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Open Source Programming Tools On the Rise

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the movin'-on-up dept.

Open Source 113

snydeq writes "Peter Wayner takes a look at several open source development projects making waves in the enterprise. From Git to Hadoop to build management tools, 'even in the deepest corners of proprietary stacks, open source tools can be found, often dominating. The reason is clear: Open source licenses are designed to allow users to revise, fix, and extend their code. The barber or cop may not be familiar enough with code to contribute, but programmers sure know how to fiddle with their tools. The result is a fertile ecology of ideas and source code, fed by the enthusiasm of application developers who know how to "scratch an itch."'"

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Really? (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862012)

Here is a very unscientific survey of worthwhile open source tools that have caught our eye.

I guess CVS, Firefox, Linux, GNU Make, etc. didn't catch your eye years ago?

Re:Really? (1)

headhot (137860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862022)

How about the ultimate in free tools, Python, Pearl, PHP.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862124)

perl

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862234)

P.E.R.L.

Re:Really? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862252)

Perl [c2.com]

Re:Really? (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865038)

P.E.R.L. [gnu.org]

Re:Really? (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862352)

I think you mean Pithon, Perl, PHP.

Re:Really? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864282)

PHP? That piece of trash can die.

Re:Really? (1, Offtopic)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865490)

Agreed... I've always disliked it because most of the extensions are globally accessible, inconsistently named and implemented from each other, usually in favor of closer ties to underlying libraries over consistent conventions in the platform. People bitched about the MS-IE and Netscape API differences in the v4 days... imagine half of one and half of the other cut up haphazardly and thrown into one soup pot and distilled down, then half-baked with too much flower... that's PHP.

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862244)

Years ago, they certainly would have been "making waves", but they aren't as impressive now. CVS is surpassed by Subversion and Git, with the latter mentioned in TFA. Firefox is rapidly becoming a bloated but unremarkable product. Linux isn't really a "programmer's tool", so doesn't blong on the list in the first place. GNU Make has certainly earned its place among the annals of history, but it's only had four minor releases in the past decade. These projects are important, but hardly eye-catching for an article written today.

I'll get off your lawn now.

Re:Really? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862296)

Thanks for repeating my point in different words!

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35863818)

GNU Make has certainly earned its place among the annals of history, but it's only had four minor releases in the past decade.

So?

If there isn't any bugs that needs to be fixed and no extra features to add, why would you need a new release?

Make 3.83 - Changelog:
* Updated year in copyright string.
* Updated version number.

Is that what you want?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35865380)

apparently gnu make was involved in the build system of windows 2k... just sayin'

Re:Really? (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865700)

CVS is surpassed by Subversion and Git

If by "surpassed", you mean "better", then sure. No doubt.

Of course, there's no statistics, but I would expect CVS to still have a very strong (declining) showing, possibly still more than the other two combined.

Basically, the problems with CVS are really for big projects. If there are lots of developers and/or lots of stuff is happening, lots of bufixes on branches, forks and so on.

For small projects, almost any versioning system will do, CVS was there first and there's no really compelling reason to move since the limitations of CVS aren't being bumped into regularly (or at all). Except moving files. Which is why, IME CVS users tend to switch to SVN for new projects, but don't generally bother migrating existing repositories.

Re:Really? (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35867470)

For small projects, almost any versioning system will do, CVS was there first and there's no really compelling reason to move...

Actually, RCS was there before CVS (and even that wasn't the first, cf. "SCCS"), and for a lot of my own personal use, when nobody else is editing the files and I just need a revision history and protection against accidental edits, I still use it. It can even be awesome for managing config files (IMHO).

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35866472)

blah blah blah they aren't using what's "in" nowadays so I don't care blah blah blah Firefox is bloated blah blah blah bigger version numbers means it's better blah blah blah

Are you done?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35866370)

i'm not sure where the consensus is, but imo, compiling software that other people coded, isn't programming.
writing the source code that others compile and use, is.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35866428)

How about nearly the entire Java developer ecosystem. JDK (GPL), Eclipse (EPL), Netbeans (GPL), Ant (ASL), Maven (ASL). A lot of tools used by Java developers that are open source, in fact the only major IDE that is proprietary is IntelliJ IDEA and even they have a community edition (ASL). Then there is the plethora of OSS third party libraries courtesy of Apache, Red Hat, Java.net, and others.

Re:Really? (1)

GGardner (97375) | more than 3 years ago | (#35866780)

JDK is so not GPL.

More economic than ideologic (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862032)

We use open source in business because it does the job and doesn't require a PO and all the hassle that goes along with that process.

Open? Or free (as in beer)? (5, Insightful)

Chuck_McDevitt (665265) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862048)

I'll bet that lots of enterprise use of Open Source tools is due to the price tag, not the ability to fiddle with the source code.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (5, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862170)

While that's almost certainly true, it really doesn't matter at all. Everyone benefits from wider deployment of FOSS, whether or not they're using it "for the right reasons".

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862174)

This.

I have crap to do - a lot of open source stuff just works without tinkering and I don't have to contact an admin to get a license key for myself and every one of my testers and developers. Yes, you could point to my IT staff and say I should fix that so its easier for me to get pay for software, but that brings us back to my original point of I have crap to do...

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862270)

Develop choice mostly, irrespective of usage. That should tell you something.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (3, Informative)

Jaime2 (824950) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862294)

I'm not so sure.

I work for a huge company. The corporate standard for software development is Java, so you'd think there would have a bunch of open source tools in the processes. Instead, they are heavily into the Rational tools suite and run apps on WebSphere. On the other hand, my division writes software on .Net, but we use SubVersion, NAnt, NUnit, and Wix. Our tool set is frowned upon precisely because it's free. The enterprise attitude seems to be "if it doesn't cost an-arm-and-a-leg and doesn't come with an 800 support number, it can't be any good".

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (3, Interesting)

QilessQi (2044624) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862368)

Then your enterprise attitude is woefully wrong.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865540)

Agreed, however, that is the case for most environments... I wish MS had resisted the Alt.Net community a bit more. Not that I don't welcome MS being responsive to the developer community, I just find a lot of their actions had the effect of reducing independent progress, even when tied to their platform. I still don't have a server infrastructure for asp.net (mvc or not) for mono that's compelling enough to not just buy a web edition server license of Windows with IIS. Part of it is cost, I do know I've patched both prototype and jQuery in the past and upstreamed the fixes... can't really do that wit closed source.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862464)

Lots of Rational's tools are built on Eclipse and various projects from Eclipse, all of which are Open Source.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35863908)

still charge you through the nose

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864646)

Pays the rent though. :)

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35863996)

You might be an outlier, but ask yourself this, if only because so few people do....

If these solutions were still free, but came with the 800 support number, would they still frown on it? If the answer is "no", then consider that the free part might just be a side-effect of them expecting professional support resources for the development software they rely on. That's far more rational than these attitudes seems on the surface when you frame it as, "they hate it cuz it's free".

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864476)

The same people happily use non-free software for which there is no support number. They also use non-free software that is so crappy that their free counterpart would be less hassle even *without* a support number. Work with SourceSafe once and you know what I mean.

On the other hand, they do not use these tools because they're non-free. They use it because "everybody uses them so they must be good", because they are extremely reluctant to change, and because when they change, they would flock with the next popular tool du jour instead of going for something reasonable (like, in the case of SourceSafe, Subversion).

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (4, Interesting)

CalcuttaWala (765227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35866216)

The ability to buy a product through a purchase order and have access to customer support is sometimes very important to large corporations. I had once used a legitimately downloaded PGP encryption product as key component of a complex Cash Management application in a global multinational bank but the biggest challenge in getting it accepted as a part of the solution was the lack of a purchase order. I remember the IT Head of the bank almost pleading with me to get a commercial product but because PGP had already been integrated with the system, the difficulty of a change was immense. I believe that the bank finally got someone do download PGP and sell it to the bank for $10 through an invoice before the row was settled !!

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35866676)

heh.

take a look under the covers of the proprietary guff.

$> grep -R 'org.apache' /path/to/tool

you're welcome :)

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

ELitwin (1631305) | more than 3 years ago | (#35869732)

Do you have any job openings at your company?
I'm feeling a bit too happy in general, and am looking to add some misery back to my life.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862722)

That depends on the organization.

Some I have worked for wouldnt blink an eye at dropping 30k per dev.

Others would bitch and moan about buying a box of pens.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35863040)

This. In all commercial software shops I've worked so far, price was always the primary reason to go with open-source tools and libraries. Mucking around with code was useful at moments, but compared to cost savings a distant second.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 3 years ago | (#35863096)

I can deal with the dollar cost of proprietary tools, what I find harder to deal with is the administrative overhead of getting corporate approval for a license, periodic renewal or maintenance, licenses for my coworkers when they want to do something similar to me, and evaluating the tool vendor's commitment to maintaining the tool. All of that (except the commitment to maintenance issue) is absent in FOSS.

It's nice to be able to "scratch an itch" and fix a bug in a week if it really needs fixing, instead of begging for a patch, waiting and hoping for 6 months or (more often) just having to live with and/or work around a bug. This is a benefit of FOSS I rarely use, but have done on occasion, same for extending a package to add that one last missing feature.

The really cool thing with an open toolkit (like Qt Creator) is the ability for anyone, anywhere in the organization to be able to install and execute the developer tools and "get it to run just like on my machine" without having to go through creating an installer. Sure, "finished product" deserves a good installer, but for quick little developers' tools that might need source level tweaking, an installer is just annoying.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35863552)

Come for the price, stay for the quality.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35863904)

Exactly - there is one, and only one reason that companies use open source code - because it is free.

From a corporate perspective, it is a headache to deal with the licensing issues, but that is generally considered to be less expensive - at least when talking about code that is ancillary to the primary function of the product. For example, an open source library that deals with JPG files - the product may need to generate such files, but that is not the primary purpose of the product and a library that costs nothing more than a review of the licensing is a clear choice.

In terms of all the other hype around FOSS, I've not found it to stand up in a corporate setting. It is almost always harder to use because of poor documentation and little to no support (techies like to write 'interesting' code and don't care about much anything else). I've had chronic problems getting FOSS projects to make changes/fixes in packages due to either lack of interest in fixing our particular problem or because of some techno-religious position regarding how things "should" be. In terms of trying to understand a FOSS project or fix bugs ourselves, this turns out to require a significant amount of time, effort and risk as it takes a great deal of time to digest a foreign code base and understand what was intended by the original developers and make changes that actually work as expected.

In short, other than cost, I've found little reason to use FOSS projects for commercial packages.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864052)

I'll bet that lots of enterprise use of Open Source tools is due to the price tag, not the ability to fiddle with the source code.

That's fine as far as it goes, but one of the major arguments for choosing a Free tool chain is the ability of anyone at all to improve it, which means that improved quality can be had effectively for free.

So you're essentially asking us to decide between 'less filling' and 'great taste'. It's a useless distinction, because the software wouldn't be free if it weren't open.

The fact that the majority of people/companies can simply act as freeloaders is one of the magical outcomes of the gift economy on which Free Software is based.

... You're welcome, by the way. 8^)

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864822)

I'll bet that lots of enterprise use of Open Source tools is due to the price tag, not the ability to fiddle with the source code.

Familiarity counts for a lot, too. When I was in college, the svn/make/gcc combination for C-based projects was very accessible. Microsoft recognizes this, and provides free developer tools for many Universities in the hope that their toolchains will become familiar standards. To a certain extent, that has worked.

free to students = used in industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35866330)

And why do you think IBM had very attractive lease rates for mainframes to colleges? And why did AT&T give away Unix copies to academic institutions? I know the FOSS community as a stereotype thinks *nix is the bee's knees, but really, there *are* better OS architectures out there, but they aren't free, are they?

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

IntentionalStance (1197099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864870)

I think that it depends on the enterprise.

Last year I was doing Java CAPS work and you don't get much more enterprisey that that. Under the hood JCAPS uses lots of open source stuff,. For example, if I recall correctly it uses some of the Apache Commons libraries and it certainly uses stuff like Ant.

However, the powers that be wouldn't let me use them, their logic being - if there's an issue in an Apache Commons lib then Sun (now Oracle of course) have the horse power to fix it but we don't. If we have an issue with one of the libraries Sun sure as anything won't fix it.

And I found it difficult to argue against this stance.

On the other hand in some enterprises the difficulties, costs and time delays of going through formal procurement procedures can kill you. Sometimes the politics play out so that you can use FOSS because it doesn't need to be procured and actually deliver something before hell freezes over.

Different types of enterprises and different types of politics but it's not, in my experience, in my experience because FOSS is cheaper than alternatives it to do with support and internal procurement policies.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (1)

Migala77 (1179151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865522)

I'll bet that lots of enterprise use of Open Source tools is due to the price tag, not the ability to fiddle with the source code.

If free-as-in-beer or free-as-in-speech were the issue, Open^H^H^H^HLibreOffice would be the corporate standard. Open source programming tools are simply among the best available. Right now, without any further need for fiddling. They became the best because the programmers developing them are the same as the programmers using them. They can scratch their own itch. Often only a (very) limited group of FOSS-users knows how to program, and how to 'scratch their itch' if there is something they feel needs improvement in the software. For programming tools a huge part of the user base will know how to fix the bugs/annoyances, and their efforts have a much wider appeal in their own (programmer-)community, than a similar effort would have in other communities.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35866026)

Part of the appeal is to be able to start using it WITHOUT having to get approval to acquire a license.

Sometimes the trouble you get yourself into for just trying to buy something, makes it not worth trying to use the tool.

Re:Open? Or free (as in beer)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35866412)

Yeah. You get the same thing with stockphoto. All its done is reduce quality and leave photographers scraping around for work. If you don't value your work nobody else will. They'll just bank the difference and laugh up their sleeves as you've just paid for their third annual holiday to Tuscany.

One day people are going to wake up that "crowdsourcing" and "free software" are just working for free. It's not making the world a better place. It's not changing anything. It's just handing the keys to the kingdom over to the usual suspects. Do you see any of these heroes investing in the future or spreading the wealth around? Nope. It's still the same risk averse low wage economy crap it's always been and getting worse. At some point the "open source" cheerleaders are going to wake up and realise they've sold themselves and everyone else down the river. Then the fun begins.

Easy (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862062)

Programming tools are one of the areas that hasn't gone to the cloud. And that open source tools are free as in money and are of good quality makes it an easy choice.

Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862122)

Programming tools are one of the areas that hasn't gone to the cloud.

http://sourceforge.net/, http://code.google.com/ and https://github.com/ ?

Re:Easy (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862190)

I'm not sure those are cloud-y enough. There needs to be more in the way of webservices, AJAX, and maybe a VM or two.

Re:Easy (2)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862320)

Also more lag and pagination so users have to look at more ads and click more.

Re:Easy (3, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862228)

I know that words are mostly defined by popular usage, but it annoys me that people say "the cloud" when all they really mean is "online". "The cloud" was supposed to be about distributed computing or using online computing resources from your choice of locations/devices. We're not seeing much of that, but we sure are aiding and abetting the marketing tards who keep saying "cloud, cloud" until it actually means nothing at all.

Re:Easy (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862292)

I worked at a company who marketed one of their offerings as an "isolated private cloud". Internally, everyone just called it a cluster.

Re:Easy (2)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862986)

That's what any cloud is really.

If you can't see its boundries and design (in other words you're the customer using the cluster) it is a cloud.

If you know how everything goes together and where the servers are it's a cluster.

Re:Easy (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864156)

Cloud never meant anything, and even if it did, trying to battle marketing over buzzwords is like fighting water for the ocean. If it weren't a buzzword it wouldn't exist.

Just let it go, man. I mean, you want to tighten up the definition of the word, but you can't even define it yourself. Think about it.

Re:Easy (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865100)

ust let it go, man. I mean, you want to tighten up the definition of the word, but you can't even define it yourself. Think about it.

You're right, thanks. I can let go of that now. :)

Re:Easy (1)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864852)

Programming tools are one of the areas that hasn't gone to the cloud.

distcc [samba.org] and (sun) grid engine [sunsource.net] don't count? Both of them can be used for distributed compilation, etc.

Re:Easy (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865402)

Nothing has "gone to the cloud" .... most people run stuff on thier computer ... or on a local server, still ....

Re:Easy (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35871652)

Really? Where do you think most people get their email clients from? Gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc?

Why does this sound sexual? (1)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862142)

but programmers sure know how to fiddle with their tools. The result is a fertile ecology of ideas and source code, fed by the enthusiasm of application developers who know how to "scratch an itch."'"

The quotes at the end just make it sound even more like it's a euphemism

Re:Why does this sound sexual? (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862308)

Lots of geek write like that, it comes from being frustrated.

Can't forget about Google's contribution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862180)

Whether it be the annual Summer of Code, Chrome, adWhirl server, or practically any portion of Android (who for its apps, Google recommends using Eclipse mentioned in the article), Google is all over open source. Factor in previous contributions from IBM, Sun and others, alot of corporations now see that open source is a viable option since big names are backing these projects.

Your secret is out. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862194)

"...programmers sure know how to fiddle with their tools."

[chuckle]

Re:Your secret is out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35863278)

Score 5: Insightful

Open Source IDEs (2)

ProzacPatient (915544) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862488)

We're seeing some cool new programming environments show up too.
I've always preferred Visual Studio and I never did like Code::Blocks or DevC++ but I found CodeLite [codelite.org] relatively recently and I love it!
I find Visual Studio's price tag combined with the gradually improving open source tools make it difficult to stick with VS but maybe that's just me.

Re:Open Source IDEs (1)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862608)

I have been pretty happy with SharpDevelop for C# development.

Re:Open Source IDEs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35863094)

I took a look. It looks like codelite offers the pretty standard set of features in a lot of completely free software editors. The *big* exception they make is that plugins can be completely closed source and distributed however anyone desires. It is basically a closed source marketing tool waiting to exploit a larger audience. Two thumbs down - poison in the system.

Re:Open Source IDEs (2)

mirix (1649853) | more than 3 years ago | (#35863950)

Qt creator looked pretty snazz last time I played with it. Cross platform is a nice bonus too...

Qt [nokia.com]

Re:Open Source IDEs (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35866868)

I find the fact that VS crashes about 3 times a day for more annoying. And the fact that upgrading VS does not change the crashing behaviour one bit. For other-than-.NET work I use PSPad, and I did not find a good alternative on Linux (other than PSPad on Wine).

The reason is clear but it isnot the one mentioned (4, Insightful)

Quantum_Infinity (2038086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862502)

I highly doubt that open source tools are used because they allow themselves to be modified. What percentage of people actually look into the code and modify them? The main reason is that most open source tools are free and have absolutely zero delay in being available. Download, install and code away! In most cases, you don't even have to install, just unzip and you are good to go.

Re:The reason is clear but it isnot the one mentio (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35863076)

I highly doubt that open source tools are used because they allow themselves to be modified. What percentage of people actually look into the code and modify them? The main reason is that most open source tools are free and have absolutely zero delay in being available. Download, install and code away! In most cases, you don't even have to install, just unzip and you are good to go.

Exactly. Commercial software has a price, which usually means begging up the chain long past the point where the software was needed. As a developer, I need it here and now. With open-source tools, my only impediment to productivity should be websense.

Re:The reason is clear but it isnot the one mentio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864438)

Agreed.

No sales reps, forms to fill out, or license keys. A lot of companies will simply use something because they paid for it despite discovering it's a piece of shit after the evaluation. Or some less than technical manager got sold on some POS propriety system over lunch. You're not getting 'sold' on anything, you know you will have to install, configure, and support it so you spend the time to understand what you're using and then make the decision to implement it.

Re:The reason is clear but it isnot the one mentio (1)

sakti (16411) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864604)

Your doubts are misplaced. The #1 reason is access to source code. Not so much to modify or fix bugs, though I've done both at time, but for documentation. The documentation written as such universally sucks and never really matches up with what the software actually does. The only real documentation is the software itself. If you don't have access to the source so you can see what the hell is going on you don't have usable documentation and are just guessing.

Re:The reason is clear but it isnot the one mentio (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35867974)

The #1 reason is access to source code.

[Citation Needed]

I only say this because of all the programmers I know who use FOSS (which is quite a few), only one has ever regularly peruses the source code. The rest of us just use the provided documentation. I think maybe once we crawled through code to find a bug, only to find out it was a bug in our code anyway. The biggest motivating factor for us using FOSS in our toolchain is that a) it's free, and b) GPL doesn't touch the final product, just the tools. Having access to the source code is more or less just a bonus feature.

Re:The reason is clear but it isnot the one mentio (2)

williamhb (758070) | more than 3 years ago | (#35866078)

I highly doubt that open source tools are used because they allow themselves to be modified. What percentage of people actually look into the code and modify them?

It doesn't really matter what the percentage is, because there's a strong positive reinforcement loop. If an open source programming tool has a wide audience, then it has a wide audience of programmers -- just what it wants to recruit to improve the codebase! That makes it a little different than, say, an open source spreadsheet attracting a million more accountants. For programming tools there really is a much stronger positive feedback loop between popularity and rate of development.

Re:The reason is clear but it isnot the one mentio (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35867478)

Not only do I look into the source code of the build & deployment tools, but I also look into the source code of the standard libraries, and even the OS itself... but then again, I can't just blame my bugs on "the crappy MS Windows platform" -- my customer's know better.

Kind of makes you wonder... (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862678)

What the world would be like without onerous patent systems.

Re:Kind of makes you wonder... (1)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 3 years ago | (#35863314)

Not for everything. Think, if a bunch of organisations use Eclipse IDE, they all will happily contribute to the project either through code or through cash. Open source is good for software like this. On the other hand, it's not good for a competitive market like an MMO or RPG game. You could, in theory, argue that open source game engines are viable.

Re:Kind of makes you wonder... (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35867698)

Open source is good for software like this. On the other hand, it's not good for a competitive market like an MMO or RPG game. You could, in theory, argue that open source game engines are viable.

Yep, the game engine, and the physics engine, and the network platform, and the rendering API, and the anti-cheat code, and the installer -- Know what? It takes "a bunch of organizations" to create closed source MMOs and RPGs, or any game that's sufficiently complex anyway. Why re-invent the wheel when I can license Bink Video, Havoc, Unreal or ID-Tech, for much less and have a fully functional game to market in a fraction of the time?

Now, what if all that bad-ass tech was free-libre-open source? The customers win because of all the rampant competition, driving down costs (it's expensive to license commercial game components) -- The game developers win because my ultra-fast instancing algorithm would make all games that wanted to use it better...

Saying that "open source isn't good" for just about any purpose is just plain wrong...It's just software, its good anywhere other software is good.

Case & Point: I purchased and played Blood Rayne on PS2, and World of Goo for Win / Linux & Wii -- Both games used the open source Open Dynamics Engine [sourceforge.net] as their physics engine. To hell with arguing "in theory", open source has been used, and will continue to be used in "competitive markets".

Now, if you're trying to say that open source development isn't a good model for closed source software -- I'd have to agree, "Open Source Closed Source Software" would be an outright contradiction in terms.

Another case & point: The Internet -- open source software runs the majority of this "competitive market".

Re:Kind of makes you wonder... (1)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 3 years ago | (#35869204)

That was indeed my point. I was merely not aware of successful open source game engines.

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Of course! (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35863132)

Open source is largely about scratching your own itch. One would only expect that open source programming tools would be of much higher quality then open source in other categories.

I am but a young'in(~30 sun cycles) but I can't remember a time when commercial compilers and tools were better then open source ones.. Of course, I do have a Beardy Unix Guy, so my opinions are widely different from some MCSE I guess.

Re:Of course! (1)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864898)

I am but a young'in(~30 sun cycles) but I can't remember a time when commercial compilers and tools were better then open source ones.

Depends on what functionality you need from your compiler. Both Microsoft and Intel provide C++ compilers that perform link-time optimization. GCC only supports link-time optimization on C code. This can be a pretty big deal for large OO systems, as the practice of writing many small member functions frequently leads to excessive code fragmentation.

Re:Of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35866774)

Not to mention that cl and icc's optimizer are just plain better than gcc. I point you towards http://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_46_1/libs/statechart/doc/performance.html for an example of gcc's lackluster optimizations.

Re:Of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35871204)

GCC only supports link-time optimization on C code.

Huh?

From what i can guess when reading http://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gccint/LTO.html LTO with gcc does not at all depend on the frontend-language because it simply stores the intermediate representation of the code (in gimple) in each .o - file... so LTO should work with every supported language.

Plus: http://sysrun.haifa.il.ibm.com/hrl/greps2007/papers/greps-07-lto.pdf - this pretty much says that LTO was introduced to benefit c++-programmers...

Re:Of course! (1)

SoupIsGood Food (1179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35866892)

Yes, it's a really recent development. All of the major Unix vendors would supply their own compiler and build tools, tuned for the platform. Graphical IDE's were pretty much a Macintosh thing, and stone-axe primitive compared to the laser scalpels out there today - but lightyears better than the hex code editors and assemblers used on other personal computer platforms.

The explosion of high quality dev tools in the past 10 years is unreal... from Eclipse to X-Code, from GIT to Firebug, it's a developer's world out there right now... except most of the languages suck. Syntactic morasses overly reliant on ASCII line noise to achieve basic goals. New rule - experimental languages are forbidden from requiring any symbol that needs the shift key to type. Rely on the UI rather than the charset.

Re:Of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35871430)

so, no addition for you then? (+ requires shift key usually...)

how do you plan to make up for the lack of braces ( "(" and ")" and the like...)? shall we all start using reverse polish notation?

ooooh - how about creating a BUTTON in your ide, which, when clicked, makes your keybord produce all these "special" characters?

I call bullshit (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 3 years ago | (#35863234)

Programmers use open source tools because they're good and they're free, no one uses work time to modify programming tools because it's not cost effective or sane.

However, unlike a lot of open source software, development tools are actually used by their developers so they're pretty much always good. They fit into a programmers workflow, and they're free. Eclipse may be a memory hungry pig, but Visual Studio tends to copy from it rather than the other way around.

Re:I call bullshit (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35863452)

Eclipse may be a memory hungry pig, but a lot of programmers use Emacs as their dev environment. Besides the fact that you can tweak Emacs to do absolutely anything, you have great debugger and compiler integration right out of the box, and it also has a pretty good text editor.

Re:I call bullshit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864666)

and it also has a pretty good text editor.

Only because it has Vi mode!

Re:I call bullshit (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865058)

So do Kate and KDevelop.

Re:I call bullshit (1)

polymeris (902231) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864326)

Programmers use open source tools because they're good and they're free, no one uses work time to modify programming tools because it's not cost effective or sane.

The reason OSS programming tools are good is because some programmers *do* modify them. Compare to other software "niches": There isn't any, as far as I know, where OSS so clearly beats proprietary software. In some OSS is catching up, though.

Re:I call bullshit (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865602)

I don't know that that is even so clearly true.. I can start a new web project in VS and have it running locally in under a minute... this is simply not true of eclipse and any web dev. Same goes for zipping up the source tree, having a friend unzip, and opening the project/solution file... in Eclipse you generally have to setup/change your workspace to load a new project... revising your ant scripts can be a pain imho as well. There are some niceties in Eclipse over VS, but hardly a clear win.

Really, no one spotted this before it went out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35863328)

"programmers sure know how to fiddle with their tools"

Is slashdot subconsciously painting all programmers as fervently masturbating nerds?

Nerds and their tools (1)

souravzzz (2001514) | more than 3 years ago | (#35863728)

Nerds using nerdy tools- whats so surprising about that? If more grannys are drawn to Open Source, that would be news!

we need to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864802)

.. start relicensing that software into GPL

Craft Guild (3, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865286)

Most of us pay our bills building god-awful websites and writing financial/accounting stuff. It is, intellectually, drudgery. Those of us in better situations, and others who manage to find energy, write tools to make the drudgery bit more palatable.

It's a labor of love.

Or sadism in Larry Wall's case.

Virtualization has changed the game for me (3, Interesting)

maxm (20632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865962)

These days you don't have to choose. I run Win 7 on my machine and a virtualbox Ubuntu on that. So I develop in Ubuntu, and any kind of multimedia stuff is handled in Windows.

The great thing about development on Unix is that it is all just there. apt-get install xxx and you are ready to go. Versions are automatically upgraded. If you prefer working in a windows environment for some part of your project, you can easily do it by sharing drives and networking.

Free, widespread and easy to trial (3, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35866282)

FOSS tools are widelly use in enterprises because of three reasons:

  1. They're free: no need to justify a budget for them and the cost of failure (i.e. if it doesn't work for the company's needs) is low (all you loose is time)
  2. They're used in many places: so your new developers often already know the tools in question because they used them somewhere else. New developers are much less likelly to be familiar with specific third party tools since they probably haven't used them in a previous job or at home.
  3. Trying them out is easy: it's usually just a question of downloading them, installing them and trying them. FOSS tools usually come with simple and/or well known licenses (GNU, Apache) which probably have already been checked by the company's legal team for another tool. Compare this with tools from 3rd party vendors which often require getting in contact with the vendor in question to arrange a trial (if at all possible) and include a proprietary license, different from everybody else's.

Programmer Tools (1)

Baseclass (785652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35867718)

programmers sure know how to fiddle with their tools.

There's an understatement.

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