This afternoon I was trying to find the right version of an Eclipse-based tool that I have installed, and it occurred to me that I must have a million instances of Eclipse installed on my machine. So I did a quick search and found out that I over estimated by just a bit. I only have 16 instances. That's still a lot, right?
How did I get so many? First of all, we deliver our documentation in information centers, which are built on Eclipse. So I have various information centers installed that I built and use for testing or whatever. Also, I discovered that I have some apps installed that, even though they aren't Eclipse-based themselves, provide an Eclipse-based information center. Every time you install an information center, you get Eclipse.
Then I have all sorts of different builds of the various Eclipse-based products that I have documented over the past few years.
When I first heard about Eclipse, I imagined that I would have one instance of Eclipse, and then I would just plug in all of my different applications into the single IDE, and everything would all be right there for me. But no, that's not how it works. Each product has its own separate Eclipse base, and I have to go figure out which product I want to do what task. It gets really confusing because you can do slightly different things with each product and they all look slightly different. I have to think that this must get confusing to customers too.