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Home » Eclipse Projects » Technology Project and PMC » An open letter to the Eclipse Board of Directors
An open letter to the Eclipse Board of Directors [message #597113] Sat, 10 April 2004 04:14
Scott Stanchfield is currently offline Scott StanchfieldFriend
Messages: 263
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
(I've tried to find how to contact the board members and I've sent this
to a few leads, but I'm posting it to the newsgroups in case those leads

Dear Board Members,

I have been an avid fan and user of Eclipse since its beta. I used to be
the world's biggest advocate of VisualAge for Java (IBM even called me
their best "marketing weapon"), but Eclipse won me over very quickly.

Over the past few years, Eclipse has evolved incredibly, and until
recently I've been thrilled with using it and encouraging others to use
it. Everyone I've shown it to loves it and is amazed at what they can do
with it. Nearly all are astounded when I tell them it's written in Java.

It doesn't look like a Java application; it blends in with native
applications seamlessly.

Recently, the user interface team has redesigned the look and feel of
the user interface as part of a response to bug #37997. That bug covered
"evolve the user experience", a vague description that the user
interface team took extreme license with.

These changes have met very mixed responses: some folks like it; others
hate it.

Two bugs have been written against the new look and feel that I want to
draw your attention to:

52780: Preference setting to revert to classic look in IDE
52875: Revert Eclipse UI to classic look

These two bugs have received numerous votes. In fact, the voting for the
three bugs in question as of this writing is:

37997: 15 (new L&F)
52780: 92 (preference to choose old/new)
52875: 53 (old L&F only)

Many people, including myself, have voiced very strong distaste for the
new look and feel, as it looks incredibly out of place on any platform.
We feel strongly that one of the biggest advantages of Eclipse is how
clean and professional it looks, and how well it fits in with other
native applications on each platform.

Our voices are being completely ignored by the user interface team. They
rarely comment on the dissent and today posted a comment to bug 52780
stating that "people generally like the changes."

All documentable evidence (the votes, the vast number of postings about
the look and feel, and nearly every blog entry one can find on the
topic) points to the contrary, and I am greatly offended that the views
voiced are being completely ignored.

In fact, the votes stand 145 against and 15 for the new look and feel.

Nearly a 10-to-1 margin.

I ask that the board examine the above bug reports and the comments and
voting made and stop the forced change to this new look and feel.

The overwhelming majority of users who have commented on the look and
feel do not want this change. We want to keep using the clean,
professional, native-looking user interface we have been using for
nearly three years.

Please note that we don't object to releasing the new look and feel as
an _option_.
However, the old look and feel should be delivered as it existed in all
Eclipse builds up through 3.0M8, and should be the default.

I believe very strongly in democracy; people who vote should be counted,
not ignored.
I believe these votes strongly demonstrate the desire of the user
community. I ask that you investigate these bug reports and seriously
consider halting this change.

In addition, if the new look and feel is delivered, it will seriously
undermine the credibility of the Eclipse community. One of the major
debates surrounding Eclipse is the use of SWT instead of Swing. The main
arguments against Swing were stated as poor performance and non-native
look and feel.

Swing's performance has improved greatly and is no longer an issue. The
new look and feel is non-native in appearance. These two points
completely remove the stated advantages of SWT.

Releasing this look and feel will give Swing pundits all the ammunition
they've been looking for. The Eclipse community will seem completely

Please discuss this issue among yourselves, and I hope that you will see
what the user community is so clearly demonstrating that it wants.

I look forward to an answer from the board on this very serious issue.

Scott Stanchfield
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