Why such a weak showing for C# on Eclipse?

Every few months I do another google for Eclipse C# and it continually surprises me that Improve C# Plugin for Eclipse is what keeps showing up first, despite it being pretty old and not really (at least from what I can tell) sufficient for doing C# work at the same level of support as Eclipse has natively for Java.

I remember in the buzz days about Eclipse 3.0 (EclipseCon, for instance) how there was going to be a rock-solid C# plugin that was going to make VS no longer the best tool for the job of coding in C# – the idea was that Eclipse would be just as good (basically) at C# as Java and once developers switched their IDE to eclipse (after all, why bother with VS, even Express editions, if Eclipse is all that and more for free?), switching to Java instead of C# (to gain platform independence, or access to a larger library of, well, libraries) was very trivial.

So how come it hasn’t happened?

One conspiracy-theory-ish view of things would be to say that Eclipse in reality doesn’t want solid C# support. They want something that makes things sorta-kinda usable, but they’re actually better off if it’s a constant second-class citizen, even though the similarities are so huge that it’s pretty obvious this status would be an intentional choice. They want people to get into the uncomfortable position of working on C# in Eclipse and knowing they could get a better experience switching one of those pieces: either to Java on Eclipse or to C# on Visual Studio. With the recent Visual Studio Express Editions, it’s less of an obvious choice as the cost is “free” either way, but it’s still relatively obvious that Eclipse is an incredible Java IDE (much more extensive refactoring support than even Visual Studio 2005, unfortunately) and with the growing popularity of Eclipse, and the potential perception of the express editions as crippled, Java on Eclipse is the choice many/most(/all?) of the people put into that position will make.

What do you think? Too conspiracy theory? Think it’s just that there’s no real market for it or no one finds it interesting enough to work on an open-source C# plugin for eclipse?

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