FOSS Developers: Make Your Products Easy to Build

This post is a few years old now, so some details (or my opinions) might be out of date.
I would still love to hear your feedback in the comments below. Enjoy!

(FOSS: Free Open Source Software)

I recently started to use Eclipse Color Themes at my home desktop. ECT is an Eclipse plugin which allows you to, well, easily choose and manage color themes (which is a feature that Eclipse strangely doesn’t offer). I downloaded it via the Eclipse Marketplace (everything is a market these days, isn’t it?) and it worked pretty smoothly. I wanted to use it at work as well, but I’m not able to use the online download options in Eclipse. I was looking for a way to get it offline, like some sort of installer, or just the zipped content of the plugin/feature directories to unzip directly into Eclipse, but it wasn’t an option.

I resorted to download the source, but unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to quickly build the output I needed for Eclipse to run. I know, I could probably have done it by creating an Eclipse project for it, and I’m not saying its build process is particularly obscure or anything - but god damn it - it’s only a plugin. I’m only willing to spend so much time on every little tool and utility I use. So eventually I didn’t use it at work. It was too much of a hassle.

Now, I’m all for FOSS to provide easily downloadable, easily usable installer, zipped contents, etc., but then again, if I can’t easily build your product and use it from the source, how is it different from closed-source software? Therefore, my plea for FOSS is this: Make your products easy to build. I will gladly clone/download your repository and build it from scratch if there’s a nice DEVELOPERS-README.txt file in the root directory that instructs me on how to build your product in a few (not more than a few!) easy steps. If it’s not easily buildable, it’s essentially closed source.

Discuss this post at the comment section below.
Follow me on Twitter , Facebook or Google+

Similar Posts