There is a special place in heaven for those who make free-libre software engineering tools available to journeyman programmers like me. I’m grateful to the Eclipse project for their comprehensive integrated development environment. A few years ago, when I chose Eclipse as my Python-language programming environment, Eclipse wasn’t very easy to install, especially on the Mac. Into the gap rode the EasyEclipse project. They offered distributions of Eclipse and related modules, targeted at various kinds of developer and at various language preferences, in packaging that was simple and ready to go. I used their EasyEclipse for Python 1.3.1 product as my primary development environment for several years, and it was great for me.

Alas, the EasyEclipse project appears to be stagnating.   They haven’t updated their builds to the latest version of Eclipse and language-specific plug-ins. (They still use Eclipse 3.3, current is 3.7.)  Their Eclipse build is throwing errors in the Software Update feature, because the latest plugins are too new for their old Eclipse core. They aren’t responding to bug reports and forum posts. They aren’t even responding to my message sent in response to their plea for helpers to take over the project.

In the meantime, the Eclipse project’s distributions are now easier to use. You can download Eclipse builds for Mac OS.  They have builds targeted to various segments of developers. They have extensive documentation. They have a update manager within Eclipse, to make it easier to stay current.

So, the question is: is the core Eclipse project now easy enough to install that there’s no more need for a project like EasyEclipse?   Is easy enough to eclipse  If not, can the core Eclipse project learn lessons from EasyEclipse and become easy enough?  Or is there a niche for the EasyEclipse long-term?  I recently downloaded a current Eclipse build, and fitted it out for Python and PHP programming.  My experience gives me opinions on these questions.

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