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The Impact of Free Developer Tools

Dan Gillmor talks about the impact NeXT has had on Mac OS X in this Silicon Valley .com article. This part stuck out as I read it:

NeXT's technology was also way ahead of its time in the tools it offered developers. Programmers could assemble applications with relative ease, using powerful building blocks that were part of a sophisticated toolkit.

Mac users - every last one of 'em - are given free developer tools (and can download them if they've somehow lost their CDs). What impact do you think this has had? Aside from providing thousands of freeware/cheapware applications from hobbyists, free development tools have helped me personally quite a bit. I don't know if Freshly Squeezed Software would exist if we all had to pay for free development tools.

8 Responses to "The Impact of Free Developer Tools"

  1. I'd have to say that free dev tools has absolutely kept me programming. A few years ago, I bought CodeWarrior Discover Programming or something like that, and couldn't create my own projects, or save things -- what a waste! How am I supposed to learn when I can't experiment?

    Well, now that we've got a copy of the tools shipping with every Mac and OS update, I load up Project Builder and Interface Builder more and more.

    And to top it off, we have awesome development environments - AppleScript Studio and Cocoa.

  2. Well, for one thing, it put perversiontracker.com in business. =)

  3. Perhaps NeXT would have been more succesful if it offered the development tools for free. Probably not much, though 😉 Free development tools have definately made Mac OS X much more successful.

  4. It's definately nice to have them for free. Especially when you compare it to what MS charges for Visual Studio. Between the dev tools and OS X, I've been able to temp many classmates into switching. A bunch of them seem to be getting really sick of paying MS.

    P.S. Codepoet, Apple's dev tools didn't put perversiontracker in business. RealBasic did that. =)

  5. Though I'm not a programmer, the inclusion of the DevTools has helped me help myself -- I can't count the number of times I've said to myself, "gee, I could really use a quickie command line tool so I could do blahblahblah", and been able to find a tool via Google or Sourceforge and a configure; make; make install cycle later I'm in business. That's a power that even advanced end-users never had in Classic MacOS.

  6. I would have bought them anyways (I actually bought CodeWarrior Academic for Mac OS 9 a while back). When you're addicted to something, you don't care about the price 😀

  7. A short while back I wrote about the impact of free developer tools. Lately, however, I've been itching to spend $250 or so on a...

  8. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.


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