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Time isn’t free

Monday, September 12, 2005 - 10:02 by Wayne Beaton

In response to my Friday posting, RefuX said “Linux is cheap if your time is free”. This statement is, of course, absolutely correct. However a similar statement about the cost of your time can be made about operating systems that you have to pay for. The amount of time that I have spent troubleshooting Windows problems is staggering (I had to resolve a painful driver conflict a couple of weeks back). I think that it’s fair to suggest that the amount of money you pay for your operating system ends up being a relatively small part of the overall cost of ownership. Let me know if you think otherwise.

I’ve installed Eclipse many times. I love the fact that all I have to do is make sure that I have a JRE configured, unzip a file into a directory, and I’m good to go. It all just feels so clean; no files spread out all over the place. Very simple. It literally takes me about 10 minutes to get Eclipse up and running on a new system. I’ve been working on an RCP application (I’ll tell you all the details when I’m a little further along). Since Eclipse is itself an RCP application and comes with all of its own source, it’s a great source of help when you’re building an application. I’ve been able to put together some fantastic user interface elements in almost no time at all by scavenging, borrowing, and blatently copying code tha comes with the environment. This practice is, of course, a staple of modern software development and is strongly encouraged in "Contributing to Eclipse" by Erich Gamma and Kent Beck.

So… the cost of entry for Eclipse, both in terms of money and time is quite low.