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ActiveState Returns to Open Source Roots

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the if-you-get-lost-return-to-the-beginning dept.

Software 89

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

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89 comments

Pender Financial Group Description (5, Informative)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657652)

Pender Financial Group (formerly Devon Ventures Corporation) is a merchant bank that invests in emerging growth companies, specifically those in the technology and health care fields. Subsidiary PenderFund Capital Management Ltd. manages the Pender Growth Fund, a venture capital fund that invests in tech companies located in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Pender Financial owns about $30 million in assets under management. Invested companies include high technology light manufacturer Carmanah, aerial mapping and surveying provider Intermap Technologies Corporation, web hoster Radiant Communications, and messaging software designer Voice Mobility.

Good news (4, Insightful)

cerelib (903469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657673)

This sounds great. Hopefully they will open up, at least make free(beer), some of their more advanced tools. The Perl dev tools are really good. Only time will tell.

Re:Good news (2, Funny)

buckyboy314 (928081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657762)

Yay, open source root (beer)!

Root 21? (3, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657854)

If you have to be 21 to buy beer, then do you have to be root 21 (that is, 4 years 7 months) to buy root beer?

Re:Root 21? (-1, Offtopic)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657971)

Where the hell do you have to be 21 to buy beer?

Re:Root 21? (-1, Offtopic)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658009)

Several, if not most, U.S. states.

Re:Root 21? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14658078)

In Norway you can buy beer when you're 18. In Germany, I think the age limit is 16 :-)

[OT] Re:Root 21? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14658679)

All.

I believe federal highway funds were withheld from states that did not raise the legal drinking age to 21. Eventually, everyone caved.

From the first Google for "legal drinking age" [potsdam.edu]:
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 required all states to raise their minimum purchase and public possession of alcohol age to 21. States that did not comply faced a reduction in highway funds under the Federal Highway Aid Act.... It does not prohibit persons under 21 (also called youth or minors) from drinking. The term "public possession" is strictly defined and does not apply to possession for the following:
[snip]

Re:Root 21? (1, Informative)

flwombat (190748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658102)

The drinking age in the U.S.A. is 21; it's the same for all alcoholic drinks. This is the highest drinking age in the world, at least according to this google result [potsdam.edu].

Don't forget, we had full national prohibition of alcohol less than 100 years ago. There are still a number of dry counties in various states; that is, parts of states where alcohol sale (not possession, I believe) is prohibited. These counties tend to have drive-thru liquor stores just outside their borders.

Highest drinking age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14658167)

This is the highest drinking age in the world
Exception for places where drinking is prohibited altogether (like lots of Muslim countries?)

Re:Root 21? (0, Offtopic)

pingveno (708857) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658349)

Just a note: The legal drinking age is 21. Many of my friends my age or younger (I'm 18) drink alcohol beverages. Sometimes I wonder why the government even bothers. I don't drink, partially because of interactions with a medication I take, and partially because I don't have an urge too. Okay, maybe some of the sips of alcoholic beverages I've had were a little tasty, but it hasn't gone beyond that.

Re:Root 21? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14658450)

Wow bud, you are the biggest rebel I have ever heard of. Drinking alcoholic beverages ILLEGALLY? Makes me nervous even thinking about it! You are such an iconoclast. How is this world not in constant chaos with revolutionaries such as yourself walking its surface? Fuck me.

Re:Root 21? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14658633)

Here in Greece, while the minimum drinking age is 16, one has much earlier experience with alcohol, usually during extended family gatherings. Also note that while social drinking is quite aceeptable, getting drunk is generally frowned upon.

Hopefully something else... (3, Interesting)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14659025)

The dev tools are fine. Eclipse can debug perl and even javascript seamlessly - allowing you to watch variables, stop on a given line, etc. with an embedded webserver and webbrowser. What isn't is the ActivePerl repository. Its almost entirely built by scripts, and the scripts are easily tripped up.

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

Then maybe I can stop maintaining my virtual *nix workstation at work just to create ActivePerl packages.

Re:Hopefully something else... (2, Interesting)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 8 years ago | (#14661396)

Eclipse can debug perl and even javascript seamlessly

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

If activestate ever opened up Komodo to the public, I'd switch in a heartbeat.

Re:Hopefully something else... (2, Interesting)

muyuubyou (621373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14662559)

I second rainman_bc. It isn't stable enough, and their customer support is lacking. I ran into multiple issues to get the Perl debugger to work properly due to undocumented conflicts. Even after getting it running with the debugger and all, it was slow and unstable (the debugging mostly).

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

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

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

Go OS for quality (1)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657674)

It's great that businesses (and organizations alike) can harness the brainpower of brilliant hobbyists to improve their product for free simply by going open source. I cannot think of any industry in which anything like this is so.

Re:Go OS for quality (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658184)

It's great that businesses (and organizations alike) can harness the brainpower of brilliant hobbyists to improve their product for free simply by going open source. I cannot think of any industry in which anything like this is so.
Well, there is astrophysics, which has hobbyist astronomers that contribute to new technical achievements by big organisations; medical and environmental "hobbyists" like volunteer nursing assistants and birdwatchers who may discover new things or conduct studies... I could probably go on, but it's early ;)

Re:Go OS for quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14659090)

Many restaurants and cafes in the England will print their recipes for you. Or you can find them on their websites. For example, Pret a Manger (of which there are also two locations in New York City) has sandwich recipes on their bags.

hmm... (-1, Troll)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657688)

Open Source Root? Is that mean, no more 30 days trials and dumb down IDEs?

Re:hmm... (1, Informative)

MarkChovain (952233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657807)

Open Source Root?

It might be a slightly misleading statement, but they have historically done a lot of work _around_ OSS (just not so much _in_).

Re:hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14657899)

Wow - that's harsh, mods... Very harsh.

Re:hmm... (1)

jsight (8987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14659378)

Agreed...

It would be nice of they'd open source their Perl.Net implementation, for example.

Value (3, Insightful)

MarkChovain (952233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657701)

It would be interesting to know how much it was sold for, and how much Sophos valued the anti-virus technology.

$23 million is not really a huge number in the scheme of things, but not the kind of money that a company the size of Sophos would throw away lightly!

Re:Value (2, Informative)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14659819)

"Pender Financial Group Corporation (TSX-V: PDF) announced on January 30, 2006 that it has entered into an agreement with Sophos, Inc., a subsidiary of Sophos Plc, to acquire the business, assets and liabilities of the ActiveState division of Sophos, Inc. for the purchase price of US $2.25 million."

In other words, Sophos valued the anti-spam stuff at more than $20 Million.

Re:Value (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14674255)

Maybe they're not counting the value of ActiveState to guys like me - I've been recommending SophosAV products to clients because of their support of ActiveState. Their AV product is fine, but it was a case of "all things being equal, these guys support open source, so we'll go with them". I just renewed a client a few weeks ago for X number of thousand dollars. With ActiveState out of the picture, they're going to have to compete solely on their merits.

OS X on Intel? (1, Interesting)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657749)

Do they mean OS X on Intel Macs, or working on cracking a generic version of OS X86 to run on beige boxes (illegal)? The article isn't too clear.

Re:OS X on Intel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14657768)

Yes, a legitimate company is working on illegally cracking Apple's OS X.

Idiot.

Re:OS X on Intel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14657770)

Some people are just dense I guess...

perl/php/python/tcl/ruby on intel OS X (3, Informative)

egarland (120202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657906)

They are talking about ports of ActiveState's perl/php/python/tcl/ruby on intel OS X.

Re:perl/php/python/tcl/ruby on intel OS X (3, Informative)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658423)

Note that Mac OS X already includes all of these languages (as well as C, C++, Objective C, Java, and probably a couple others) - just not ActiveState's versions.

Re:perl/php/python/tcl/ruby on intel OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14686794)

Yah, the python 2.3 install you get with OS X tiger works, but their ruby 1.8.2 is serisously FUbar'd

What they mean (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14660182)

The comment is ambigious. The only thing that makes sense to me in terms of what they might mean is that they are going to modify Visual Perl/Python/Ruby (active state products which are modified versions of Perl, Python and Ruby that run as part os Visual Studio) so that it can compile OSX executibles. That isn't much work and would be OSX on Intel specific so it makes sense. I don't have any inside information so YMMV and should.

Q&A from ActiveState (5, Informative)

MarkChovain (952233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657773)

ActiveState have put a Q&A [activestate.com] on their website. It has lots of pretty good info, with a little bit of PR thrown in for good measure.

Can they make it so ActivePerl installs XS modules (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14657871)

Let's just hope part of this "back to the roots" thing they FINALLY improve ActivePerl so it can _finally_ install XS compiled modules from CPAN.

It the CamelPack [stennie.org] guy that won the "vertical metre of beer" challenge can enhance ActivePerl to do it in only 2 days, why has it taken ActiveState so long?

Re:Can they make it so ActivePerl installs XS modu (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14660148)

What the hell? You don't need to improve ActivePerl at all. You just need to improve the rest of your system, by installing a suitable C compiler. Okay, yeah, it might be slightly nice if ActiveState were to provide a compatible environment for download side-by-side, but I certainly don't think it needs to be default. PPM is more in line with what "windows people" expect anyway :)

Re:Can they make it so ActivePerl installs XS modu (1)

gisle.aas (952621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14660535)

ActivePerl installs XS modules from CPAN just fine if you have a suitable compiler installed on your system; Microsoft Visual C++ or gcc (MinGW). ActivePerl will automatically reconfigure itself to match the compiler found.

Goodbye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14657907)

This is a polite way of saying sophos got what it needed (puremessage) and is dumping them

i luv these guys, but they are doomed (0)

b7j0c (884562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657942)

everyone use Active(perl,python) raise your hand. i don't see many hands. i like activestate, their hearts are totally in the right place, but they have been eclipsed (pun totally intended) by free tools and decent windows ports from the default code branches. they gave it a good go, some quality code and good tools, but their tools never reached the penetration that would create a self-sustaining market.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14658017)

Your argument is that IBM released a free IDE and ran a small OSS company out of business. Go Open Source!!

No, the real reason they are doomed is that Perl and TCL popularity is declining, while Python is is still years away from the mainstream. (And if Python does become popular on Windows, it will likely be the .NET version.)

Basically they've hitched themselves to a bunch of losers, so without an installed base to rape (as with COBOL et al), there's not going to be any big payday here.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (4, Insightful)

outZider (165286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658116)

I would say that most perl users on the Windows platform are still very much using ActiveState.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (2, Informative)

barcodez (580516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658237)

I tend to use Cygwin [cygwin.com]'s distribution of Perl on Windows. Granted I'm not using Perl for heavy lifting but it works for me. Anyone used Cygwin perl in a production web environment?

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (3, Informative)

LLuthor (909583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658283)

I used to use cygwin heavily (not just for perl), but with recent versions, it has gotten very very slow. For many of my scripts, ActivePerl is more than 100% faster than cygwin.

Another thing is that cygwin has a number of bugs when working with sockets (e.g. select() uses 100% CPU).

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (2, Interesting)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658365)

I don't use cygwin for perl, but I do use it for shell scripting in Windows. Mind you, nothing I've done is very portable, but it is easier since I grew up on bash scripting. :)

Combine with WinMacro, or another windows-native automator and you can make some very crazy creations that were never meant to exist.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (2, Funny)

TangoCharlie (113383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658797)

I would say that most perl users on the Windows platform are still very much using ActiveState.
What? both of them!?!

Seriously, I think you're right. I can't see ActiveState surviving for long now. I don't suppose Sophos would have sold them if there was any mileage left.

However, It is a shame that Sophos didn't try to captilise on the "open source movement" to help development of the ActiveState products. I like Sophos products and their generally sensible advice about virus threats, as compared to the over-hyped "sales pitch" from Symantec and McAfee.

Anyway, good luck to ActiveState. I fear they'll need it.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (2, Insightful)

kabz (770151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14659116)

Oi, I use it in my personal dev chain at work, and I've pushed this out to , errr, another 5 people or so.

I'd be more worried about the fact that ActiveState will be used and dumped by the venture capitalists. For those with short memories, look at what happened to ArsDigita [waxy.org], the company started by Philip Greenspun.

In a sentence: take successful/profitable open source company and run into the ground by imposing expensive dinner consuming and buzzword spewing venture capitalists. Stand well back.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (2, Insightful)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14659875)

I don't suppose Sophos would have sold them if there was any mileage left.

This statement makes no sense economically. There was a buyer and there was a seller. Your claim is that the buyer would not have sold it unless it was worthless. According to this theory, nobody should ever buy used cars because people would not get rid of them until they are about to break down. Nobody would sell houses until the pipes are about to burst. Etc. But an economist would say merely that the buyer values the acquisition more than the seller. In this case, the buyer is a company that claims to believe that ActiveState will succeed if it is allowed to focus without the distraction of being part of an anti-spam company. The seller claims to agree. Why should we doubt them? The buyer, in particular, has no incentive to lie, and I presume that they've done more analysis of ActiveState's growth potential than a random /. poster.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14660919)

small paul indeed, as in small brain. i did enjoy your GED-level economic analysis though, good for a laugh.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (4, Interesting)

Nurgled (63197) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658884)

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

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

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

Perl windows users (1)

Gruuk (18480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14659268)

Agreed. In my previous job, we used ActivePerl extensively, in standalone scripts and on NT/2000 with IIS. In my current job, we use it even more internally (mrtg, various scripts, web apps). The ease of adding packages and the seamless integration in IIS makes it a very valuable tool (since we will continue to run on windows for the foreseable future and have tons of code in VBScript (*sigh*), the last part is especially important).

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (2, Informative)

flwombat (190748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658123)

You may or may not be correct about the company's prospects, but I'm sitting here raising my hand, and I know a lot of others are too. It's *nice* to have a reasonably stable distribution from an identifiable vendor when you're stamping out new servers for your enterprise.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14658251)

You are obviously speaking from a blank mind. Check out the mailing lists and you will see a very much alive (Active)Perl community.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14658266)

*raising hand*

Is there a more accessible way to develop Perl on a Windows platform? I love these guys.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (2, Informative)

Keichann (888574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658291)

*raises hand*

ActiveState Komodo is an _excellent_ development tool. It's pretty much replaced Vim on my desktop for most editing, although I've not quite gotten the hang of the GUI editor.

Syntax highlighting warning you of standards incompatible XHTML? Go Komodo :)

True, I _did_ have to buy it, but maybe they'll Open Source it now?

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (1)

it0 (567968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658646)

If you hack on perl on windows, I think optiperl [xarka.com] is a much better ide. I bought and that means something, I have never seen such advanced syntax highlighting as in that editor, you have to check out the screenshots.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (1)

yogamatt (952594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14659894)

Yeah, it would be cool if they open sourced it, but Komodo is definitely the coolest pieces of software that I've ever actually paid for. I hate shelling out the dough but it is such a cool IDE. Maybe someday the perl/python/ruby plugins for Eclipse will be better but until then Komodo has no competition.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (2, Insightful)

SilentMobius (10171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658421)

Actually I've been working with perl on and off for 8 years now and I'd say that at least 80% of the perl devs I've met (myself included) used activeperl whenever they needed perl on windows (which we would generally try to avoid mind you) for everything from UI apps that used the same framework as our web apps to mobile demos on windows laptops for the sales guys. It kept everything quick and easy, which gave us more time to work on the core engines for the products we were working on.

But yes, I wish CPAN wasn't quite so flakey

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (3, Interesting)

jma05 (897351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658465)

>> everyone use Active(perl,python) raise your hand. i don't see many hands.

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

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (2, Informative)

stuntpope (19736) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658664)

I've gone back and forth between ActivePython and regular python.org Python on Windows, and I can't honestly see any benefit to using ActivePython for my particular needs. I recently tried Komodo and I like it. I'd tried it years ago and ruled it out, but now it's much better. PyDev on Eclipse wasn't working well enough for me (esp. on Mac), though I'm about to try the latest version. But Komodo Professional is a bit pricey, and more than Wing IDE.

Re:i luv these guys, but they are doomed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14660436)

*raised hand*

In my section of a certain Fortune 100 company, I don't know of anyone using some other Perl for Windows. Activestate all the way.

What about Komodo? (1)

ShadeARG (306487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657975)

FTA:
ActiveState is also sticking to current plans around tools such as Komodo and the Perl Dev Kit and Ascher said there are "significant upgrades" planned for next year.
Anyone else find the article unclear as to whether Komodo [activestate.com] will be opensourced?

Re:What about Komodo? (5, Informative)

davidascher (520507) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658002)

Sorry, no current plans to open source Komodo at this time.

David Ascher, ActiveState

Re:What about Komodo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14658274)

Hi,

I just wanted to thank you guys at activestate for Komodo - it has really made perl + python a pleasure to work with even on Windows. Its simply the best IDE for perl and python I have ever used. :)

Thanks

Re:What about Komodo? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658628)

Well, that's less than Kommodious. Isn't it a full-fledged XUL application? I, for one, wouldn't mind paying for the privilege of seeing that source code, just to learn how to code XUL.
BTW, the Python Cookbook is teh roxorz. Thanks.

Re:What about Komodo? (2, Informative)

rtos (179649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14659069)

Unfortunately the Komodo [activestate.com] IDE won't be open sources (free as in beer) any time soon.

But honestly, that's ok with me. It's only $30 for the personal license, and they license per developer not per seat/cpu... so you are welcome to install it on as many machines as you use (e.g. desktop and laptop).

I do quite a bit of Python coding, and after checking out Eclipse [eclipse.org], SPE [stani.be], and a few others, I'm still a huge fan of Komodo. I've easily gotten $30 of value out of using it.

Plus, if you watch the bargain sites carefully, they occasionally run promotions where you can get Komodo for free [thinkhole.org]. :)

That said, YMMV. I know a lot of people who would disagree with me and would rather use Eclipse with PyDev [sourceforge.net].

*scratches head* (1)

mcc (14761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658419)

Maybe I am missing something, but OS X already comes with perl, python, php, ruby, and tclsh. To what end is ActiveState porting their packaging of such things to OS X?

Is this just for compatibility purposes, for software already written to target ActiveState's packages?

Re:*scratches head* (2, Insightful)

simong (32944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14659198)

For that matter there was a perfectly good Windows perl port before ActiveState. ActiveState have added a nice IDE and, because they worked with Microsoft, produced a lot of MS/Windows compatability modules that would either have not existed or would have been based on guesswork. If they can do the same for OS X it will be worth the port. It's more for talking to Excel and Word rather than Windows32 filesystem calls, obviously but it's a viable port IMO.

Re:*scratches head* (1)

Sketch (2817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14660398)

> Maybe I am missing something, but OS X already comes with perl, python, php, ruby, and tclsh.

wish (Tk) is also included as of 10.4.

ActiveTcl comes "loaded" with lots of common extensions. Presumably their other language distributions are the same. That's the only "advantage" I can see to them, when the language is already installed with the OS.

I suppose it's nice after 5 years or so they are finally supporting OSX. Last I checked, they did not. That appears to have changed. Would have been nicer 3 years ago when OSX didn't come with Tk so everyone had to install a 3rd party Tcl/Tk distribution for Tk support anyway... ;)

ActiveState considered worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14658597)

ActiveState is now completely irrelevant. Sophos bought them, slurped up the useful bits to them (now used in their PureMessage product) and then got rid of them. Sophos are not a developer tools company, they are a anti-whatever-threat-you care-to-mention company. Word has it that the two companies didn't get on well when they were in the same boat anyway. If ActiveState were making any (decent) money Sophos would have kept it. Buy a winner, sell a loser.

Re:ActiveState considered worthless (1)

yerfatma (666741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658966)

You could make good money in Sudan with that theory.

Re:ActiveState considered worthless (2, Interesting)

kahn (549547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14659165)

Its true though... It seems all sophos wanted is PureMessage and the dumped ActiveState as soon as they could.

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

-Kahn

Re:ActiveState considered worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14676385)

Explain, please.

Good for corporate lackeys (5, Insightful)

AWG (621868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14659019)

I have been using ActivePerl for 5 years now, and ActivePython for 1.5. Komodo is a great IDE, but what makes ActiveState great is basically just the fact that they are ActiveState.

In a corporate environment, using software from an actual company makes managers and IT folk feel warm and fuzzy. And yes, I realize that ActiveState is just mostly just nicely packaging up available open source software... but I don't tell anyone that. Corporate types tend to like it when they can buy something from someone, or at least point to a (stable) company that sells the product. Saying I'm using ActivePython goes over much better than saying I downloaded something from community-based python.org. And no, I'm not saying any of this makes sense, but it has been my experience for the past five years.

If it weren't for ActiveState, I would be forced to write in VC++ or VBA. Thanks to them, I'm using perl and python for my job every day. And that is pretty awesome.

So, keep up the good work, ActiveState!

Re:Good for corporate lackeys (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#14660000)

This is indeed downright silly but makes a lot of "sense" in many corporate environments.

I hadn't really heard of that company and was wondering what the point was in buying a packaged OSS language. In view of your exerience, it's much more clear.

On a side note since I just found about it I'm testing at their Komodo IDE since I have a bit of PHP to do. Looks good so far.

Corporate thought (3, Insightful)

typical (886006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14660355)

In a corporate environment, using software from an actual company makes managers and IT folk feel warm and fuzzy.

Second this *ten times over*.

I've been suggesting perl for producing test harnesses for ages (writing them in C is just a waste of time), but the folks running things just don't *trust* perl. Until someone discovered ActiveState. I walked in one day and found them using the commercial Komodo, happy as a clam, and talking about how great perl was.

Confused the hell out of me.

The only thing I can guess is that if you have business roots, you're always trying to figure out the other guy's angle. Why is he doing something for you? What's he planning to get? If business folks can figure this out, and decide that it's aligned with their own interests, then they feel okay accepting the deal.

Open source software just doesn't make any sense in a model that only recognizes human time and direct monetary value. So you get people who *never* have worked with hobbyists who like producing free stuff. They've never worked in an environment in which the marginal cost of production and distribution can approximate zero. It's very reasonable for them to look very dubiously at software, thinking "I can't figure out how this guy is going to profit from this, so I'd better stay the hell away, since he might try some sort of horrific extortion down the line. Who the hell would write software for *fun*? I have to yell at people to get them in on time to meet our deadlines!"

On the other hand, doing a deal in which the other guy is clearly making a profit means that they don't need to imagine ways in which they can get stabbed in the back later. They can be comfortable believing that the other guy is simply happy making the deal.

It's a weird mentality from a hobbyist standpoint, but it's the only way I can explain why so many companies look at Debian and walk away quickly but are happy as a clam buying Red Hat Enterprise Edition. /me shrugs

As long as I get to use something at work that I can freely use myself the rest of the time, I'm all for it.

unfortinate naming convetion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14660384)

So they made ActivePerl etc. By their naming convention can we thank them for ActivX/Joke?

Oxymoron of the Year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14661395)

ActiveTcl?

Raises hand (1)

Penguine42 (867288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14665788)

I've been using ActivePerl these past two weeks - not that I haven't before. The install is so quick, it's forgettable. Never have had any problems using ActivePerl. Yes, I am glad there is a co. that stands behind it. Perl is awesome, but if left to the whim of fate on Windows, I fear the angry mob of Python, Ruby, whatever is new and thinking it's better than everything before it type thinking. I am glad that Perl proves itself worthy.
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