - but unification should not be misread as "only one IDE".

      As much as Sun created a "the same bytecode runs on all platforms" - and the much the same, that XML data is portable between platforms - exactly the same way we would need some unification in the "project properties" files. If you really WANT competition to happen, what we need is a way, that the same project can be opened with a number of IDEs, but b
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:15AM (#8143258) Homepage Journal
      I think the problem is that Sun's IDEs encourage users to use one set of UI APIs (AWT, Swing), and Eclipse encourages the use of another, SWT.

      As if to make things worse, SWT is not part of the standard Java package, so you have to make sure it's available for the platform you want to run an SWT-based program on.

      Sun might do people a few favours by adopting it.

      Interestingly, there's a bigger, more glaring example of an IDE that encourages the use of a non-bundled API, and that API covers way more than UIs: Apple's Xcode (and before that ProjectManager), which is based around Cocoa. Now, theoretically, there's a Java port of GNUStep which is portable, but that's not entirely compatable with Cocoa out-of-the-box (different .nib formats for starters), and it's very much a beta still.

      As far as I'm aware, Sun isn't complaining about it.

      • Speaking from professional experience, one needs only include an swt.jar and set of binary libraries in your distribution for the platforms which you are targeting. You can explicitly specify the swt library to be part of your libraries when you start up the VM for your java application, and then you're done.

        The pain attached to using SWT is all but irrelevant considering the advantages of having the platform native widget set at your disposal through a homogenous API. If you love MDI then you won't enjoy

    • No, that's not the problem. The problem is that the IDE's use different project files etc. So these are incompatible. Furthermore, IBM is using their own SWT implementation, which is AWT/Swing done right with more support from the base operating system. This is more or less incompatible with Swing, the sun way to doing GUI's.
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:10AM (#8142593) Journal
    .. those who set and standards decide for users what they want and pull the strings.

    Opensource is the opposite of this. I would be pissed too if I were Sun. How can we sell Forte for $2000 and give java away for free to sell more copies of forte?

    It goes agaisnt their business model and Java is the only thing keeping them afloat since their hardware sales are losing to wintel/lintel.

    • by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@gUUU ... inus threevowels> on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:15AM (#8142613) Homepage Journal
      You don't know what you're talking about. Sun gives away [netbeans.org] Forte for Java under an Open Source branding (think Mozilla/Netscape). The real reasons for this squabble go back to '01 when IBM released Eclipse after inviting every company except Sun to join the project. At the time, Netbeans/Forte was very mature and would have been a good choice for IBM to build their own platform off of. Instead, they named their product as a way of snubbing Sun, and used their own proprietary GUI API so the two projects could never interoperate.

      • yeah, i'd have to take sun's side on this one. i use netbeans and have for quite some time. eclipse has some really cool stuff in it (refactoring!), but let's be serious... if all that work was put into netbeans/forte, it would be one hell of an IDE.

        in general just think this sort of competition is counter-productive in this type of setting. competition is useful in driving innovation, but in an open-source system, if the end users are pissed off about slow progress or missing features, they can alwa
      • by Tailhook (98486) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @04:34AM (#8142805)
        You don't know what you're talking about. Sun gives away [netbeans.org] Forte for Java under an Open Source branding (think Mozilla/Netscape). The real reason for this squabble... ...is because Eclipse is an order of magnitude better than Forte. Sun wants to use it's clout to get some control over it, and who can blame them? You were doing fine right up until there.

        It requires very little effort to identify the reasons why Eclipse is better than Forte. Any fool can see this, so I won't waste time on it.

        [IBM] used their own proprietary GUI API so the two projects could never interoperate.

        They created an entirely new GUI API because Swing sucks. A better GUI for Java was desperately needed. Swing does not approach the results of a native GUI application, while SWT does. The SWT GUI in Eclipse is better than the GUI provided by the native OS in most cases.

        Eclipse and Forte aren't even in the same ballpark. The phrase "universal tools platform" actually means something with Eclipse.

        The battle is over. Eclipse won. The result isn't due to some IBM conspiracy against Sun. It's due to Eclipse being a better product.

        they named their product as a way of snubbing Sun

        The character of your rival says much about you. Sun and IBM are competing rivals. Nothing more ugly than that. It's a credit to Sun than IBM should name their work in such a way. It's Sun's job to remain worthy of that credit.
        • by kfg (145172) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @06:01AM (#8143016)
          Sun and IBM are competing rivals. Nothing more ugly than that. It's a credit to Sun than IBM should name their work in such a way.

          Indeed. Sun should feel honored to have such a noble and gallant competeing rival pissing on its shoes in public.

          KFG
        • by Anonymous Coward
          He makes statements he can't back up and relies on opinions rather than facts. Newer versions of Netbeans are much better than Eclipse and older versions had many advantages. Swing has much better performance than SWT in the right hands and is widely considered one of the best API's for GUI programming.
        • Eclipse and netbeans/forte have different strengths and weaknesses and are in some ways, not even the same thing.

          Mysteriously, Eclipse has no built-in support for client-side GUI development. For a product that was supposed to be pushing IBMs SWT GUI library, this is a serious weakness. You can get rather second-rate plugins for Eclipse to do this, but in contrast netbeans has a first-rate Swing GUI designer tool. (For those who don't think Swing is a useful GUI, look at its integration into MacOS/X).
      • "At the time, Netbeans/Forte was very mature and would have been a good choice for IBM to build their own platform off of"

        This is not true. You obviously haven't used Netbeans or Eclipse, since there is a huge difference between both. Netbeans is built on top of Swing. Theoretically, Swing is a really nice GUI library that is very flexible. In the real world, Swing made Netbeans too slow to be usable, not to mention the metal UI made it look ugly too. SWT, the GUI library Eclipse uses, doesn't have all th

      • by ajagci (737734) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @01:36PM (#8144400)
        Instead, they named their product as a way of snubbing Sun, and used their own proprietary GUI API so the two projects could never interoperate.

        You've got to be kidding. SWT is entirely non-proprietary and open source--you can implement it freely, you can change it, you can use the code, whatever.

        That is in sharp contrast to Swing. Not only are there no open source implementations of Swing, you can't even implement it without satisfying a boatload of legal requirements imposed on you by Sun.

        Hats off to Sun's PR department: they have lots of people like you thinking that black is white.
    • Funny, I got my forte for free. I just can't make a commercial application with it and sell it and not pay anything for the tool. But I can play with and learn with it all I want.

      Is your problem that forte isn't for free for people developing commercial applications with it?

      • No, it is sun's problem. As another poster said, sun expected to give the razor (gratis forte, jvm) and sell the blades (commercial forte). But with Eclipse, ibm is giving the blades, too...
  • As usual... (Score:3, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@gUUU ... inus threevowels> on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:10AM (#8142595) Homepage Journal
    ...Slashdot is days late on the scoop. The Java community has already figured out [javalobby.org] that this is business as usual between Sun and IBM.

  • Java... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gnuman99 (746007) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:13AM (#8142606)
    Maybe if Sun actually released the source to Java under a free license, maybe, just maybe, people might improve it and use it.
  • by sQuEeDeN (565589) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:16AM (#8142617)
    I don't think it's as bad as the poster implies. Let's look at the facts:

    1: Sun develops Java. We all owe them for that. Let's face it. Love it or hate it, Sun has created a widely used language. They control what goes into the language.

    2: Eclipse, as a development platform, is gaining ground all the time. Great. I'm all for diversity.

    But, Sun's position is understandable. The presence of programming tools, in this corporate climate, can make or break a language. It seems like sun, more or less, is looking to have a more formal place in Eclipse's management. Conspiracy theories, of course, are abound.... except,
    JAVA IS SUN'S LANGUAGE. Imagine, if Sun had more a voice in eclipse development, think of what is possible!!! What a concept? The language developers and the IDE developers working togeter?

    Sorry for my smart-assed comments. What my point is, this has just as much potential to be a good thing for Eclipse. Sun is certainly capable of providing constructive agreement, and the Eclipse foundation doesn't actually need to listen to Sun. I just think that there's a lot of potential for cooperation.
    • by robbyjo (315601) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:49AM (#8142711) Homepage

      No, they want more influence that IMHO rather over-reaching. This paragraph show it:

      The question is significant because Sun and other tools vendors want to ensure that a system for creating tool plug-ins can coexist with the Eclipse approach, which IBM favors. Large Java companies and Microsoft encourage add-ons to their products to make their tools more attractive to developers.

      So, what Sun essentially wants is to have unified plugin system -- which I think it should be up to any IDE developer on how to do it rather than forcing the plugin standard. Sun sees Eclipse as a prospective unifier.

      I speculate that this would have something to do with the Java beans -- which was designed to be the definitive plugin standard for Java IDEs. Unfortunately, Java beans are so poorly designed that all developers would need to extend the basic features by a whole lot. Eclipse did that and succeeded. Morever, hordes of open source programmer backed it up and become de facto standard.

      What I see is that Sun wanted to get the momentum to recoup the control it has lost.

      • by cxvx (525894) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @07:04AM (#8143150) Homepage
        I speculate that this would have something to do with the Java beans -- which was designed to be the definitive plugin standard for Java IDEs. Unfortunately, Java beans are so poorly designed that all developers would need to extend the basic features by a whole lot.

        JavaBeans are not about IDE plugins. It was developed as a programming model to allow one to create visual components that could be easily modified and controlled in a GUI builder (as such, tables, textfields, trees, ... are all javabeans in Swing).

    • You're right, love it or hate it, Java is the brainchild of Sun, but (legitimately) part of the whole slashdot/software community is that a programming language is something that shouldn't be contained, or made propietary. Java is certainly greatly derived from C++ (its successes and its failures, yes), which was "owned" (perhaps not so strongly) by Bell labs. Yeah, Sun can control the JDKs and the packages (swing, whatever), but I could write up a useful package, throw it on the web and, what do you know
    • Remember, though, what Sun did to the Blackdown folks. Sun wants to control the Java market entirely, which is fine - That's their perogative as a company. They've shown a history of dominating and destroying open source groups that work with and for them, and given that they're in a weaker position overall now than they were in 1998 I see no reason to assume that they won't do the same to Eclipse.

  • by UpLateDrinkingCoffee (605179) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:26AM (#8142644)
    I have to say I'm glad there are competing groups. I'm sure Sun would love to roll eclipse into their community process, but by and large that has tended to produce some bloated standards IMHO.

    I'm just happy there is a real alternative to JBuilder now... don't get me wrong, I love JBuilder but there is no way I could afford it at the prices they are charging.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:45AM (#8142702)
      I think people are missing the point. Java is all about interoperability. Look at J2SE and J2EE platforms... code that is written to a spec can be deployed on any vendor's application server that adheres to that spec... ect. So, why should Java development tools still be proprietary? Thats what Sun is saying. Lets agree on specs like everything else we do. If Joe Hotdog writes a neat plugin for eclipse, it should work in all the other IDE's too. Nobody gives Sun credit for creating a great language and most importantly an open, competitive market.
  • Come on. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zebra_X (13249) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:27AM (#8142648)
    Sun - Shit or get off the pot.

    Honestly, Sun has been a perpetual source of sub-standard implementations of their own technologies for almost 10 years. What is the most trusted Java JVM for Linux or BSD systems? IBM JVM 1.3.1 "Black down". Increasingly this is no longer the case, as sun continues to revise the Java API faster than a decent implementation can be produced. I ask, Sun wants their net beans IDE to be "The One". Why?

    It's not as if they have done a great job implementing their own technologies in the past. In fact Sun is responsible for a day to day lack of leadership of the Java Platform as a whole. Take for example the great mess of XSLT and XML parsers. Sun's "reference implementations" of such things are infamous in the developer community. Incomplete implementations and low performance drive developers to find other tools, which may or may not do things the way that sun wants - more importantly it creates an environment where developers must use different tools to get the same job done, creating incompatibility and complexity in an environment that carries compatibility as a flag of independence.

    IBM has finally rallied around the notion of Linux and Java as a common platform - and Sun in usual fashion tries to "gain control". I ask the community what has Sun's control *REALLY* gotten us besides a mess of different API's, frameworks and "reference implementations".
    • Re:Come on. (Score:2, Funny)

      by Khakionion (544166)
      I ask the community what has Sun's control *REALLY* gotten us
      It's getting me out of class on Tuesday afternoon to see the Launch Event Webcast of the Sun Java Desktop System...

      ...which will promptly fail, probably, because its LDAP client will need FUCKING PATCHING RIGHT OUT OF THE GOD DAMNED BOX...

      ...I mean, it's going to be released non-compliant and b0rked, like Sol8 and Sol9 were.
    • Re:Come on. (Score:5, Informative)

      by cxvx (525894) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @07:23AM (#8143182) Homepage
      What is the most trusted Java JVM for Linux or BSD systems? IBM JVM 1.3.1 "Black down".

      Excuse me? You must be confusing the IBM JVM with the Blackdown JVM from blackdown.org [blackdown.org], which is a specialised port of the Sun JVM to Linux.

      Increasingly this is no longer the case, as sun continues to revise the Java API faster than a decent implementation can be produced.

      Faster than a decent implementation can be produced? You're really exaggerating now:
      Java has gone from 1.0 (Januari 1995) to 1.4.2 (June 2003, which was 9 months later than 1.4.1, September 2002) to 1.5 (alpha available now, not sure when scheduled for release, I thought the end of this year).
      At this moment I can choose between installing Sun 1.4.2, blackdown 1.4.1 and ibm 1.4.1 I on my gentoo box. Then there are also JVMs like JRockit, which is also at 1.4.2.

      The are also no major API changes between the point releases (1.4.1 for example added support for Webstart, 1.4.2 added WinXP and GTK look and feel), the rest are only bugfixes.

  • by The boojum (70419) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:31AM (#8142658)
    I find this interesting, considering that, not too long ago, the Eclipse consortium offered to join with Sun (and even change to a less threatening name if need be). Sun however, turned them down. [slashdot.org]

    Personally, I like the direction that Eclipse is going. I tried Forte once and it just didn't feel right. Eclipse however, has been fantastic since I found it and started using it as my work IDE. (My whole project team adopted it as well.) It has made coding Java a pleasure as no other IDE (in any language) has, and has led to me using Java as a development language for personal projects where I otherwise would have used C or C++. I've largely given over using XEmacs for coding Java. I'm also impressed by the speed of the Eclipse development cycle with new milestones coming out approximately every month. I always get this kid-in-the-candy-shop feeling checking out the New and Noteworthy page with each new milestone.
    • I dont get the point. I thought every single javacoder uses emacs+JDE... Are you not?
    • NetBeans gives Swing a bad name. The code in NetBeans is so slow and crap that everybody feels they need to blame something, and most people point the finger at the Swing API even though there are other IDEs written in Swing that work even faster than Eclipse.

      IMHO, Eclipse didn't need to be written on a whole new widget toolkit. If you want native widgets, write a set of UI delegates that use the native widgets. If you want a crappy API without garbage collection, use C...

      • Eclipse didn't need to be written on a whole new widget toolkit. If you want native widgets, write a set of UI delegates that use the native widgets.

        Suppose you want native widgets on 14 different OS's? Are you supposed to custom-build your widgets on each of those 14 OS's - even though you don't understand half of their API's?

        The whole idea of SWT is that somebody else has already "writ[ten] a set of UI delegates that use the native widgets". Why go and write another set?

        I haven't seen too many swin
        • What I was saying was that 'somebody else' could have written them all as native UI delegates, and still had the Swing API on the top, instead of having to invent a whole new, worse, API.

          Then you could easily have your gnome app lookalike contest. Windows is already taken care of if you have -Dswing.defaultlaf=com.sun.swing.plaf.windows.Wind owsLookAndFeel set as default in your Java installation, or if the equivalent is done in the code.

    • I am too. I've been using using Eclipse for a while now and its fantastic for applet development. Sun's Netbeans/Forte/WhateverItsCalledThisMonth was an absolute pain to setup. Eclipse is just a double-click away.

      I hope this squabble starts pushing the team a little, as numerous others and I, have been waiting on a "Folding" implementation [eclipse.org] for a very long time.
  • by crazyphilman (609923) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:33AM (#8142663) Journal
    Sun (to Eclipse): Hey, knock that crap off!

    Eclipse (with exaggerated innocence): Moi? Whatever do you mean?

    Sun: You know.

    Eclipse: Actually, no, I don't.

    Sun: Don't be coy!

    Eclipse: YAWN. Do you have something to say or what?

    Sun: You know damn well we're working on Swing, and Netbeans, and all that, and here you come out with SWT and start going off on weird tangents, I mean, hell, who's in charge here? I thought you were going to be cool about this.

    Eclipse: I am. People really dig java, and they're having a blast using Eclipse to work on it.

    Sun: Yeah, thanks a lot, poor Forte...

    Eclipse: I didn't tell you to charge so much for it.

    Sun: I didn't tell you to be free!

    Eclipse: No, that was my idea. But it's cool anyway. Anyway, you've got problems of your own. It's like, make up your mind already.

    Sun: What the hell are you talking about???

    Eclipse: Java 1.1.8, then Java 1.2, then Java 1.3, then 1.4, and every five minutes you "depreciate" something, driving your developers nuts...

    Sun: You... How can you... You...

    Eclipse: And then there's AWT, no, it's Swing, no, it's going to be some kind of weird beany scheme...

    Sun: You... OOOOH you make me SO MAD! Swing was a good idea! So were the beans!

    Eclipse: Well, so's SWT. Deal.

    Sun: It's not the same thing!

    Eclipse: Sure it is.

    Sun: Is not!

    Eclipse: Is too!

    Sun: Is not!

    Eclipse: Is too! Anyway, what's the difference? SWT is based on AWT, so it works everywhere, doesn't it? You should really dig it.

    Sun: (Sulks)

    Eclipse: Aw, come on, join the board of directors. You know you want to. You can even keep your Netbeans. I promise.

    Sun: I'll think about it...

    Eclipse: Yep. I know.

  • Sun is just pissed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rombuu (22914) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:44AM (#8142697)
    beacuse SWT is actually a nice cross platform toolkit, while Swing and AWT are horrible festering pieces of crap.
    • by Dukael_Mikakis (686324) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `retsreofwerdna'> on Saturday January 31, 2004 @04:13AM (#8142765)
      Swing and AWT are horrible festering pieces of crap

      Maybe not that bad, but not good. We use swing across the board at our company and I can't tell you how hideous each window is. And they look different on every machine. A layout that looks good on my system has buttons cramped in the corner on somebody else's.

      And everything runs slow as hell.

      Not saying that doing the stuff in C++ would be any easier, but Java's GUI packages are all sorts of shady.
      • by harmonica (29841)
        A layout that looks good on my system has buttons cramped in the corner on somebody else's.

        Sounds like you're not using layout managers correctly (or to put it differently, to their full potential).
    • I dont think the GUI toolkits are the issue here...

      IDEA [intellij.com] from the folks at intellij just about blows all other java IDEs out of the water IMHO, and its Swing.

      It does suffer from the occasional slow down (during garbage collection) but so does eclipse.

      Whats more, the look and feel is miles ahead of eclipse. It is commercial, but its worth every penny if you spend long enough infront of it.

  • It's like GNOME vs. KDE. They both do more or less the same thing, but they're still different.

    Sun and Eclipse will work together eventually, just like we now have freedesktop.org. Just cut the politics and "the community needs this and that" and keep doing what makes sense technology-wise.
  • User Interface (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c_waddington (681862) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @03:58AM (#8142738)
    Is it all about Swing vs AWT? I hope not. I think Eclipse is great! But Eclipse got it right and Sun got it wrong. I want my user interface to look like the operating system I'm using (not Java L&F) and I want it to be natively quick. Please compromise Sun - The native approach is better as long as the toolkit can always guarantee to draw the lowest common denominator. That's what Java should be - write once, run everywhere, to the best of individual platforms abilities.
    • You have to hack your Java distribution to make SWT look like native programs on Windows. By default, it looks like crap.
    • Re:User Interface (Score:3, Insightful)

      by glwtta (532858)
      But Eclipse got it right and Sun got it wrong. I want my user interface to look like the operating system I'm using (not Java L&F) and I want it to be natively quick.

      I don't. I want it to look the same on different platforms, and I don't care about "native" performance, at least on my machines netbeans is more than fast enough. Now, why is Sun (or rather the netbeans.org people) supposed to do what you want, anyway?

      • Re:User Interface (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Rich0 (548339) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @10:18AM (#8143523) Homepage
        Now, why is Sun (or rather the netbeans.org people) supposed to do what you want, anyway?

        They don't have to - any more than MS has to listen to my needs when coding the next version of Internet Explorer.

        However, when somebody does come along and listen to the needs of their customers, you'll see them flocking away in droves.

        If Sun wants to be the official creators of a substandard version of Java they should feel free to do so, but they shouldn't be surprised when people are publishing hacks left and right to make it actually work the way developers want it to work. Sure, the hack might not be the "one true way" in Sun's mind, and it would be better if Sun and IBM cooperated to get SWT integrated into Java rather than working in opposition. However, enough developers prefer the IBM way to the Sun way, to a degree that Sun is having trouble controlling their own language despite the fact that they have worked hard to keep much of it proprietary.

        They should just do what other have suggested and open source the language. They could take the UNIX(tm) approach and tell those who package up JDK's and JRE's that they can only use the "Java" trademark if they meet certain requirements.
      • Re:User Interface (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sanity (1431) *

        I don't. I want it to look the same on different platforms

        Then you are a fool, I pity the users of your software.

        As a user I expect apps running on Windows to have a L&F that is consistent with other apps on my platform, ditto for GTK, and OSX. IBM recognised this simple fact with SWT. Sun didn't quite get it with Swing but then tried to correct their mistake by reimplementing native L&F over their cross-platform widget set - which is nuts.

        It is just amazing that some developers are still s

  • Eclipse Forte (Score:5, Informative)

    by agwis (690872) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @04:40AM (#8142823)

    I've tried the 2 of them and they both are pretty decent IMHO. The big difference, and I mean big, is how responsive each are on a fairly moderate system. After starting forte, I can go have a coffee and a smoke and maybe even take a quick nap...at which point forte should be running when I get back and I can then get to work.

    Eclipse on the other hand is really fast. When I first tried it I couldn't believe that it was a Java program. It even looks good, rather than that ancient, dull look that most Java apps have.

    Since then, I've upgraded to a P4 with 1G ram and they both run pretty good (although Eclipse is still much faster). I do like both of them but Sun and IBM and anyone else interested in furthering Java should collaborate on 1 killer IDE that puts any MS tools to shame, and allows lazy programmers (like me!) to be more productive in less time :) As Eclipse appears superior to forte and probably has the largest installed base (don't know how it compares to Jbuilder) Sun would probably get a lot more respect from developers.

    -Pat

  • Dissenting opinion (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aeoo (568706)
    I disagree with most people here. I think AWT is better than SWT. Why? Because AWT is equally fast on all platforms. SWT-GTK is dog slow on Linux (and probably any other *nix platform, like FreeBSD).

    I repeat.

    SWT GTK is unusable under Linux and Eclipse devs do not know what is wrong and cannot fix the bug, even after much screaming on bugzilla!

    This shows a clear inferiority of SWT to me. It's not crossplatform in a workable way.

    AWT may be ugly, but it works! It may not be the fastest, but it is f
    • by gtshafted (580114) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @05:15AM (#8142906)
      "This shows a clear inferiority of SWT to me."

      First, I dont' think it's realistic to cripple a UI's features for crosscompatibility. Second, looks do count or most people wouldn't switch from Swing's nasty ass metal look.

      "IDEA uses Swing and it's fast enough. JEdit using Swing and it is fast enough."

      The people who use IDEA typically have the money to counteract Swing's slow ass performance (this is a good assumption of someone that drops a couple grand for an IDE). On the other hand, most people like me, do not have the money for a nice rig that costs $3000.

      And no, JEdit is not fast enough. That's like saying Netbeans is fast enough. Neither can handle Eclipse's cool coding features on a crappy computer, and neither responds to me faster than I can think (using a crappy under $1000 computer).

      "It's not crossplatform in a workable way."

      It is, that's why Eclipse is super popular.

      • by Trejkaz (615352) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @06:57AM (#8143134) Homepage

        First, I dont' think it's realistic to cripple a UI's features for crosscompatibility. Second, looks do count or most people wouldn't switch from Swing's nasty ass metal look.

        As opposed to SWT's nasty ass Windows 2000 look.

        The people who use IDEA typically have the money to counteract Swing's slow ass performance (this is a good assumption of someone that drops a couple grand for an IDE). On the other hand, most people like me, do not have the money for a nice rig that costs $3000.

        This is complete bullshit. IntelliJ IDEA runs fine on a PII-333 laptop with 256Mb of RAM, whereas Eclipse runs like complete shit on the same box. Since I don't have $3000 for the new laptop with specs high enough to run Eclipse, I won't be buying up in order to use it any time soon.

        And no, JEdit is not fast enough. That's like saying Netbeans is fast enough. Neither can handle Eclipse's cool coding features on a crappy computer,

        Well you're right there, at least, JEdit and NetBeans both stink.

    • SWT GTK is unusable under Linux

      I beg to differ: it's very usable for me.

      More importantly (in a text editor), it has excellent font support, thanks to GTK+'s fontconfig/freetype support. AWT/Swing basically only supports the quite unreadable Lucida fonts that are included in the JRE -- and no sub-pixel anti-aliasing.

      That hurts readability a lot, especially on an LCD monitor.
    • Are you talking about programming with it or using it for displaying the editor?

      I can't speak for SWT coding, but SWT GTK runs fine in linux, so does eclipse. I wouldn't have been using it as my main editor for the last 2 years otherwise. I've had the motif and GTK versions running on sub 500mhz machines and they're still plenty useable enough to develop on. Thats even on different distro's with different versions of java installed. Sounds like a local issue rather than a problem with SWT.

      SWT works great
    • I think AWT is better than SWT

      Sure, maybe if you don't need silly controls like tables or trees, then awt is great.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @05:07AM (#8142880) Homepage Journal
    I'm beginning to think that Sun's a company of very bright engineering types. Dilbert would only assume that the way he says is doing something is The Right Way. Now imagine if the company was full of Dilberts with not enough PHBs to keep them all in check. I think that's kind of the situation we have with them. They can't understand why everyone else can't see the genius of their solutions. It's just the engineer-with-the-perfect-solution mentality. We all get like that sometimes.
  • I can't help but wonder why people really care about this? NetBeans is a bloated slow piece of crap. JBuilder [borland.com] is a bloated expensive slow piece of crap. Eclipse [eclipse.org] is actually OK. It's the second best out there. The best tool, IDEA [intellij.com] costs money but not very much. There are also a whole other bunch of tools like JEdit [jedit.org] which are not whole IDE's, but good anyway.

    In the end, you, as a developer need to figure out what tool you want to use. I think it's great there are so many choices. On the project I'm working

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It seems Sun has a problem understanding GPL, and similar Free Software/Open Source Software type licenses and projects today.

    Their insistence on control has left them in an increasingly isolated position." "Without IBM, Sun could never have built the success Java has enjoyed. Without Sun, however, the IBM-led Eclipse group has been making great strides.

    The new Sun is smarter than that [newsforge.com]. You can trust them

    Yeah.

    Unix will be back. Really, it will. Customers will return to Solaris one day! After all

  • ...but this is no better. We always give M$ a hard time about everything, but let's not forget that any company found in the same position can act just as badly. It's hard being on top and not step into the same tracks.
  • by barcodez (580516) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @07:37AM (#8143204)
    I have tried each and every release of Eclipse and found it to be a terrible IDE. It's so unintutive that I could almost believe that Sun made their Solaris developers work on it in secret just to piss of Sun.

    What's with SWT? It's horrible to code with. It has no really control over look and feel. You have to dispose of everything explicitly (al la C++) which completely goes against Javas garbage collection paradigm.

    I right an app in SWT it looks one way on Windows and another way on Gnome (usually a complete mess on one).

    Don't get me wrong I think Forte and Sun One are pretty awful too. The only sensible choice in the IDE market right now is Intellij (no don't work for them). However this IDE is not open or free (unfortunately).

    Personally I don't think Sun or IBM are particularly good at writing software and should stick to their Hardware and Consulting (IBM) core competancies.
    • First paragraph second sentence should read: "It's so unintutive that I could almost believe that Sun made their Solaris developers work on it in secret just to piss of _IBM_."
    • I have tried each and every release of Eclipse and found it to be an excellent IDE. Eclipse 2.0 was good, and it has only improved with version 3 Milestones 4, 5, and 6. Did you sample the new UI changes in M6? Some like it and some hate it. What's considered intuitive isn't necessarily something that can be objectively measured. The first time I tried out Eclipse I loved it. Sure, it has it's quirks (everything is a project of some sort...) but I think it's vastly superior to anything else I've tried
    • > You have to dispose of everything explicitly (al la C++) which completely goes against Javas garbage collection paradigm.

      GC was not made to clean up (native) resource allocations, but only to reclaim memory. You should bear that in mind.
    • I right an app in SWT it looks one way on Windows and another way on Gnome (usually a complete mess on one).

      ...that's kind of the point. If it runs on Windows it uses Windows widgets and if it runs on Linux it uses GTK+2 widgets so that it looks like a native application. It sure as hell looks a million times better than SWING or AWT. Sheesh. Gimme a break.

  • according to the article, IBM is basically going to maintain control of this project. it is also hinted, in the article, that the project is not going to accept code contributions from outside of the group of people who are members of the project.

    in other words, it is possible to obtain the source code, but the open-ness of the project is a complete sham.

    that's fine by me, because at least the code is available.

    ... but what may come as a shock to most open source developers is that as far as most

  • From Sun's letter: Can you toe the very difficult line of being sensitive to the business interests of the participating vendors, and not just look at technology for technology's sake?

    I won't speak for Eclipse, but if that question were put to me, I would answer along the lines of: "No. We are technologists. We will focus on technology. It is the responsibility of busineses to focus on business interests. Agile busineses will adapt to new and changing technology, or they will die."

  • by DdJ (10790) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @12:00PM (#8143837) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I'm a bit appalled that so many bits of Java are so tricky that tools are really needed.

    When I code in C, I use Emacs and Make, and I don't think I'm at much of a disadvantage with respect to people who are using C IDEs. In an ideal world, when I code in Java, I'd like to use Emacs and Ant, and I'd like to be at not much of a disadvantage with respect to people using Eclipse and NetBeans.

    I actually have high hopes for Java 1.5 in this regard. The whole "metadata" thing could totally revolutionize Java development, making it pretty simple to do fairly complicated things. My hopes are that once that's in place, the tools are much less necessary.
  • by unoengborg (209251) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @12:08PM (#8143870) Homepage
    If Sun had done their job properly, this would never have happened. IBM considered (I think they even tried) using swing for Eclips but found that is was too porly optimized.

    And even worse, swing was full of bugs. Up until j2se 1.4.x swing doesn't support european keyboards, and some characters commonly used in many programming languages can't be typed using various European locales on some platforms. This bug has bin around since the day of jdk1.2 and there are numerous others that act as show stoppers for writing serious applications with java GUI. And they have bin around for years.

    This is very sad since the swing architecture is quite elegant. But somehow Sun decided that java was for the server side only.

    Now they complain that a major app like an IDE isn't using their archtecturally good, but in reality unsuported GUI framework. Sun would do much better if they started to fix the bugs in swing, and perhaps use some profiling tool to find the worst performance bottlenecks, than to try to make development tools of their own.

    That way people could actually use java for creating cross platform GUI apps. This is what java once was intended for. As it is today, you are probably better of using QT and C++ for cross platform work.

    Today the developers have already chosen Eclips.It have a good chance of replacing emacs as the swiss army knife of software development.Just like most people extending emacs didn't complain that they had to use lisp to extend their tool even if they normally didn't do their work in lisp, people extending eclipse will not mind using swt.

    As Eclipse is the dominating java IDE of today tool venders will have to support it for a long period of time. A defacto standard is alread set.

    By creating an alternative standard Sun is the one who is creating the fragmentation. And given Suns long tradition of creating IDEs with low usability fragment is probably the only thing it will be.
    The only OK development tool I have seen so far is Forte/Netbeans and that was adopted by Sun in a quit mature state.

    Instead Sun should focus on fixing swing. That way people might start using it for their cross platform GUIs regardless of what IDE they prefer to use. If they don't, people might find out that swing in reality only sort of works on windows, and then having a native swt library support for a few other platforms doesn't seam too bad.

  • by einer (459199) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @12:46PM (#8144065) Journal
    What the hell? Sun wants Eclipse to start doing things more like NetBeans? I hope not. I switched to Eclipse because NetBeans was nearly unusable. Ostensibly Sun's move is an effort to prevent vendor lockin, but really, they just want to prevent developers from being locked in to any vendor but Sun.

    Eclipse allows you to develop plugins for the IDE, and provides a powerful interface to do so. NetBeans allows for plugins as well. More people are doing plugins for Eclipse. Plugins help drive the market. Seems like Sun has plugin envy.

    "Don't define 'interoperability' on your own terms, but rather work with other major players in the industry to achieve actual interoperability," the Sun letter told Eclipse members. "Push the organization to be a unifying force for Java technology."

    Sun should take it's own advice. I hope Eclipse doesn't try and fix what ain't broke. Sun should adopt Eclipse's model. It is clearly superior.
  • by XNormal (8617) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @01:12PM (#8144228) Homepage
    It's a general-purpuse IDE that happens to be implmented in

    Let's see: you want to build an IDE. You want to write it in a high-level language with garbage collection. You want high performance. You don't want to use a non-mainstream language like Smalltalk. There aren't so many options.

    So you pick Java.

    The GUI APIs suck. So you build a new one from scratch and create SWT.

    The fact that Eclipse is written in Java is not supposed to be of interest to its users except the few power-users that write extensions. The fact that it can be used to write Java code is irrelevant, too. After all, you can write Java in Emacs or J# in Microsoft Visual Studio.

    Sun, get off IBM's back.
  • by ajagci (737734) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @01:19PM (#8144284)
    "The big-picture (goal) is a Java technology solution that ensures no 'lock in' to a given platform," the letter states.

    That is, no lock-in other than into Java itself, of course.

    In particular, Sun warned that the new bylaws of Eclipse give the position of executive director, now held by an IBM employee, an "unusual amount of power" to dictate the work of the open-source group. Sun also questioned whether IBM employees will continue to make up the majority of project staffers.

    Sun is one to talk. Eclipse is open source. Anybody can take it and fork it if they don't like what the Eclipse effort is doing.

    That's in stark contrast to Sun's Java implementation: not only is it fully owned and controlled by Sun, Sun even owns the patents and copyrights related to the specifications. And Sun's "Java Community Effort" is run by numerous people from Sun. And because Sun is so afraid that people are going to run away in droves given a choice to do their own thing, they are refusing to open up their Java specs or implementation. They say there is "a risk of forking"--you bet there is, given how poor a job Sun has been doing.

    So, what does that mean? IBM has a little influence over an open source effort to produce one of many development tools, an influence that only matters as long as Eclipse does a good job because the minute they stop, people will fork it. Sun, on the other hand, has sunk their teeth and claws into the Java standard and platform and isn't letting go. Sun has the entire industry by the throat and various other unmentionable parts.

    Sun's hypocrisy is simply astounding. What I can't figure out is whether anybody at Sun actually believes the PR bullshit they are releasing or whether the entire company is in on it.
  • by chickenwing (28429) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:17PM (#8146929) Homepage
    I've tried both NetBeans and Eclipse and I don't get the point.

    For me, both are too intrusive on the development process. I have a file with some program, script, or data and I want to edit it. Maybe this file will be fed to some type of filter, or is in some form that the editor does not "know" about. Maybe it is from one of my "projects" or maybe is a random file that I want to edit or examine.

    It seems like in these situations, the typical IDE wants to know what "project" this file belongs to, or wants to *copy* this file from its working directory to some IDE owned part of the filesystem. Like I've made some commitment to never use other editors again, so I won't mind that the "real" copy of this file will now live off of some IDE owned directory now. I don't understand why an IDE can't keep what ever type of metadata it wants its own namespace but let me keep my working file in whatever place suits me.

    It also seems that the point of these IDE's is to enable people to program who need crutches to do so. It seems with the excess supply of labor, it is now possible to hire people who don't need this type of help. I would question the wisdom of hiring someone who cannot build a mental model of the system they are working on, or need "wizards" that insert boilerplate "hello world" programs to get you started. Yet, I've seen plenty of job postings that seem to suggest that knowing how to use a particular IDE is equivalent to knowing the language itself.

    That is not to say some automation like completion are not good. The less typing the better. But there is a difference between saving keystrokes and enabling people who don't know what they are doing. It is also interesting to me that the types of people who rely on their editor to know how to program are the same types who end up wasting more time navigating through a bunch of menus per lines of code written.

    Its like the person who uses some GUI filemanager rather than a shell with file completion abilities. Witness the shell user change directories before the GUI users hand even reaches the mouse. While a GUI filemanager is a good tool to enable a secretary who doesn't care to learn how to use a computer, it is a sad statement when an IDE is used to enable a programer who doesn't care to learn how to program.

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