Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

November 24th, 2008:

Coming -Clean About Eclipse

I got the NASM plug-in installed into Eclipse yesterday, after a tip from Bishop Sam'l Bassett of the Old Catholic Church, who had spotted a forum comment that I hadn't. (The real skill in using the Internet is crafting your search terms.) Eclipse has a plug-in cache, and sometimes you have to empty the cache to get it to refresh its list of plug-ins. I intuit that this function is usually served by exiting and restarting Eclipse, but in my case that wasn't enough.

I got the cache cleared by rebooting the system, and suddenly, there was the plug-in. The forum comment in question also mentioned that you can start Eclipse with the -clean command-line parameter, and Eclipse will start “clean” with an empty plug-in cache. I didn't have to do this, but it's worth knowing.

Otherwise, I had done all the right things. Eclipse doesn't really “install” plug-ins in the sense that we install things in Windows. Unzipping a plug-in archive under the Eclipse plugins directory is all that installation requires, assuming that the archive contains all of a plug-in's necessary elements.

There's still work to be done in configuring Eclipse to develop with NASM (setting paths for the assembler and gcc, and a bunch of other things) but that's straightforward and should be done long since by tonight. I'm going up to SoftPro Books in Denver tomorrow with Jim Strickland, and we'll see what they might have that could be useful getting up to speed with Eclipse. A quick scan of pertinent titles on Amazon indicates that most books are about developing Java apps with Eclipse, but some discussion of the IDE in general terms would be very useful about now.

I have a gripe about Ubuntu that I might as well air at this point. The folders in which you unpack Eclipse plug-ins are owned by root, and unless you're running as root you can't unpack files into those folders. Fair enough. I had hoped that Ubuntu and Gnome would have evolved sufficiently since I last did this sort of thing to just pop up a sudo dialog when the user (and we're all users on this bus; Ubuntu does not really have a root account in the strict sense of the word) attempts to do something that violates permissions. But no; it throws up a fairly useless message and glares at you. To get the job done you have to bring up a terminal or the graphical command line dialog and run “gksudo nautilus” to run Nautilus as root. Installer systems like apt-get don't throw tantrums like that on you; when they need permission to install files in folders owned by root they just ask for your password. Nautilus needs to do that.

After all, I'm the Visual Developer Magazine guy, and I have a fetish: Command lines should never be compulsory. Never. It's 2008. We're supposedly all OS grown-ups now. Fundamental things like file management should be 100% point-and-click.