A few months ago, IBMers were trying to outdo each other (on the internal blogs) in the number of java.exe instances they could find sitting on their hard drive. Given that Java is our runtime of choice, and that pretty much all our middleware uses it, the numbers were quite high. For myself, I am personally sitting at thirty-nine (39) instances of java.exe!
But the new trend in building/offering rich clients is now having the same effect on the number of Eclipse instances one might have installed. Take my workstation, I’ve got a copy of pure eclipse 3.1.1, to test recent plugins. On top of that, I also have Rational Application Developer, Rational Business Modeler, WebSphere Integration Developer and the IBM Workplace Managed Client. In total, no less than seven (7) Eclipse.exe instances!
I can somewhat explain the number of java instances by the fact each of the above development products installs several different versions of WAS for development/testing purposes. But Eclipse? Again, it’s a matter of which specific version and assembly of plugins each product supports, which means that pretty much any product that requires it today ships its own tweaked version of Eclipse.
It seems like we’ve recreated the mess of Microsoft’s DLL hell, where each app (VB-based or not) provided its own DLLs which might break your Windows install or not. The problem with Eclipse is not the risk of ruining your OS install. It’s the space and the sheer number of files it requires. It can take anywhere from 20/30Mb and approx. 1,000 files, all the way up to 400Mb and 10,000+ files. Now multiple that figure by the number of instances you got, and you’re starting to talk real space pretty quickly.