As you may know, I’ve started up an open source Eclipse distribution called CDT for Windows out on SourceForge. (If you haven’t, feel free to take a look ;). My top objective for this distribution is to help out people who have Windows machines and who want to try out using Eclipse for C/C++ development. We’ve received numerous complaints and bug reports from people who’ve tried to make something like this on their own. And so far the reception for this distribution has been warm and I’m pretty happy with it and excited about its future.
One thing that is bothering me, though, is that I can’t release something like this from Eclipse itself. Mind you now, I didn’t really try, but I think the feedback I got when I talked about it was that there was no way the Eclipse Board would allow the tools and libraries that are GPL and LGPL licensed and with uncertain pedigree to be released from an Eclipse server. And I am the first one to stand up and promote why these legal requirements are important to ensure the pedigree of products that would like to redistribute Eclipse. But, I wouldn’t begin to expect vendors to redistribute CDT for Windows. So why does this still bother me?
I guess it comes back to the reason why I’m doing CDT for Windows in the first place. I’m trying to grow the CDT community into the Windows development space. If you’ve heard me speak, you know I’ve been trying to do this for years. Visual Studio obviously rules there, but I think Eclipse has a lot to offer Windows developers. And there are lots of them. If we can grow the CDT community there and make them happy, this should help the CDT. And having a good base of CDT users should also make developer products that target for other platforms, like the one from my employer ;), more attractive, making the Eclipse membership happy too.
So, I’m doing this for the benefit of Eclipse. But I can’t do it at Eclipse. And the irony isn’t lost on me. But at the same time, I’m really enjoying the freedom I’m having doing this at SourceForge. It may come around and bite me in the behind at some point. But for now, CDT for Windows users can benefit from it even if does come from SourceForge, which is where many of the packages I’m distributing are coming from anyway…