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[avr-gcc-list] Re: crosstool-NG

From: David Brown
Subject: [avr-gcc-list] Re: crosstool-NG
Date: Fri, 04 Mar 2011 15:14:53 +0100
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On 04/03/2011 14:37, Graham Davies wrote:
David Brown wrote:

(This is going to sound like an "I want" rant - which I suppose it is ...
I am a professional developer ... You don't change toolchains in a
project without very good reason ...
So I have a range of WinAVR compilers on my machine ...
It is vital that I can take an old project, re-compile it with the
same toolchain and the same options, and generate a bit-perfect copy
of the old binary target file ... and a whole lot more.

I just want to say that David is spot on for what professionals need. I
go a little further and fix the version of AVR Studio for a project as
well. Since you can have only one version of AVR Studio installed at a
time and AVR Studio does not uninstall reliably, this means that I have
to re-install the operating system to switch versions. The only
disagreement I have with David is the desire for everyone to move to
Eclipse. All of my attempts to learn how to use it have ended with my
head spinning. AVR Studio has about the right level of complexity and
functionality for me. Eclipse is just too heavy. I know I am in a
minority, so no discussion is necessary.

I agree that Eclipse is heavy - I use it for some things, but I also often use a lighter editor (typically Crimson Editor on Windows, and gedit on Linux). An alternative middle-of-the-road choice is CodeBlocks.

However, if a vendor wants to make an IDE with a powerful debugger and top-class C (and C++) editor, then Eclipse is the only sensible choice. Oddly enough, that's the choice Atmel made when they made AVR32 Studio - that's what makes this jump to Visual Studio even stranger.

But, why is the situation at Atmel the way it is? Atmel have never been
very good with technical support. I am an Approved Atmel AVR Consultant.
I even have a number (13660). Even so, getting any kind of technical
support is murderously difficult. (In fact, being an Approved Consultant
gets me exactly nothing other than the ability to boast about it.) So my
guess is that Atmel only want to even pretend to offer support on the
latest version. This, I think, is why professional developers will never
get what they want. It is just to expensive for Atmel to contemplate. We
won't pay high prices for development tools, so Atmel is forced to take
a low-cost approach. Maybe this also explains why only Windows is
supported. Just my thoughts.

Actually, I /would/ be willing to pay for avr-gcc if the model were right. My company has bought several licenses for gcc toolchains from CodeSourcery over the years, even though I often use the free versions rather than the paid-for versions (the free versions are stand-alone toolchains, the paid-for versions include Eclipse). Paying also entitles you to commercial support.

However, I think it would be difficult for Atmel to start charging for development tools. It would be too much of a mix of business models.

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