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ActiveState Returns to Open Source Roots 89

constab writes "ActiveState, the Sophos-owned company that makes free distributions and commercial programming tools for programming languages like Perl, Python, PHP, Tcl and Ruby, has been sold to a Canadian VC firm. According to the article, ActiveState will go back to its open-source roots and continue development of ActivePerl, ActivePython and ActiveTcl. A full set of Mac OS X on Intel downloads is also in the works."
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ActiveState Returns to Open Source Roots

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  • OS X on Intel? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <> on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:51AM (#14657749)
    Do they mean OS X on Intel Macs, or working on cracking a generic version of OS X86 to run on beige boxes (illegal)? The article isn't too clear.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:19AM (#14657871)
    Let's just hope part of this "back to the roots" thing they FINALLY improve ActivePerl so it can _finally_ install XS compiled modules from CPAN.

    It the CamelPack [] guy that won the "vertical metre of beer" challenge can enhance ActivePerl to do it in only 2 days, why has it taken ActiveState so long?
  • by Awptimus Prime ( 695459 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @05:10AM (#14658365)
    I don't use cygwin for perl, but I do use it for shell scripting in Windows. Mind you, nothing I've done is very portable, but it is easier since I grew up on bash scripting. :)

    Combine with WinMacro, or another windows-native automator and you can make some very crazy creations that were never meant to exist.
  • by jma05 ( 897351 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @05:45AM (#14658465)
    >> everyone use Active(perl,python) raise your hand. i don't see many hands.

    Sure you would. If you wait for others to respond. I have been using ActivePython for over 4 years now. They should have a fine service model. Large corporations would be glad to license support if they develop software over these tools. And unlike JBoss, ActiveState does not need to develop to the same extent. They spend less money, may make make money only proportional to that. But to dismiss that is too early. Dynamic Languages are only begining to get accepted into the enterprise. They should be prepared well by the time the market is ripe.
  • by Nurgled ( 63197 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @08:21AM (#14658884)

    Indeed. I (through my company) have licences for a bunch of their Perl tools for Windows because at work I have to use a Windows machine. Having Windows around is good when it comes to ensuring code is portable, anyway. There are certain CPAN modules which do not currently build on Windows which one must avoid if attempting to cross-platform Perl apps.

    I can understand why some would use Cygwin but I personally gave up on Cygwin for all uses a few years back since I was constantly running into issues with multiple applications installing their own copies of the cygwin DLL and it getting all confused, not to mention the fact that Cygwin stuff always starts up so slowly. Instead, I use native ports of most of the "standard" GNU command line utilities [], ActivePerl and a bunch of other all-native bits and pieces to make my usage of Windows less of a pain in the rear.

    Note also that ActiveState has a tool for packaging up perl applications into Windows executables. It's a total hack revolving around a self-extracting archive but it's transparent enough to the end user that at my office we have several little home-grown tools written in Perl but most users don't even have Perl installed let alone know or care that they're written in Perl.

  • by fireboy1919 ( 257783 ) <> on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @09:04AM (#14659025) Homepage Journal
    The dev tools are fine. Eclipse can debug perl and even javascript seamlessly - allowing you to watch variables, stop on a given line, etc. with an embedded webserver and webbrowser. What isn't is the ActivePerl repository. Its almost entirely built by scripts, and the scripts are easily tripped up.

    Hopefully, they'll put a bit of effort into actually converting CPAN packages to ActivePerl so that ActivePerl enjoys a more complete collection of packages. Its not just the little, barely used packages that are missing. For example, Template-Toolkit isn't on ActivePerl. Maybe they could get packages from others who are currently maintaining ActivePerl repositories of tons of missing packages.

    Then maybe I can stop maintaining my virtual *nix workstation at work just to create ActivePerl packages.
  • by kahn ( 549547 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @09:39AM (#14659165)
    Its true though... It seems all sophos wanted is PureMessage and the dumped ActiveState as soon as they could.

    Personally, I would like to see ActiveState develop another sieve based milter and open source it. Puremessage was a great product with great support when I used it at my last job.

  • by rainman_bc ( 735332 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:27PM (#14661396)
    Eclipse can debug perl and even javascript seamlessly

    If it was stable enough to run. I've tried to use eclipse-ruby for working on rails projects, and it regularly hangs on my Linux laptop.

    If activestate ever opened up Komodo to the public, I'd switch in a heartbeat.
  • by muyuubyou ( 621373 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @04:02PM (#14662559)
    I second rainman_bc. It isn't stable enough, and their customer support is lacking. I ran into multiple issues to get the Perl debugger to work properly due to undocumented conflicts. Even after getting it running with the debugger and all, it was slow and unstable (the debugging mostly).

    I ended up buying a license of Komodo Personal for 30 bucks, and been happy ever since.

    It covers all my installations for just 30 bucks, 3 versions included: Linux, Mac and Windows. I'm happy to pimp it.

    Got it hung under windows a couple of times, and it takes quite a bit of memory - that are my only complaints. I'd recommend 512MB at least.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court