First, I have to say that I am glad that people want to give us a feedback and suggest improvements. Making such systems is not an easy task, as the designer needs to make many compromises in design, capabilities and expandability, yet to keep it simple and user friendly, in an environment which is constantly changing - almost daily, knowing that his decisions are made in the right direction.
Our company started as a small workshop for enthusiasts and hobbyists, even before the Arduino existed. The idea was fresh and new, people liked it. The company grew and produced several variants of their development systems which were widely accepted by the community. We are now working on the 8th generation, which needs to be 8 magnitudes better than the first one. We really try hard to achieve that goal, and would never succeed without knowing what users want from it.
That being said - We are aware that there's a place for the improvement in the system you are using - AVRPLC, but you have to bear in mind, it's a design which is 7 years old. Also - there are compromises that had to be made design wise, so let's talk about that in more details:
1.) 'Program Files' is actually a system protected directory and even if it seems like a good place for an application to be - some issues might arise - and thus - by default, it is installed in the "user" folder. To overcome that, user is presented with a choice - for example, my personal compilers are located in my own folder and I have no issues with that. I am not installing them on a daily basis - I can live with the necessity to change the installation directory once in a while, when a new update is released. Anyhow - it's a good suggestion, maybe it should be reconsidered, especially now with the new windows 8 and 10.
2.) As I've said - there is place for improving the system. But it would make the product more expensive, also hardware is such on many other systems - you need to disconnect the programmer and reconnect pins for the normal operation - you can do it by jumpers or some external circuitry, which would add up to the overall complexity, and so on. It's just how AVR made their MCUs. You can see a compromise here, but it doesn't mean that we will hold to that solution. We know that no one wants excuses. But sometimes, you have to live with that... at least for a while
3.) 2x5 headers... Our programmer can be used for other devices, which have 2x5 pins connectors. The choice was either to allow connecting AVR's external programmer, JTAG ICE with 2x5 pins or simply use onboard programmer. I guess developer didn't foresee that someone would use the external mikroProg when there's already an internal mikroProg...
4.) Libraries are NOT the same for years, sorry but I can't agree with this. Do you realize how many MCUs and architectures are daily in our office ? Every single one needs to be processed, programmed, checked, etc. It requires A LOT of time and A LOT of (smart) people. If we stay back and change our old libraries for the old MCUs - which by the way get fixed if an error is reported - we would NEVER catch up with the trends.
5.) ENC28j60, ENC624J600, W5500 along with the onboard Ethernet on the various MCUs, fulfill our Ethernet needs for the time being, but you are free to suggest, talk about in forums,etc - we will make it happen if we see it's in demand. That goes for any IC / sensor...
6.) We can't just copy Arduino. It is an Arduino IDE, we use MikroE IDE. Simple as that. Arduino supports a dozen
of MCUs on a singular architecture. We support several architectures and hundreds, maybe thousands of different MCUs.
7.) All our libraries are free. Yet people want examples, support... All of that comes for free. Compilers are one time payment - you get free updates even for major releases. Just take a look at other professional software: they charge for every major version, and they release them every few months, canceling all the support for the obsolete versions... We do try to lower prices, give discounts - but you know - development costs $$$
8.) Debug capabilities are on our "todo" list...
9.) Hm, linux... I can't talk about this... yet! On a serious note - for now we are going with Windows, like it or not - it's a mainstream operating system, and even if we are striving to port the IDE to linux, we might get into obstacles like for example - existence of some 3rd party software tools needed and so on... But I am an optimist on that question.
10.) Thank you very much on your honest letter and the time you took to write it down. I have tried to do the same for you and I am hoping that you are satisfied with my answers. No one wants to stay behind and use "keyboard" on their phones, we all know what happens if you are not following the trends.