[SUGGEST] Reform eclipse and eclipse related ports

Bruce R. Montague brucem at mail.cruzio.com
Sun Oct 23 10:56:11 PDT 2005

Hi, re large IDE-like things (Eclipse, Emacs) and
the ports tree... FreeBSD's source-centric ports
tree is probably FreeBSD's second-best feature (after
the source-centric system). Over time (decades) the
ports tree might come to be one of the world's great
repositories, or at least repository "index" (isn't
it already?  ;). It should make no bones about this.

Two trends relating to the ports tree (an opinion):

* Any really succesful large application, over time
(again, decades) becomes it's own interpretter-
language-IDE-environemnt.  Past a certain point,
these things often never go away, they just grow.
In addition to things like Emacs, Eclipse, and even
X (hey, what about the Java Netbeans environment
users?) there are a number of application-oriented
systems: OpenOffice, R, Octave, Grass, maxima, etc..
R (open source version of S stat-pack), Octave (open
source Matlab), grass (open source GIS), maxima (open
source, well, Macsyma).  These things, like Eclipse,
can accumulate all sorts of related shims, addons,
and extensions. Some of these are really popular,
world-class, in their category (R), some are relatively
new, but potentially popular (grass), and some are
almost moribund old classics, maybe starting to make
a come-back (maxima). None of these will ever "take
over the world", because they are special-purpose.
But they can be expected to grow and will often
motiviate use of FreeBSD in classic scientific
workstation environments; FreeBSD should strive to
be a preferred platform for those who want to run
these environments, in particular those who want to
easily track the latest releases, run these sorts
of things simultaneously, and access the source.

* I'm not so sure about framework-centric progamming
taking over the world, but other languages besides
C (or at least those supported by the gcc backend)
are finally(?) becoming somewhat common on Unix
systems, perhaps because computers are now so fast
that interpretters are attractive. If a language
is succesful, of course, over time a lot of other
files in the ports tree will become dependent on it.
(Even if framework-centric systems dont turn out to
be a silver bullet, they likely will continue to grow
like everything else.)

The "Ports in virtual categories" section of the
ports tree currently contains mostly categories for
desktops or programming languages. How hard would
it be to support 2 levels of "virtual categories",
in some cases? Can this already be done?  Then one
could add a "Java" virtual category and under it
create "Eclipse" and "Netbeans" categories (or
whatever, just for illustration).  Anything in the
ports tree that grew to a certain size, in terms of
the number of other ports that were directly related
to it or dependent on it (or likely to be accessed
and installed by someone using it), would be considered
for inclusion somewhere in the virtual ports tree, where
it could all be viewed as "one big ball of stuff".

 - bruce

More information about the freebsd-java mailing list