Thoughts on Eclipse IDE

Noah Petherbridge
Posted by Noah Petherbridge on Thursday, May 26 2011 @ 12:09:07 AM
This is a little rant about the Eclipse IDE for Java (and other languages, but it's mainly a Java IDE).

I hate it.

I have to use Eclipse because my current project at work is a Java project, with a massive amount of source code, and I have no idea how I'd compile and run the project except with Eclipse. Also, there's a significant amount of source code managed by CVS in a hundred different projects, and authentication is made complicated by a VPN and I have no intentions of trying to manage CVS via command line.

Eclipse creates more work for me just by being Eclipse. The CVS system on it is broken, and I frequently get CVS conflicts on files that I didn't even touch between updates, which cause syntax errors, some of which aren't immediately obvious (sometimes they cause runtime errors instead of compile-time errors).

Then, Eclipse likes to just crash from time to time with no explanation. I ended up jury-rigging a chain of shell scripts just to start Eclipse to try to minimize how often it crashes, and catch the errors (if any) when it does.

Namely, I needed to use ulimit to increase the number of filehandles Eclipse can have to keep it from crashing. Only root can do this, though, and I don't want to run Eclipse as root, because I don't want new files coming in through CVS to be owned as root and make my job more difficult.

So, just to start Eclipse, I had to set up /etc/sudoers to not require a password to use sudo, and allow sudo to run without a TTY (these are both bad security practices, btw), and to sudo execute this script as root:

$ cat

# increase fileno limit
ulimit -n 50000
sudo -u kirsle "./" &
This uses root only to increase the filehandle limit, then it switches to kirsle (my user) so nothing further runs as root, and runs, a Perl script that attempts to catch errors when Eclipse goes down like a cheerleader at homecoming:
$ cat 
#!/usr/bin/perl -w

my $out = `./eclipse 2>&1`;
if ($? != 0) {
	$out =~ s/\'/\\'/g;
	system("zenity", "--info", "--text", $out);
Ugh. I strongly prefer a plain old text editor like vim or gedit.


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