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Open Source Killing Commercial Developer Tools

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the evolving-ecosystem dept.

Programming 742

jexrand recommends an interview with John De Goes in which he argues: "The tools market is dead. Open source killed it." The software developer turned president of N-BRAIN explains the effect that open source has had on the developer tools market, and how this forced the company to release the personal edition of UNA free of charge. According to De Goes, selling a source-code editor, even a very good one, is all but impossible in the post-open source era, especially given that, "Some developers would rather quit their job than be forced to use a new editor or IDE." N-BRAIN's decision is but one in a string of similar announcements from tools companies announcing the free release of their previously commercial development tools.

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and piracy killed music (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722245)

and gasoline killed steam, and steam killed sail, and sail killed slave rowers...

Its called progress.

Re:and piracy killed music (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722333)

and gasoline killed steam, and steam killed sail, and sail killed slave rowers...
It's more like:

Diesel engines (and electricity on the railways) killed steam, steam killed sail. Slave rowers were killed off by cannon and the fact that a 17th century man-o-war was simply to big and well protected against cannon shot into the waterline for any galley to stand a chance of successfully ramming it.

Yes.. I'm done nitpicking...

Re:and piracy killed music (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722357)

The "Software Development with UNA" animation is falsified and I have evidence,

1) their developers are poorly animated / suffering from Parkinsons
2) half of their developers are female and thin. No programmers are both female AND thin. Infact the only exception to this rule is Wendy Friedlander [myspacecdn.com] .
3) the programmers smash their heads together repeatedly despite the coordination afforded to them by UNA (Use No Abbreviations)

Re:and piracy killed music (5, Funny)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722409)

Extra, extra! Better, cheaper tools make worse, more expensive ones unsellable! Film at 11.

Re:and piracy killed music (5, Insightful)

Chief Camel Breeder (1015017) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722519)

Extra, extra! Better, cheaper tools make worse, more expensive ones unsellable! Film at 11.

Doubtless. But inferior, cost-free tools sometimes make better, commercial ones unsellable. That is the tragedy.

Re:and piracy killed music (5, Insightful)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722621)

Tragedy? That's free market in its purest form!

Re:and piracy killed music (4, Interesting)

Chief Camel Breeder (1015017) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722761)

Tragedy? That's free market in its purest form!

Pure free-market economics assume that the players are making rational informed decisions. In software acquisition, that assumption fails often.

If the more-expensive tool saves time worth more than its cost, then the appropriate free-market choice is to invest. My experience is that buyers at all levels won't do that when there's a cost-free alternative. They'd rather waste time (=money) or lose quality (=money due to cost of fixing later) than spend capital.

Re:and piracy killed music (3, Insightful)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722717)

curious, however, that the screenshot on their site looks too much close on netbeans 5.5.....

Also, Visual Studio express it is NOT open source, and kicked out every possible competition on ms.net/msc++

Re:and piracy killed music (3, Insightful)

msormune (808119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722737)

No it's not progress. It would be if OS tools provided an actual better and more advanced way of writing software. But as the article says, OS development tools have no technological advantage; The only advantage is they're free.

Re:and piracy killed music (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722831)

No analogy is perfect:

and gasoline killed steam
Not yet. To play any single-player retail PC game published by Valve since Half-Life 2, we still need Internet access on that machine.

and steam killed sail
Not anymore. Due to the rising cost of fuel, a lot of shipping companies have been looking into kite propulsion.

Boo Hoo (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722269)

Cry me a fucking river.

Re:Boo Hoo (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722421)

Cry me a fucking river
How' s this? [rockpapersaddam.com]

Why complain? (4, Funny)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722281)

If you want to complain, use emacs. That will give you a whole set of (other) reasons.

Re:Why complain? (3, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722431)

Having been forced to use Emacs at Uni, I'd have thought it would positively promote commercial editors....

Actually I find that I use Notepad++ these days, it does enough of what Emacs does to please, but does it in a simpler fashion, I don't have to remember 5^10*24 keypress combinations.

Aside from that, I'd have thought it was Visual Studio that's killing the market myself, it has free versions, has the industry standard languages, and always implements the most recent windows technology.

Re:Why complain? (2, Informative)

ztransform (929641) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722579)

If you don't have a .emacs file then you kind of missed the point with Emacs.

Of particular benefit is a function like:
(global-set-key [A-f10] 'electric-buffer-list)
which binds a key to a function.

Re:Why complain? (1)

farker haiku (883529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722635)

uh. i'd rather use that open source ide eclipse [eclipse.org] for java development. You know, Java, the . [tiobe.com]

Re:Why complain? (1)

farker haiku (883529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722655)

not quite sure how the industry standard part of my post got cut off, but meh. that's what the second link was supposed to say.

Re:Why complain? (5, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722637)

Actually I find that I use Notepad++ these days, it does enough of what Emacs does ...

Bah. What good is an editor that doesn't include email, usenet, telnet and ftp functions?

Seriously, though, I don't doubt your sincerity, but whenever I read something along the lines of "It works great!", I wonder why it is the endorsement never includes its limitations, or what should be a requisite qualifier of "It works, but only for the limited manner in which I need it to work."

Re:Why complain? (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722807)

Seriously, though, I don't doubt your sincerity, but whenever I read something along the lines of "It works great!", I wonder why it is the endorsement never includes its limitations, or what should be a requisite qualifier of "It works, but only for the limited manner in which I need it to work."

Is a Slashdot post the place for a blow by blow account of the reasons for Notepad++ being good? I could go on for ages, I've become quite a fan.

Its well designed, easy to use, and has the features I personally need. I don't like the way it defaults to *.txt extensions on saving new files, but I suspect this is just my not knowing what setting to change. Plus I rarely use it to create new files, which may explain why I've not sorted this yet. On the plus side, its code indentation feature rocks.

I'd have thought also that
"It works, but only for the limited manner in which I need it to work."

is all the justification anyone would need.

In the Open Source World? (2, Insightful)

hailukah (1270532) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722283)

1. Give away software 2. ??? 3. Profit!

Re:In the Open Source World? (3, Insightful)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722345)

In the Open Source World?
1. Give away software 2. ??? 3. Profit!


Suggestions for step 2 - Charge for education, tailoring for specific customers, continued development.

Perhaps not as many can make a living from it, but not much use complaining, it's like being angry at trees for driving profitable oxygen-factories out of business.

??? equals (2, Informative)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722465)

??? can stand for many things
  • charge for support
  • charge for customization
  • get free QC
  • use all the other free tools out there for your own development
In other words, sell software as a service, not as a product.

Re:In the Open Source World? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722581)

it's like being angry at trees for driving profitable oxygen-factories out of business.
Well, we already have a solution to THAT!

Visual Studio still seems to be selling (4, Insightful)

Tsagadai (922574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722289)

Markets which close because of open source tools are akin to weavers complaining about mechanical looms in days of old. Technology advances and no one wants to buy the old way any more. It is not a bad thing, it's progress. The less companies are paying for software the more they can spend on expanding their products and making money instead of sinking money into re-inventing the wheel.

Re:Visual Studio still seems to be selling (2, Insightful)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722389)

It's Visual Studio (plus add-ins) arm-in-arm with the Team Foundation Server that's really selling I'd say.

TFS is not cheap, no really it's not, and yet it sells very well.

Re:Visual Studio still seems to be selling (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722467)

That'd because these companies don't employ respectable C++ programmers. I would not touch Visual Studio with a 10 ft pole for C++. My code works in Netbeans or g++ but breaks in VS beause Microsoft doesn't like being ISO compliant and forgets to add support for the New function or is very nitpicky about header includes not having .h on the end.

Netbeans is all I need to create kick ass software and it's free and open source. YOu just have to look a little harder to find the netbeans source code on their site.

Re:Visual Studio still seems to be selling (4, Informative)

Interfacer (560564) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722775)

I usually don't reply to AC, but what the hell...

I don't know what compiler versions you are talking about.
VC6 was not iso compliant. No wonder. the ISO standard wasn't ratified at that time.
But g++ 2.95 scored equally bad, or worse.
VC++8.x and 9 are very compliant, and on par with g++.

Sure VC++ has compiler extensions, but so does g++, which litters the global namespace with ISO non-conformant functionnames (snprintf).
However, VC++ also has a switch that turns it into ISO mode, allowing not a single compiler extension.

And I don't know if you know, but a lot of headers (string for example) are supposed to come WITHOUT the .h extension.
string.h is a C include header. string is a C++ include header.
But hey, at least you're a respectable programmer. Me, I use whatever tool I need to get the job done.

Re:Visual Studio still seems to be selling (1)

alext (29323) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722471)

No, it would be akin to weavers complaining about cloth being given away for nothing.

And no technological progress is implied, in fact in the cases in the article the products are the same.

Re:Visual Studio still seems to be selling (1)

realnowhereman (263389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722537)

Some might argue that open source is technological progress.

Re:Visual Studio still seems to be selling (1)

alext (29323) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722617)

Presumably the same people would regard a free novel as progress in literature.

Re:Visual Studio still seems to be selling (1)

ricegf (1059658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722797)

Or more accurately, by the people who would regard a novel published under a creative commons share-alike license as progress in literature.

Re:Visual Studio still seems to be selling (2, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722651)

no it's nothing like that. Software only costs you once to develop it. cloth is a continually drain for weavers as they require raw products to make.

Software is unique it doesn't have raw products that make it up so once you have designed it it is free to make unlimited copies.

Re:Visual Studio still seems to be selling (1)

alext (29323) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722687)

What part of the article led you to believe that the issue concerned the distribution cost of software and not the development cost?

Re:Visual Studio still seems to be selling (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722627)

Also, Source Insight [sourceinsight.com] is still in business. $240 a seat, and it's a source editor, not an IDE. I think it's a steal at that price, but then I don't undervalue my time, or over-value the worth of editors/IDEs that require you to "invest" hours of time to learn hundreds of macros and shortcuts.

I'm sure that people trying to sell crappy half assed editors will be having a tough time of it, but there is a market: they're just not good enough to compete in it.

Re:Visual Studio still seems to be selling (2, Insightful)

moonbender (547943) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722781)

I just looked at the link - for Java developing, what does Source Insight offer that Eclipse doesn't? Or, put in another way, it looks like Source Insight offers features for C/C++ development that are fairly standard for Java development, which admittedly is pretty impressive, since it's MUCH harder to do for C++ than for Java. I'm talking about finding references, displaying call graphs etc. Can't say I'm a fan of the "marble" themed backgrounds or the garish syntax formatting with Comic Sans MS. ;)

We'll see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722291)

I hope to get my current company to buy us IntelliJ licenses soon. I have collected points where it's significantly better than Eclipse, and will propose a testing period after the current release. If we can just get over the initial getting-used-to phase, I think there will be agreement that IntelliJ is worth the extra money. Especially since Eclipse keeps crashing, too.

(Posting anonymously because this is not widespread knowledge in the company yet)

Don't let the door hit you on the way out... (5, Insightful)

Daffy Duck (17350) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722293)

"Some developers would rather quit their job than be forced to use a new editor or IDE."
And I suspect their bosses would be glad to be rid of these prima donnas. Nothing says "value" like "I refuse to learn!".

Re:Don't let the door hit you on the way out... (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722311)

So a company refusing to listen to its developers is better?

If someone told me I had to use Emacs instead of VI I'd tell them that in doing so they would lose about 90% productivity, if told to go ahead anyways I would probably start looking for something else since management no longer respects my opinion.

Re:Don't let the door hit you on the way out... (4, Insightful)

Daffy Duck (17350) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722367)

I'm a developer myself, and a somewhat average one at my company. (I use vi and I do ok.) The real superstars have gone through half a dozen different editors and they all have their preferences, but not one of them would complain for more than five minutes if they were required to standardize on one to streamline the team. Management does listen to them, because they have great development ideas and don't get all pissy about the small stuff.

It's a myth that coders are precious flowers that have to be pampered to be productive.

Re:Don't let the door hit you on the way out... (1)

MathFox (686808) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722697)

Why would one force a developer to use a specific editor? As long as it creates source files that can be compiled and checked into the version control system any text editor can be used. (I used Vim in an environment dominated by Visual Studio, no problems.) The only thing management has to do is obtain proper licenses for the editors used. The programmer is more productive with an editor (s)he is familiar with.

Re:Don't let the door hit you on the way out... (2, Interesting)

DavidpFitz (136265) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722385)

If someone told me I had to use Emacs instead of VI I'd tell them that in doing so they would lose about 90% productivity, if told to go ahead anyways I would probably start looking for something else since management no longer respects my opinion.

Not necessarily. They may have asked around and found you were the only one who wanted to use VI, and that everyone else wanted to use Emacs.

Just because someone from management doesn't act upon your preference doesn't mean they didn't listen or value your opinion. They just may not have agreed with it, and given the position they are in they have the right - and mandate - to act accordingly.

If you're going to be a prima-donna and expect a company to bow to a developers wishes, then you are probably not going to be missed.

Not all people in management are PHB types - of course, most aren't. Lots are very clever people who deserve their positions and although you may not agree with them, that doesn't mean that they are wrong.

Re:Don't let the door hit you on the way out... (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722461)

I can't see emacs vs vi being a big workplace issue, since both are free. I can see an issue arising if the company pay for an IDE and their developers won't use it, thats all about getting value for the money spent.

Vi and Emacs are not IDEs, they don't have non compatible project files, its all just text. I don't think they would be a real problem.

Re:Don't let the door hit you on the way out... (2, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722493)

Just because someone from management doesn't act upon your preference doesn't mean they didn't listen or value your opinion.

Is there any value to the company in standardizing on a text editor? IDEs could probably be argued, as they save project files etc in formats that are incompatible with anything else so mixing environments leads to a lot of duplication of effort keeping project files in sync, but between Emacs and vi (and proprietary editors like the TFA's subject), I strongly suspect you'd get better productivity from your developers by letting them use whatever they're familiar with. In that case, what is someone from management doing mandating which text editors developers use anyway? Maybe the company wouldn't miss such a "prima donna", but I expect the feeling would be mutual, as good developers like to work in companies where the management is as good at making decisions about the company's bottom line as the developer is at coding.

Re:Don't let the door hit you on the way out... (2, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722329)

Learning a new language for a task is one thing. The benefits are obvious. Learning a new editor or IDE is not so obvious. They're simply tools to make your life easier to get a job done. If you already have a hammer you like then why be forced to use another hammer to bang in the same nails?

Really? (4, Interesting)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722299)

"Some developers would rather quit their job than be forced to use a new editor or IDE."

And some prima-donna developers will presumably find themselves without a job after a couple of resignations based on the code-editor they were required to use.

I'm glad to see that (F)OSS is making an impact, even if it means that a company has to give away their software. I know that this might put a lot of jobs at risk, which is bad, but maintaining a false-economy-based business model as a welfare system is, I tend to assume, more harmful to the overall economy. Plus there's always the option to release advanced tools under a paid-for license, as well as the paid-for support contract.

Re:Really? (1)

alext (29323) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722577)

So to summarise, paying staff to work on a base product is "welfare" and harms the overall economy, but paying them to work on something "advanced" does not.

Re:Really? (4, Interesting)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722833)

So to summarise, paying staff to work on a base product is "welfare" and harms the overall economy, but paying them to work on something "advanced" does not.

Not at all. Economy's not based on what we'd like it to be, not based on anything moral or worthy, but simply upon what is. And if there's competition in a market for a code editor (or anything else at all) which is being distributed for no cost then the commercial entities have to compete against that product. Saying, as Mike Masnick, from Techdirt, asserts "that you can't compete against free" means that "you can't compete, period."

Product A achieves the same ends as Product B. Product A is free, Product B requires a payment. If there is no distinction between the two products except price, then many people will go for Product A, and will forgive a few quirks or bugs. I tend to assume then that Product B has to compete with this product to maintain, or gain, market share. This is why I tend to believe that there should be a basic free version. The paid-for version should have added value; whether it's advanced features and/or support is largely irrelevant; the point is that to justify the cost of the product there has to be more than just the basics, which can be acquired legally for free in the form of the FOSS.

Plus in the context of software, once it's been developed then there's no further cost (if distributed digitally) to producing another million copies (okay, there's the cost of servers and bandwidth) beyond the initial copy (and the bug-fixes, which I'd tend to assume are more or less negligible next to the original development cost). If a commercial entity wants to continue earning money for releasing a product it has to compete with the prevalent market conditions. If free software is your competitor then you have to compete with free.

My comment about 'welfare' was perhaps a little harsh or glib, though it was intended to contribute towards the point that continuing in the vein of the old market tradition (build it, sell it, profit, rinse and repeat) doesn't work so well when the sell it stage is removed. And expecting to continue to sell a product, when alternatives are available for free, is counter-intuitive at best.

Apologies if I offended anyone.

So... (1)

Fackamato (913248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722307)

Why is this bad?

If it is like their website (2, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722321)

If the tool is anything like their website, with all of its "pointless Flash animations" and lack of clearly laid out comparison tables, then I'd be glad if it died. I'd probably also understand the people who wanted to quite over a change of IDE if that was the one they were being moved to!

Re:If it is like their website (0, Troll)

hauk (698641) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722415)

WTF! why is this lame straw man argument moded up? Using a web site design as an argument for why a tool must suck is the most idiotic post I have seen in some time

Re:If it is like their website (1)

Mystery00 (1100379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722541)

First of all: What Flash animations? That site is entirely Javascript driven from what I can see, and well designed too.

Second of all: Their IDE actually looks quite decent with some nice features.

Mod parent troll.

Re:If it is like their website (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722729)

Entirely? There's the stupid animations on the overview [n-brain.net] and the comparison table that isn't a table [n-brain.net] that I saw. I've just checked some other pages and the Practices [n-brain.net] page is also Flash for no particular reason. The header looks like a terrible Flash header as well, even if it is JavaScript.

I will admit that they seem to have at least been semantic with their code, though.

As for the IDE, I gave the video a quick watch (using the 'no frills' version that had frills like page turn effects for no real reason) and nothing stood out. In fact things like "be constantly pestered by conversations within your IDE, not another window that you can hide" seem like a big negative.

Give me Visual Studio .Net, Eclipse or MonoDevelop any day over that thing!

Ad-supported model? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722325)

I'm surprised we haven't seen this yet. You get to use $AWESOME_COMMERCIAL_IDE for free, in exchange for the occasional add automatically inserted into your code as a comment.

Urg (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722337)

Or maybe your product just sucks.

No-one wants your editor with an integrated chat program.

WAH.

Re:Urg (4, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722445)

They're not giving away the editor with the integrated chat. They were "forced" to release the personal edition of their collaborative editor at no charge.

1. Slashvertise crippled version of your program.
2. ???
3. Profit!!

Re:Urg (1)

Brett Johnson (649584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722611)

> Or maybe your product just sucks.

I suspect this may be the case. I've known developers that used non-free editors like Brief or BBEdit for years. They loved them and were highly productive. I've known developers that used free editors like emacs or vi for years. They loved them and were highly productive. I've known developers that have tried various tools that were simply not very good, and they wouldn't use them - even if they were free - even if they were told to use them by management.

For what its worth, 3/4 of our team uses emacs. We didn't 'standardize' on it. We were emacs users before we knew each other. The one person who doesn't use it, uses the editor in Visual Studio. But then again, she is the only one that uses Windows as her primary development platform.

Also interesting, each of has tried Eclipse at one time or the other in the last five years, and none of us has liked it.

In the meantime... (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722339)

... we are all richer as we get for free functionalities that would cost thousands of dollar without open source.

Re:In the meantime... (2, Interesting)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722603)

Not only are we richer, but we are less likely to be put in a situation where fragmentation in the tools-development department causes our projects to be late.

Having worked with at least three major source code repository tools (CVS, ClearCase, and PVCS/Dimensions) I could give an entire rant about how they each give the top-level objects that you checkout different names (Modules, VOBs, and Products).

If you want an honest opinion, I think every developer should know how to work with CVS/Subversion just because of its simplicity and freedom. But I think for huge projects (~50+ developers) I would recommend the added control that ClearCase provides to make it easier for people to work collaboratively.

However, 50 licenses of ClearCase (and by-the-way... you need to buy ClearQuest (to manage problem reports) and MultiSite (to manage distributed development)) costs about half a million dollars. Is that worth it? You could pay 5 or 6 additional developers for that kind of money.

Re:In the meantime... (3, Insightful)

gmack (197796) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722839)

Or you can use GIT which is designed for projects with large numbers of employees in a distributed environment.

Oh really? (2, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722365)

I wonder, then, how come Microsoft still manages to sell gazillions of copies of Visual Studio, even when they also give away "express" editions of their products too.

Re:Oh really? (0)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722509)

I wonder, then, how come Microsoft still manages to sell gazillions of copies of Visual Studio, even when they also give away "express" editions of their products too.

Developer lock in. You get to use their (admittedly good) IDE to develop your product for free, but you can't go on and sell it unless you then buy the full version of the software.

Also the free versions lack some rather nice functionality, and all the Microsoft press books I've read do make a point of mentioning this.

Re:Oh really? (3, Informative)

jdh28 (19903) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722757)

Developer lock in. You get to use their (admittedly good) IDE to develop your product for free, but you can't go on and sell it unless you then buy the full version of the software.
That's not actually true: from the FAQ [microsoft.com] :

Can I use Express Editions for commercial use?

Yes, there are no licensing restrictions for applications built using Visual Studio Express Editions.

Re:Oh really? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722679)

Because Opensource will only kill off the bad and mediocre commercial tools ... not the polished good quality useful ones ....

i.e. the ones people actually think are are worth paying for ...

Re:Oh really? (1)

muindaur (925372) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722707)

I blame, in part, Academic Alliance. I got the full version of VS 2005 Pro for free because I was an Info Systems Major under the CS department. There are a few people that still like VS because they've only used C# or VB .net seriously with it. There are some differences between full and express that people will pay for: mobile device support is not available in the express versions. They give away express editions to get people to use their products and get used to it so they go into college or careers with its awesomeness in mind. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vs2005/aa700921.aspx [microsoft.com]

I went away from VS only because I preferred C++ and Java resulting in my gravitation to Netbeans; I'm also a cheapo.

Sorry, N-BRAIN, but your website looks like sh*t. (5, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722423)

No wonder nobody buys your stuff. Your online presence gives me the creeps. Quite literally actually. I feel sick watching that presentation and listening to that irritating music. I wouldn't download your tool for free, let alone buy a product from a software company that presents itself like that. No f*ckin' way. And I'm a guy that actually does buy software.

How about wasting 5 minutes on a concept for an online presence and an online marketing strategy? And, please, *do* get a *professional* webdesigner to rebuild the site. You'll find plenty of them here [csszengarden.com] .

To be honest, somebody who needs to get a job done nearly cares squat wether a tool is free or costs 300$. It's only because the 300$ tools are just as crappy as the free ones (sic!) that they settle for the free ones. And damn the few bucks I have to shell out for it.

Best example: Zend Studio and PHP Eclipse or PDT Eclipse. If I have to go through the same fuss configging local remote debuggin in either, I see no point in spending 300$ for Zend Studio. That way I'll even learn to configure an open source tool - a skill not wasted - rather than learning to deal with some quirks of some prorprietary tool.

Counterexample: Mint [haveamint.com] is a web presence statistics tool with PHP backend logic. There are like a quarter bazillion of these in Free, FOSS and public domain scatterd all over the web. However, looking at this guys site (he happens to be a good designer *and* a good programmer) I haven't the slightest doubt that his statistics tool will deliver without hassle. Thus whenever I need a statistics tool, he'll be the first and last where I look for it.

Re:Sorry, N-BRAIN, but your website looks like sh* (1)

Bega (684994) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722733)

Also, the screenshot on their front page is actually a 1280x1024 image, resized in HTML to thumbnail size, which, of course, usually ends up as a mess of pixels that you don't know what it's supposed to be in the first place. I know, we have bandwidth etc., but come on!

It's just a PR stunt (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722427)

They're not the first people to release a free personal edition, but they HAVE found a way to get free advertising on Slashdot.

If a tool is very good, people will pay for it. OSS is, for the most part, "good enough", so if your tool is just "okay", it can't compete.

OSS is just killing the "me too" market for mediocre software.

Then make something better, duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722443)

Well perhaps if I can find a Commercial IDE which isn't doesn't have every bell and whistle under the sun and doesn't eat resources like an old SUV then I would gladly use it, until then I'll use open source alternatives at least if I don't like it I don't get a bad after taste of having just spent all this money on some awful product.

Offer value (3, Insightful)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722449)

Surely the answer is to offer something that's of value? If the value of the tool is greater than its cost, then I'll look at it. I can't see that much value in distributed programming tools: our distributed team works fine with IRC, Perforce, code review and email. We've tried software aimed at distributed teams before and always fallen back to our old system because it's easier and it works everywhere.

For example: there's an expensive, commercial ARM compiler despite the existence of GCC. People buy it because it generates code that's ~20% smaller and faster.

Re:Offer value (0, Redundant)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722625)

For example: there's an expensive, commercial ARM compiler despite the existence of GCC. People buy it because it generates code that's ~20% smaller and faster.
Generating code that's 20% smaller and faster has real value when more or less all modern ARM development is embedded - so 20% smaller is a real bonus.

Such a benefit is rather less noticeable on a modern PC.

Re:Offer value (2, Insightful)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722811)

That's just an example of competing with an entrenched, high-quality open source project. BBEdit and Textmate are doing pretty well despite the existence of Emacs etc.

The answer is simple - They're charging to much. (5, Insightful)

OzTech (524154) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722451)

The real reason people have trouble selling commercial Editors, IDE's, and Compilers is because they charge to much. Many if not most programmers get this thing in their head that once they have written one program, they should never have to work again. They charge over $100- and in some cases over $500- for a compiler or editor and then expect a small company with 3 or 4 developers to buy a full license for every developer and every computer that developer uses.

Even in a small company with 2 developers/engineers, this can often mean that they need 8 licenses.

1 for each developer/engineer for their primary machine = 2 licenses
1 for each developer/engineer for their home machine = 2 licenses
1 for each developer/engineer for their notebook = 2 licenses
1 for each test lab machine = 2 licenses

In total, we are now looking at 8 licenses for 2 blokes, when in reality only one of them will ever be using it at a time anyway.

Then they put a myriad of protection and security in there which makes it a pain to install, maintain, or move.

Then we need a yearly maintenance fee for each license to get bug fixes. With 8 licenses, we need 8 maintenance fees. Even at $100 per license for maintenance, we're now looking at $800- every year just to get bugs fixed!

Assume the Editor costs $250 per license and $100 per year for maintenance (bug fixes), which is about what they charge, with 2 developers/engineers we are now looking at $2,000 for the initial licenses and and additional $800 every year if we want to keep using it or heaven forbid we actually expect it to work. If course, they claim that we get "features" with the maintenance, but most of the time we don't want "features", we just want the product to keep working. Yeah, I know, they'll add support for Windows-Vista or another feature which is neat, but instead of looking at that work as a way of expanding their market, they tend to look at it as a way of lockin or bleeding their existing customer base. This is at the very core of what is wrong with software and the mindset that programmers of software development tools end up with.

Here's a tip for you guy's who do make good tools.

WE WANT TO BUY THEM.
- price them reasonably
- license them reasonably

WE WANT YOU TO STAY IN BUSINESS.
- we will tell all of our friends
- we will tell all of our associates
- we will tell the next generation
- features and fixes generate new customers

WE NEED TO MAKE A LIVING TOO.
- we can't bleed our customers
- we need to write a new program every month or two
- slash the price you charge me to fix your problems
- we can't afford the prices you guys are asking/expecting

Look at the prices for Micro$haft compilers and tools. They quickly run into the thousands of dollars. Borland has also lost the plot and charge an obscene amount of money for their products. Very few of us have customers with unlimited budgets. Very few of us actually want to cheat and buy "Accademic" versions. We are programmers and developers too. We know that it takes you time and you need to eat, but fair is fair, you guys are providing spanners. If you make a good one, you can sell thousands of them, but don't try to retire just because you've made one spanner. The world doesn't work that way anymore.

A Complete Load of Fetid Rabbit Droppings (5, Insightful)

ewhac (5844) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722453)

I've heard this kind of lament before: "GCC killed the market for compilers." Complete nonsense, of course. There is still a healthy market for good compilers -- gcc is not the be-all end-all of compilers; and niche platforms, such as 8-bit microcontrollers, are mostly under-served by the Open Source solutions. And, incredibly, people are still paying ridiculous sums for Visual Studio.

What Open Source has essentially done is say, "You must be at least this tall to publish a tools suite." Pretty much the only compilers that died were the bad ones. No one, for example, laments the passing of Whitesmiths.

As for editors, well, it was pretty obvious 20 years ago that the editor that was powerful and platform-independent (so you didn't have to re-learn everything and re-write all your macros on a new platform) was going to win. That pretty much meant either EMACS or VI.

Schwab

Re:A Complete Load of Fetid Rabbit Droppings (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722649)

Leo, you are as usual over generalizing. People do not pay ridiculous sums for Visual Studio; if all they want is the compiler and editor they download it free. Microsoft has had to adjust to compete, not that they wouldn't have done the same if by some miracle Borland had remained viable; they're doing the same now with MS Hyper-V virtualization software, charging a pittance on top of the cost of Windows Server 2008 to achieve the dual aims of crushing VMWare and staying off the radar of the anti-trust regulators. If people want tools like a profiler and all the extras they still have to buy Visual Studio Team Suite.

What Open Source has done so far is say "here's something that copies commercial efforts and it's almost as good". If you can live with emacs - and not feel sick to the stomach using something written and endorsed by Stallman - then perhaps, ignoring all factors but the purchase price - you might save money. You don't see vendors with successful products (i.e. Visual SlickEdit editor - powerful and platform-independent) whining about OSS authors owning the market.

Also (4, Funny)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722455)

Also Home fucking kills prostitution!

and people who'd rather quit their job, than embrace new technology, are no loss IMHO

Correction (1)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722483)

I have to correct myself:
"and people who'd rather quit their job, than embrace new technology, are no loss" is wrong - this is only the case, if you have competent decision makers, who decide to embrace real improvements, instead of buying bullshit-bingo products

So what's the problem? (3, Insightful)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722469)

Either make your product a lot better, so people want to pay for it, or switch to selling an other product.

Just not YOUR tools (5, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722473)

People are plenty willing to pay for tools, even just code editors. MS makes a pretty penny from Visual Studio, and TextMate is considered the must-have editor on the Mac. The real lesson is that there are plenty of open source tools for basic tasks, you have to offer something unique in terms of integration or usability to be a commercial success. Sounds like this company is upset that their "good enough" tools can't compete with free tools that are also "good enough".

IntelliJ IDEA (4, Informative)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722477)

I pay for a dev environment, the one from JetBrains, for Java development. I do that because: I loath eclipse: it's a god-awful, slow, clunky, everything that's wrong with open-source GUIs, editor. Second because I need support for code completion, api prompts/look-up and my favourite editor (TextMate) doesn't support that, although it's great for everything else. So I pay a couple of hundred GBP for a decent editor that it doesn't hurt to use. Bad workmen only blame their tools because they chose crappy ones to use. I pay for quality.

If you did RTFA, you should be able to solve this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722479)

A riddle:
If Ctrl + O opens a file, what does Caps Lock + Ctrl + O do?

Re:If you did RTFA, you should be able to solve th (4, Funny)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722779)

A riddle:
If Ctrl + O opens a file, what does Caps Lock + Ctrl + O do?
OPENS A FILE.

Re:If you did RTFA, you should be able to solve th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722813)

Bzzt, wrong answer :)

Not buying it. (3, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722497)

Given that some of the most prominent OSS developers have no problem using proprietary tools, the only reason these guys are going out of business is because they suck.

If an OSS tool has been developed that is better than yours its because yours sucked in the first place, a straight clone of a proprietary product won't get anywhere, there has to be plenty of room to improve and the improvement has to be worth the effort.

The Reality Is... (0)

quakeaddict (94195) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722529)

There are just a couple of IDE's that are considered best of breed, and most other ide's have a niche capability that eventually get built into one or the other.

The real issue is that open source does not innovate, it copies. There is no financial incentive for a developer to spend countless hours on a new niche capability when there is no reward at the end.

Socialist/marxist utopian dreams aside, the reality is there is no reward that puts food on the table, or pays off a student loan.

So innovation suffers.

For example, Intellisense that Microsoft introduced in 1996, was a real innovation. All others are just copies. Someone was paid (handsomely) to produce intellisense.

Re:The Reality Is... (1)

ctid (449118) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722587)

I hope you realise that your comment makes absolutely no sense at all. I think the problem is the giant non seqitur in the middle when you leap from a commercial vendor failing to innovate to explaining that Open Source doesn't innovate. But then talking about socialism and marxism probably doesn't help your argument either.

interesting serious piece of article (3, Interesting)

voss (52565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722531)

Putting the quote in context(which is allowed under fair use)

"Unfortunately for us, that wasn't meant to be. The tools market is dead. Open source killed it. The only commercial development tools that can survive today are the ones that leapfrog open source tools. With UNA Collaborative Edition, we have that--there's nothing for real-time collaborative development that even comes close, whether commercial or open source. But UNA Personal Edition is more of an incremental improvement on what's out there in the editing world. "

So commercial software has to be a LOT better than opensource to survive not merely a little better.
So whats the problem with that??? If you want to make lots of money...quit your bellyaching and INVENT,INNOVATE and INSPIRE!

Evolve or die (1)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722547)

Boo fucking hoo.

If your software is good enough and better than the FOSS alternatives, people will pay for it (bit like music).

It looks like a Windows app, so how FOSS editors are effecting sales of that I don't know - most FOSS people don't develop on/for Windows, and most Windows developers I'd say probably use VisualStudio (by choice or corporate policy).

I bet now its free-of-charge (not as in speech or opensource) people still won't use it!

Who? (1)

ssjx (1235532) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722557)

I've never heard of these people but giving away free versions is more likely to get people buying full versions. I would think tools is the one area where companies can make money, Adobes tools for Flash spring to mind...

Free Advertising (1)

saibot-k7 (1242596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722569)

The point of his article was to get free advertising . Nobody would ever have heard of his shitty editor before this article.

But now, by sparking some debate and getting to front page of Slashdot, people will be trying it out. I don't care about your shitty editor and I never heard about it. kthxbye

All you need is vi and ctags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722571)

Sorry to disappoint, but to write good code (C, C++, Java, etc) all you need is vi and ctags, and a brain that can remember things for more than a couple of minutes. Besides, if there was one tool that was immensely superior to the others then there wouldn't be so much competition in the tool market. And vendors wouldn't feel obliged to give their perfect solution away for free.

And? (5, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722591)

Where's the news? This is a slashvertisement for dzone.com (twice, actually) and a dying, primitive programmer's text editor.

The linked-to article about "Enerjy" says it in no uncertain terms - there were no sales for this type of product. There was also an overbearing impetus within the company itself that free/open source software could do parts of the job just as well, and they were considering using it themselves. The whole industry of "text editors for programmers" has always been niche, and now is dead. I can't say that Open Source has much to do with it so much as "overwhelming choice".

"Years of work and cutting-edge research went into this editor, and it rivals, even surpasses, commercial editors that are selling for $100, $200, even $400 a pop."

It's an editor. I think that cutting-edge research is pushing it a bit but even $100 a pop seems expensive for what is a glorified text editor. Even if you did make $400 each time, did you really ever think that's going to continue forever?

"First of all, I should mention that UNA is a source code editor, not an IDE. It's a very sophisticated editor, well on the road to becoming an IDE, but it doesn't provide out-of-the-box support for compiling, testing, or debugging."

Point proven. It's a text editor. Designed (supposedly) for programming, that doesn't even have a facility to run a compilation script without "plugins" etc.

"The incremental search in UNA is so novel that we're patenting it. That's right, we're patenting a feature we're giving away for free. The incremental search interface allows you to navigate documents with theoretical maximum efficiency. You can jump to wherever you want in the document by typing just half a keystroke more than the minimum number of characters necessary to differentiate that position from others. You can't do better than that. People were blown away by the incremental search feature of Idea 7.0, but we've got something better than that."

I seriously doubt you will be able to patent such an old and over-used idea. Opera does this in my mail, my contacts, my newsgroups, my notes. Pidgin does it in my chat-histories. I've seen it in any number of programs, quite a lot of them "programmer's editors" or IDE's. It's hardly "novel", I wouldn't be "blown away".

The other reasons he thinks that UNA should win are scarily simple at the least. Dialog boxes that don't say stupid things. Keyboard shortcuts. External actions running in the background. Basically, what he has is the equivalent of a freeware programmer's editor from several years ago.

The screenshots depict an atrociously complicated screen with which (supposedly) people who don't know the program can write a Hello World in five minutes. Whoopee.

So his program dies a death because open-source programs do it better? That's not surprising... the program seems to be at least five-ten years behind. My versions of Visual Basic 3.0 and 4.0 had quite a lot of those features, admittedly only for their own language, but similarly thrash his editor in lots of other places (such as being able to compile without needing a plugin!). And the point is that most programmers now use either command-line tools from a particular favourite GUI or they use the IDE/GUI that came with the language (e.g. VB.net, etc.). If they are using command-line tools, then the GUI can be chopped and changed every month with little hassle as various software is released/updated/etc. And you could have a whole group of people use *whatever the hell interface they want* with the same backend tools and work together on a project.

So the fact that the type of program is dying is not surprising - it's a very volatile, niche market driven by the whims of particular programmers. The fact that his particular program is dying is even less surprising - it doesn't seem to offer anything at all. Certainly not for a pricetag, anyway.

Are we really supposed to shed tears over the lose of any part of his business, let alone that he's "been forced" to release a program for free that he couldn't sell?

What? (1)

Heembo (916647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722669)

I'll build web 2.0 applications with JDK 1.0.2, notepad and MS Access 1.0 so long as they pay my 150/hr USD rate and have low expectations!

Boohoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722677)

Boo-fucking-hoo.

I guess self-proclaimed capitalists don't like capitalism when they're on the receiving side of it, do they?

Ridiculous (1)

Fross (83754) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722685)

Funny coming a day after the wwdc announcement from Apple that one of the most important features for the iphone 3g is... an SDK for writing tools and applications.

He's only bitching because everyone is using Eclipse (or more to the point, not using his IDE).

We're talking about Hans Reiser AGAIN? (0, Redundant)

SNMPguy (692760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722721)

OK...ok... So the open source community has some interesting characters, but we're not ALL killers.
At least it's only commercial developer tools this time...

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/28/2243232 [slashdot.org]
http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/06/09/1155214 [slashdot.org]

It's not that people won't pay for software (2, Insightful)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722725)

... it's that people won't pay for bad software.

Time was that you could get away with selling crapware because all the alternatives cost money, so it was harder for people to check them out. FOSS alternatives can be checked out for free, so when people hit a speed bump with your product they're likely to just go check them out. And if they're at least as good as what you're selling, people are liable to stay with them.

The lesson? If you want to make money selling software, evaluate the FOSS alternatives just like you would evaluate a competitor, and be sure that there is something about what you're selling that makes it better than what other people are giving away.

the tools market died a long time ago (2, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722749)

The tools market started dying when companies like Borland and Microsoft decided they could squeeze developers for thousands of dollars for their integrated development environments. That didn't leave much of a budget for third party add-ons. Open source became big at least 10 years later.

Connection failed! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722751)

Perhaps they are not selling anything because when you click on their "buy standalone" link you get:

0: Connection failed to the host localhost.

Some tools are worth the money, some not (2, Insightful)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23722753)

I'm an EE. We pay for several tools, others are open-source. We pay for several CAD tools, among them: schematic capture, PCB layout and, of course, the various firmware development tools for micros we use. Microchip makes available a non-optimizing compiler and IDE for free, you need to pay if you want the higher powered version.

Some tools are good, some have bugs that will never be fixed, due to vendor lock-in/market share. If open source tools put pressure on these vendors, I'm all for it. Some (not all) vendors are cruising along, continuing to sell tools they acquired when they bought a smaller company, with no intentions of upgrading them. I suspect they may not even have developers who know enough about the tools to really fix anything.

So, vendors; give us good tools worth paying for, and we'll pay you for them. The free ride is over, community-developed tools will eat your lunch, because they do what users want. No surprise there.

De Goes is contradicting himself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23722841)

According to De Goes, selling a source-code editor, even a very good one, is all but impossible in the post-open source era, especially given that, "Some developers would rather quit their job than be forced to use a new editor or IDE."
This is quite contradictory, isn't it?

If developers would rather quit their job than be forced to use a new editor, companies would accept to pay for any editor. Either you think open source is winning because it's free and imposed by companies, or because it's better quality and chosen by developers. It's certainly a mix of the two as the gratuity help companies accept their developers' preferences, but my view is that the latter is the most important factor. Companies don't care about having to pay a couple hundred dollars if developers can be more productive and satisfied...
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