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What is the Ultimate Linux Development Environment? 643

Posted by Cliff
from the do-our-tools-need-improvement dept.
nachmore asks: "I've been programming on Linux for a while now, always content to use vi for my editing and any debugger tools out there (gdb for C/C++, and so forth). As part of my SoC project I was working on Thunderbird (my first huge project on Linux) and I found that , although shell-based tools can do the job, they lack in easy project management, ease of debugging and other development features. I've only ever programmed with a GUI on Windows — and I have to admit that I find Dev Studio to be one of the few programs that Microsoft seems to have gotten (nearly) right. I've played around with Eclipse but find it's C/C++ support still lacking. So what GUIs would you recommend for Linux? I would like something with debugging (single step, step through, step-to-end, etc) support, CVS access and of course, support for large projects (e.g. Mozilla) and especially good support for C/C++. Is there anything really good out there, or is vi the way to go?"
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What is the Ultimate Linux Development Environment?

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  • by Max_Abernethy (750192) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:57PM (#16011979) Homepage
    ...which religion is best.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bunions (970377)
      Zoroastrianism, duh.
    • Origin. Hallowed are the Ori.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by The Snowman (116231) *
      ...which religion is best.

      Scientology.

      Oh wait, you said religion, not cult.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AuMatar (183847)
        What is the difference between a religion and a cult? Other than 1000 or so followers?
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, 2006 @12:03AM (#16013163)
          What is the difference between a religion and a cult?

          Tom Cruise.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Peet42 (904274)
            What is the difference between a religion and a cult?

            Tom Cruise.


            Yes. he is an annoying little cult.
        • by VE3MTM (635378) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @12:07AM (#16013180)
          Having thought about this myself, whether Scientology should be considered a cult or a religion, and indeed whether "cult" is just a matter of perspective, I think I have an answer.

          The difference between a religion and a cult is in the beliefs of its leaders. In a religion such as Catholicism, as you go up in the ranks from the lowly follower all the way up to the Pope, the devotion of its members increases. In a cult, it decreases, because its leadership sees the teachings for what they are: a means of control. Furthermore, whether you believe the teachings of a given religion yourself or not, its leadership believes they are acting in the spiritual interests of its followers. They believe they are bettering their members.

          However, in both cases the rewards for being a member increases, and for a cult, this works like a pyramid scheme, siphoning wealth into the upper ranks. So yes, there is a fundamental difference between a "religion" and a "cult", other than the number of followers. Scientology is a prime example today: it was a cult when Hubbard was sailing the Mediterranean under the Sea Org flag, and it's still a cult today.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:34AM (#16013910)
            The difference between a religion and a cult is in the beliefs of its leaders. In a religion such as Catholicism, as you go up in the ranks from the lowly follower all the way up to the Pope, the devotion of its members increases. In a cult, it decreases, because its leadership sees the teachings for what they are: a means of control. Furthermore, whether you believe the teachings of a given religion yourself or not, its leadership believes they are acting in the spiritual interests of its followers. They believe they are bettering their members.


            Thankfully, popes and antipopes all had the best interest of their followers at heart.
            I guess Heaven's Gate was a religion since Marshall Applewhite believed strongly enough in it to save his followers' souls and his own soul by committing suicide so they could get on that UFO. After all what is earthly flesh compared to the eternal soul.

            The difference, a religion been around long enough that people forgot it was a cult.

            I'm sure when Christianity started that people said it was a cult. After all, a lot of people didn't immediately recognize Jesus as the Son of God.

            I'm AC because it's bad enough talking religion with friends let alone complete strangers.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by phulegart (997083)
          What's the difference?

          Religious nuts use Windows. They follow the masses without understanding, but still need an interface.

          Cultist nuts use Linux. They need to be outside the mainstream, but still need an interface.

          Agnostics either read a book, or dev their own OS. They don't need an interface, but enjoy keeping in contact with the first two groups.

          Athiests don't believe interfaces exist.
  • vim (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThisNukes4u (752508) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ippoct]> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:58PM (#16011987) Homepage
    vim 7 + cscope == awesome
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by doti (966971)
      Let me be the first to second it.
      Vim is simply awesome, it's a daily rejoyce to work with it.

      Every minute spent learning it's multitude of features will save you a hundred minutes with gained produtivity. And it never stops, you allways learn a bit more everyday. There's nothing it can't do, you just haven't learned it yet. If you're lazy to study it's excelent documentation, just ask at vim@vim.org or #vim.

      It's in the top five best software ever, along with:
      - Linux, for saving my soul from Windows;
      - LaTeX,
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jackjeff (955699)
      Ah yeah... remplace a complete IDE that generates Makefile automatically (among other things) by a texteditor. It's like using ultra-edit and the DOS console to code...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by deadlinegrunt (520160)
        Truth be told if you are actually any good at coding you will write your own wizards and generators, regardless if you use an a full fledged IDE or a fail-to-get-with-the-times-because-the-IDE-people- said-so text editor.

        Scary to think how much production code gets action with wizard generated code and developers have no idea what that code is actually doing other than maybe a cursory overview, if that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by peterpi (585134)
      cscope, what's that?

      (1 google later...)

      Oh great! :) That's what I'll be learning this afternoon! That's something I love about vim. Just when you get comfortable with it, you can find one more feature to save your time. I like it more and more every day.

      (current project: 97k lines of code. Not huge, but fairly sizeable)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by thelenm (213782)
        That's something I love about vim. Just when you get comfortable with it, you can find one more feature to save your time. I like it more and more every day.

        Speaking of which, my signature contains a tip I learned a while back, and I've been shocked to discover most Vim users don't know it. (I used Vim for years without knowing it either.) Just in case I change the signature sometime, here it is:

        Don't reach for the ESC key in Vim. Use Ctrl-C instead.
  • Unix is an IDE (Score:2, Interesting)

    by keesh (202812)
    Unix *is* an IDE. You just need an efficient editor component, and once you learn how to use it, gvim 7 (code completion, baby!) is ideal.

    The problem, of course, is that the learning part takes several years.
  • Its called emacs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bughouse26 (975570) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:03PM (#16012020)
    emacs has all of these features that you are asking for: front-end for gdb enabling highlighting in source code for debugging, integrated support for source control including CVS, and incredibly good support for C/C++ syntax highlighting/editing. If you are coming from vi, you can even change the default keybindings to vi-style bindings.
    • by kfg (145172) * on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:11PM (#16012059)
      emacs has all of these features that you are asking for:

      But hang on to vi, because you'll still need a decent text editor.

      KFG
      • Forget the binary, all you need is the vi sources in elisp!
      • by r00t (33219)
        If you're so die-hard that the built-in vi isn't real enough for you, why not?

        Emacs can open a window for shell commands or to do a compile. Running vi is certainly something you could do. You could even bind it to a key.
    • Its called vim (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pestilence669 (823950) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:20AM (#16013866)
      Conversely, vim also has all of these features and more. If you're coming from emacs, you can set vim to use emacs-style keyboard bindings, if you wish. Some emacs-style completion is supported by default.

      My colleagues and I had an all out war (emacs vs. vim). In the end, we discovered that they are both just as feature complete and able to emulate each other quite well. Emacs could be a tad more efficient, as it requires more RAM, disk space, and CPU time than vim. It's a non-issue if you have enough resources. For us, it was an issue (flash drive).

      In any case, if you are willing to invest the time to master either emacs or vim, I think you'd be best served. Graphical IDE's are often easier on the eyes, but I've yet to find one as customizable. All the features you'd ever need can be had in either of these two editors and they really are superb at what they do.
    • I was a one-time (pre-vim) vi power user, and switched to emacs for serious editing. The most important thing that emacs is good at, that vi(m) is kind of ok at, and everything on Windows is useless at, is ease of basic text editing. If you want to move the cursor around on Windows you have to take your hands off the home keys and use the arrows. Those who are used to Windows, or can't touch-type, will think this is unimportant. Others know better. Once you're comfortable in either emacs or vi, moving
  • KDevelop (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shimdaddy (898354) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:06PM (#16012030) Homepage
    I've always been a big fan of KDevelop, as to me (granted, a total newb) it seems pretty similar to large IDE's (eg Visual Studio), and it definitely does everything I need.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Carnildo (712617)
      Has it improved over the past few years? The last time I tried it, it was the worst IDE I'd ever used, missing certain useful features like the ability to group source files, and the documentation was so bad I actually knew more about using it before I read the fucking manual.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kcbanner (929309)

        Yeah, the other day I went to try out KDevelop. Worst IDE I have ever tried...ever.

        I was trying to create a project, I chose my folder I wanted it in. KDevelop then proceded to tell me that the folder didn't exist (I'ts supposed to create it from what I gathered). I tried createing the folder before I started the project wizard. No luck, it whined about the folder existing. I then decided to RTFM before I asked about it. Unfortunetely the manual consists of a few descriptions of what menu options do, and

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by beef3k (551086)
        It's definitely improved. Good "IntelliSense" like funtionality in the editor, expand/collapse scopes in code, gdb and Valgrind properly integrated, nice class browser, nice build manager... all in all there's not much I don't like about KDevelop these days. I don't think I've ever had much need for the manual so I couldn't comment on that. What do you mean exactly by "grouping" source files?
  • SlickEdit (Score:5, Informative)

    by naturaverl (628952) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:08PM (#16012040)
    I use Visual SlickEdit 10 for Linux. http://www.slickedit.com/ [slickedit.com] This piece of software is the most configurable IDE I've ever used; it's a tad on the expensive side, but everything just works and it was worth it for me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I wouldn't say it's the most configurable editor (I think emacs and vim win that category), but it's definitely got some nice features. Built in tag support being pretty high on the list. It's fast and works great. You don't have to rebuild the tags database, since it updates it as you type and periodically in the background. Version 11 added much better font support under Linux (it'll use anti-aliasing). The only drawback is that if you work on a bunch of different projects that each require different
    • Re:SlickEdit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gfxguy (98788) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:35PM (#16012733)
      It might be really slick, but at almost $300.00 for a single user linux license, it's not just a tad on the expensive side.

      I suppose I could get work to pay, but that doesn't help me at home (no, I don't illegally copy software).
  • I've only ever programmed with a GUI on Windows -- and I have to admit that I find Dev Studio to be one of the few programs that Microsoft seems to have gotten (nearly) right.

    I wonder. Which Dev tool gets it right?
    • by grcumb (781340)
      I've only ever programmed with a GUI on Windows -- and I have to admit that I find Dev Studio to be one of the few programs that Microsoft seems to have gotten (nearly) right.
      I wonder. Which Dev tool gets it right?

      Man, you must be new here.

      emacs, of course. 8^)

  • If you must... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Otter (3800) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:09PM (#16012047) Journal
    I've only ever programmed with a GUI on Windows -- and I have to admit that I find Dev Studio to be one of the few programs that Microsoft seems to have gotten (nearly) right.

    Absolutely -- that and Excel.

    Anyway, as with a lot of things in Linux, you might want to take your preferred toolkit into account. (Since you seem to be asking about a RAD...) I personally love KDevelop, which is integrated with Qt Designer. If you want to use GNOME as a platform, there are tools that I haven't looked in on in a while but should be easy to find. Although back when the weekly KDE developer interviews asked about preferred tools, they mostly used Emacs, so take that for what it's worth.

    (PS: to fend off flames -- I know you can write GNOME code in KDevelop and vice versa, but when last I tried, the cross-toolkit RAD wasn't there.)

    • Re:If you must... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Coryoth (254751) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:56PM (#16012290) Homepage Journal
      I personally love KDevelop, which is integrated with Qt Designer. If you want to use GNOME as a platform, there are tools that I haven't looked in on in a while but should be easy to find.

      I believe the GNOME equivalent is Anjuta [sourceforge.net], which has a lot of the features the OP was asking for. I haven't really used it myself so I can't really say. As you note for KDE developers, my understanding that a lot of GNOME devs just use Emacs. Still, if you want something with a nice GUI then Anjuta looks [sourceforge.net] decent [sourceforge.net] (choice of GTK theme used for screenshots not withstanding).
    • Re:If you must... (Score:5, Informative)

      by MORB (793798) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @04:55AM (#16014145)
      Absolutely -- that and Excel.

      I strongly disagree. I've been using every version of visual studio professionaly since version 6 (and I used v5 at school), and it's been a complete pain in the ass through the years. It used to do things that others IDE didn't do, so at some point most of its crappiness was tolerable.
      But nowadays, this thing is unacceptable.

      Vs2003 was almost ok and seemed to have the potential to turn into something acceptable.
      Plenty of things were wrong or even a complete pain in the ass already: the project settings dialog, the configuration system, the inflexible build system which mysteriously failed to rebuild things on a regular basis, the mysterious and annoying separation of file system hierarchy and project hierarchy, the irritating and random hanging for dozen of secodns at time of the whole thing for no apparent reason, the tiny, cramped and not resizable dialogs...

      Then vs2005 came along.
      This thing is a monstrosity. It didn't fix anything that I had a problem with in vs2003. Instead, it became more slow, badly architectured and is a total shrine of mediocrity.
      It spam refresh the project list tree for dozens of seconds at a time for no reason. Close multiple tabs and watch as it pointlessly waste its time (and yours) refreshing the display after closing each tab.
      The project configuration dialog is a complete joke which tend to overwrite the wrong project settings for no reason.
      Watch it randomly remove projects from the solution from times to time.
      Create a file, add it to the project, and it chokes and crash.

      Try to rebuild the project or just even run it, wait for 30 seconds for that clusterfuck of an ide to figure out that nothing should be built. Not that it ever gets it right if a lot of stuff were updated in your last version control update, anyway.

      Scalability is horrendous.

      And of course, they still haven't figured out how how to make resizable dialogs. The did figure out how to add gradients in the toolbars, though. Thanks for this awesome usability improvement guys.

      Oh, I almost forgot that they decided arbitrarily to not provide you with redistributable debug version of the runtime libraries. Since I'm working on an internal production application with an hopelessly convoluted setup procedure, I really enjoy not being able to run a debug version on a user's machine to help me troubleshoot some issues. Development tools are supposed to make the developer's life easier, not to create gratuitous inconveniences.

      I use thing thing 8 hours per day. I hate it with a passion.
      And it's not like it's cheap either.
      • Regarding Visual Studio and Microsoft programming in general. I use Visual Studio when writing code for Windows, but I dislike it for one of it's major strengths. I have heard it said that very few people really understand WIndows, and that most Windows programming is an exercise in cutting and pasting bits of code from a book, or the web, or whatever. There are several things I hate about Visual Studio. The first is the project wizards. They ask you a bunch of questions about the program you want to write
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dcam (615646)
        Hey thanks for the heads up. We were considering moving to VS.Net 2005. More to the point, we were considering .net 2.0. I've heard a few horror stories though.

        The key driver for us has been the introduction of generics. Aside, what is with that? Why didn't they just call them templates and add into in 1.0/1.1?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:11PM (#16012056)
    Regarding debuggers, everyone should read what Linus himself wrote on the subject [linuxmafia.com]. He was talking specifically about the kernel debugger; but his words and comments apply to debuggers in general.


    The best environment in Linux - as with on any platform - is a text editor and a solid mind that thinks the problems through before typing. IDEs inhibit that thought process.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      "The best environment in Linux - as with on any platform - is a text editor and a solid mind that thinks the problems through before typing. IDEs inhibit that thought process."

      Apparently posting to slashdot has a similiar effect.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gangien (151940)
      The best environment in Linux - as with on any platform - is a text editor and a solid mind that thinks the problems through before typing. IDEs inhibit that thought process.

      Inhibit? umm.. no.

      All an IDE is supposed to do (and all of the ones I've personally seen, do this) is make development easier. Why should you have to lookup the signature on a function/method, when an IDE can list them? Why should you have to change windows, start the process, start the debugger whatever else, when an IDE can do that?
  • Eclipse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by L7_ (645377) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:16PM (#16012086)
    I've played around with Eclipse but find it's C/C++ support still lacking.


    Care to enlighten us on what was lacking with Eclipse and CDT?

    My only real complaint is the large times it takes to recompile large projects. Slow indexing/parsing times for large amounts (1000+) of files are a given however for any type of tool that is going to cross reference new projects. However, if I have control of the project extraction of projects into logical subcomponents rather than editing huge single projects with Eclipse/CDT will give you a very nice time speed up.

    A personal fave is that the debugger integration in eclipse is second to none.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bunions (970377)
      last I checked, on OSX (and maybe linux too, I dunno) there was big problems with projects that didn't use makefiles - they wouldn't link for a reason which escapes me.
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      Code navigation. You basically need to be able to right click on a function name and say "go to the declaration of this function". Similarly, it's good if you can hover your mouse over a variable and see where it is declared. Intellisense frees up some more of the limited memory slots in the human brain. Finally, there's the hot-key-for-grep that every IDE should have.. the faster I can search all files in my project for a keyword the better.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Red Alastor (742410)
        Code navigation. You basically need to be able to right click on a function name and say "go to the declaration of this function". Similarly, it's good if you can hover your mouse over a variable and see where it is declared.
        Already in Eclipse. But it's ctrl-click. ctrl and hover also gives you info.
        • Re:Eclipse (Score:4, Informative)

          by Darkforge (28199) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:36AM (#16013749) Homepage
          As my anonymous peer just remarked, it's "in there" as a feature, supposedly, but it doesn't work (most of the time) in the CDT. This is something the CDT guys fully acknowledge and hope to resolve in future releases of the CDT. (Remember, Eclipse's magic tricks are much easier in Java than in C, thanks to bytecode introspection.)
    • Re:Eclipse (Score:5, Informative)

      by Darkforge (28199) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:02AM (#16013807) Homepage
      Wish I'd looked at the Eclipse documentation more closely before posting... there's some fun gotchas buried in the EclipseCon 2006 CDT PowerPoint Presentation [eclipse.org] available on the Wiki. Here's some delightful reminders of what's wrong with the CDT:

      "Turn off Build Automatically" -- In Eclipse/Java, you'd never need to tell someone to do this, even in the largest of projects, because the build runs quickly and incrementally (using the built-in Eclipse Java compiler). But in CDT, the only way to build is to run your entire toolchain using a Makefile. (So instead of fixing this, they provide features to auto-generate the Makefile!)

      "The CDT full indexer is very expensive on large C++ projects (Recommendation: Don't use it on such projects)" Gee, thanks! That's the thing that makes Eclipse (in Java) so Eclipse-y, you know? So make sure you turn that off on large projects.

      Oh, and there's my personal favorite FAQ: Can I debug Java and C++ at the same time? [eclipse.org] Answer? "If you can get this to work, please let the cdt-dev mailing list know!"

      The Eclipse CDT is a joke. Even Visual Studio can handle reference searches on large projects.
      • Re:Eclipse (Score:4, Informative)

        by Octorian (14086) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @08:17AM (#16014757) Homepage
        > The Eclipse CDT is a joke

        Unfortunately, I have to agree. I use Eclipse on some C++ projects, simply because I like the GUI, project file tree (Emacs gets very annoying across larger source trees), and CVS integration. However, I've had to turn off most of CDT's features because they are just too damn painful. Every time I try to do something that would trigger an auto-complete drop-down, the system strains and stalls for a while before it maybe gives me an accurate list of choices. I also had to stop building from within Eclipse, since my project used makefiles that generated absurly long command lines (lots of stuff to include/link). These got trunkated in Eclipse and bombed out, but worked just fine in a shell window.

        Of course in Java-land, Eclipse is wonderful. It may feel a bit less polished than NetBeans, but IMHO beats it on some useful features (like while-you-code error checking across files).
    • Re:Eclipse (Score:5, Informative)

      by xtracto (837672) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @04:54AM (#16014142) Journal
      MMmm I dont know why I did not see anyone mention Code Blocks [codeblocks.org]. I have been following the development and it is quite good. It is cross platform and open source.

      Although they have been in 1.0rc2 for quite some time, they make nightly bulds which are very good.

  • somewhere on a nice beach on the west coast of Mexico and tall (or short) black haired, big round eyed girls bring you a constant supply of Negra Modelo and guacamole with habanero chilis...and of course using a Mac. Some Oaxacan sinsemillan would be a nice touch.
  • Personally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NickFortune (613926) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:21PM (#16012121) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I don't like IDEs. They force you into another's way of programming, and encourage sloppy design by allowing the management of needless complexity. They make it easier for thoughtless programmers to maintain bad code, by postponing the day when the codebase collapses under its own weight.


    By preference I use zsh, vi and make.Screen or multiple terminal windows (aterm by preference). Depending on the task and the requirements, GCC/gdb/ctags or perl/CPAN or boo+nmake+nunit. Throw in find grep and all the usual suspects in support. Tools with a command line interface preferred over ones without, commands that read from stdin and write to stdout by default perferred over others. Special exemption made for browsers and drawing programs.

    If the structure of an application is too complex to manage under a unix command shell, that's a reflection on the design of the app in my book. I don't expect that's going to be a widely held viewpoint around here. Never mind, it works for me :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by springbox (853816)

      Personally, I don't like IDEs. They force you into another's way of programming, and encourage sloppy design by allowing the management of needless complexity. They make it easier for thoughtless programmers to maintain bad code, by postponing the day when the codebase collapses under its own weight.

      How exactly? I primarly use Visual C++ 6's IDE and have found, as with other development environments like IntelliJ, all they really seem to be good at is helping you to organize your projects files and automa

      • Re:Personally... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bit01 (644603) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:04PM (#16012613)

        In what way is it more "in place" to click on different tabs in a terminal window versus clicking on different sub-menus in an IDE?

        An IDE is typically just a collection of specialised, tiled windows with some menus and buttons up the top. The specialisaton of each window has a downside in that it wastes precious screen real estate when you don't happen to be using those specialised functions. Personally, I prefer to be able maximise my code window and keep all the other junk out of the way as I find that maximises my productivity.

        While a well designed IDE can help they are overrated as productivity boosters. Most of the productivity gains come not from the IDE per se but from the various tricks, noted by other posters, incorporated into it. Non-IDE programmers have their own bag of tricks e.g. Often writing small scripts to accomplish some repetitive function that might not be anticipated by an IDE designer, or taking advantage of a full OS of command line and GUI tools that an IDE can only dream about. Most IDE's have external tools functions but they are usually badly integrated.

        ---

        Don't be a programmer-bureaucrat; someone who substitutes marketing buzzwords and software bloat for verifiable improvements.

      • Re:Personally... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by John Courtland (585609) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:06PM (#16012626)
        I think the IDE is a symptom and not the disease. Programming is hard and programmers are expensive, so to make programming cheaper, it needs to be easier to program. IDE's lower the barrier for entry, thus providing a larger pool of programmers, thereby allowing less experienced/motivated/intelligent (and cheaper!) programmers access to development resources they normally wouldn't have been able to cope with otherwise. There's also a push for these IDE's to automatically do a lot of menial coding tasks (I believe that if you can click a button and have an IDE generate code, that the language is bad or the problem is designed wrong, but that's another discussion). So there's tons of machine generated code, plus inexperience, which pretty much is *the* recipie for the worst code ever. I can see where the hate is coming from.

        The one thing that autocompleting IDE's do that bugs the hell out of me is that they make it easier to slip into the i, ii, iii syndrome without *immediate* consequences. At work, we had one clown that wrote all this page handling shit I'm dealing with who would sprinkle his code with various iterations of what would be best defined by the regular expression: [a-z]+ (he also put lots of business code inside of JSPs, but that's yet another story). The IDE made it too easy for him do that because he could just summon the magical autocompletion and not have to think about the difference between i and iiii.

        That said, I think that hating on the IDE because people are retarded is wrong. I personally love the autocompletion because it saves me time by not even giving me a chance to typo. That, plus the automatic red underline for syntax errors (usually unimported resources) make writing code that much easier; instead of focusing on the syntax, I can focus on the algorithm.
      • found your problem (Score:5, Insightful)

        by r00t (33219) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @01:05AM (#16013449) Journal
        "The fact that I do not have these tools integrated in an environment similar to something like Visual C's means I have to do a lot of switching between terminal sessions."


        Rethink your desktop, abandoning the Windows-like defaults you were given. Do like the UNIX workstation users. Example:

        Put a thick (50 to 60 pixel) gnome task bar at the bottom. Eliminate the one at the top. Put a 5x2, 4x2, or 3x2 virtual desktop selector thing on the task bar. Set your window policy to the traditional UNIX-style focus-follows-mouse. Never ever minimize, maximize, or roll up a window; simply spread them across the virtual desktops. You should use the traditional xterm, white on black, with the default font. (80x70 characters is good) A sharp LCD (native resolution, digital connector) is strongly suggested, at a minimum resolution of 1600x1024. Choose a fast-starting editor: original vi, joe (like WordStar), microemacs, or even (ick) pico. Linus uses microemacs; the source is on the kernel.org site probably under the name uemacs. Never use the file manager or file selector if you can possibly avoid it.

        That's what the real hackers use, at least when the hardware is available. It's an upgrade from the "screen" program or the Linux console virtual terminals, without much change to the tried-and-true work habits.

        You don't have to go with that exactly, but it's clear that your current setup isn't working for you. An IDE is a workaround, not a proper fix. An IDE only helps with one very specific task. A proper fix will make you more efficient at many other tasks. You might even start to like the gimp (zillions of windows instead of tabs) or set your web browser to open windows instead of tabs.

        BTW, learn the extra tools. Valgrind usually whips gdb. You may also like ltrace, strace, nm, eu-readelf or readelf, oprofile, etc. Rarely will you find an IDE button to make these tools run. Learn the shell, really: you can do loops right on the command line, backtick substitution, etc.

  • by aCapitalist (552761) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:28PM (#16012151)
    Given a large codebase that you are unfamiliar with, it's hard to start understanding the code with just Vi. It sounds like your ideal environment would allow you to pull a Mozilla project file into something like Eclipse or VS or KDevelop and have everything parsed out into structures, functions, methods, classes... You're not going to find that with the way Mozilla is built (at least the last time I checked). I think KDevelop does have the ability to parse autoconf files and set up a project that way, so you might be able to pull in parts of Mozilla that way. I think Anjuta might have a similiar ability.

    I've since moved on from C/C++, but last time I checked the Eclipse CDT was getting a lot of work done on it. What is the problem with it these days?
    • by ickpoo (454860)
      What is wrong with just running the project through Doxygen and getting some documentation for the whole thing?

      Then just use you editor of choice (Emacs or VI). Hmmmm - there must be Emacs additions that integrate Doxygen.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zigurd (3528)
      You put your finger on it: Need to get around a big code base in a hurry? Suck it into Eclipse CDT and find things in a hurry. If you can build and debug it you can let breakpoint the main parts of the code and take a guided tour. Everyone can be productive once they are comfy in their own kustom krafted edit/build/debug environment. But if you don't need customization, you will get more contributors if you lower the barriers to entry.
  • by laughingcoyote (762272) <`moc.eticxe' `ta' `lwohtsehgrab'> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:34PM (#16012179) Journal

    Agnosticism. (ducks)

    Though, actually, that's not far from my recommendation. Learn a bunch of different stuff. Learn vi and emacs, they both have their place. Spend some more time with Eclipse, I'm curious as to what you found lacking there? If you still don't like it kick around some of the other Linux IDE's. Hell even if you do like it kick around some that look appealing. Try some different frontends for gdb/vim/emacs/etc./etc. Just like anything, different tools are appropriate to different projects, and if you don't get too stuck with one (as seems to be the sad state of affairs for many here) you won't find yourself in the frustrating situation of trying to put in a nail with a screwdriver or hammer in a screw.

  • mever leave home without it
  • emacs (Score:5, Informative)

    by theCoder (23772) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:37PM (#16012192) Homepage Journal
    Or xemacs if you prefer. I work on a large software system written in C++ and runs on various unixes (Solaris, Linux, SGI) and attempts to run on Windows (Windows usually doesn't agree with it). The system has thousands of source files and is built with make (the Makefiles are generated with imake!). Generally, I use xemacs to for editing. I love vi, but I tend to use (x)emacs because I find the buffer management (the ability to open multiple files) better than in vim. It's entirely possible I just don't know how to use vim right (vim's buffers seem to require that I save the file before switching to another buffer).

    Emacs also offers easy access to our source control system (by corporate mandate, we use ClearCase, which I do not recommend to anyone wishing to maintain their sanity).

    Finally, emacs allows me to open two (or more) windows in the same session. I generally put two windows next to each other so I can edit two files at once. This lets me open up files as I need them in either window, and then switch to that buffer in the other window if I need to get to it later.

    Even though I consider myself a vi person, I've found emacs to be a very good environment for editing source files. It is very customizable and powerful. It adapts to how you want to use it (other people use it in vastly different ways), and generally gets out of your way to let you get your work done.

    Just my opinion.
    • saving before switching buffers is an option, I can't remember which off the top of my head, but you should be able to find it in the manpage or on a vim IRC channel.
    • by illumin8 (148082)
      Even though I consider myself a vi person, I've found emacs to be a very good environment for editing source files.
      Congratulations! You just made a religious argument for both sides of the UNIX world's longest running argument! Long live Vimacs! Now bob, tell this man what Slashdot prize he's won....
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ksheff (2406)
      In addition to editing, emacs also has support for kicking off a compile and the user can then jump to each line of code that caused the compiler to spit out an error or warning. For debugging, it will start gdb and you can move around in the code to set breakpoints, step through code, etc. I've been using GNU emacs as my main development tool for 15 or 16 years. I've had to use other IDEs while taking training classes for C#, Java, Visual C++, etc., but I still prefer emacs.
  • Doesn't Linux have a command like 'copy con'?
    • by c_fel (927677)
      I use that :

      echo -e "First line\nSecond line\nThird line\netc.etc." > name.of.file

  • Visual Studio 2005 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by z_gringo (452163) <.z_gringo. .at. .hotmail.com.> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:54PM (#16012278)
    Visual Studio 2005 just rocks.. I only wish there was something remotely similar for Linux.

  • by andyross (48228) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:09PM (#16012352)

    Tool choices are clearly an issue of personal taste. And as my tastes clearly don't match yours, I won't be making any suggestions.

    But I will say that, without exception, all the best developers I've known in my career (yes, every single one of them) work with a text editor and a shell window. They use GUI and web tools where needed or useful, but their minute to minute activity is spent at the keyboard, writing, running and reading code.

    I submit that this is not a coincidence. The best developers write their own simple tools for small problems, and the proper environment for running simple tools is the command line. Great programmers work in varied environments and use diverse languages and configuration formats, where IDEs work well only within their target realm and are pretty much useless outside of it (e.g. no PHP mode in MSVC).

    The benefit you get from fancy tools is real, but it's ephemeral. It make the typing of code (and maybe the reading of code) easier. But it does this by simplifying and obscuring the underlying details. Want to add a file to the project? Add it to this dialog. Need to check something in? Click here. Never mind how it all works, and hope that you never get tasked with doing something complicated (like an automated check-out-build-and-package script over a secure remote link).

    By contrast, the understanding inherent in using your tools on the lowest level provides benefits all through the development process. These are the folks who won't think twice about writing a quick shell script to do the remote build.

    So, by all means try out the fancy tools you can. But don't skip the part where you learn how to use the underlying tools well. Use the GUI stuff as an aid for the tasks you do understand, not as a substitute for what you don't.

    • Tool choices are not just an issue of personal taste. There are tools which are better than others, and there are some tools that are worth a lot of money because of the productivity gains that experienced programmers can get out of them. This is particularly true of debuggers.

      Disclaimer: I work for a company that sells development tools, including tools for Linux.

      Some bugs can be fiendishly difficult to diagnose, particularly bugs that involve timing, resource usage, random events, and memory corruption. I
      • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @12:53AM (#16013402) Homepage
        When a tool provides me a better view of how my program works, it's worth using.

        No offense, but if you need a tool to tell you how your program works, you've got bigger problems. Even in multithreaded code, with sufficient diagnostic output, you should be able to solve any bug. In all my time as a developer, I have yet to come across a bug that can't be solved by developing a mental model of the code (usually with the help of extensive telemetry) and working through things logically.
    • by david.emery (127135) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:55AM (#16013791)
      But I will say that, without exception, all the best developers I've known in my career (yes, every single one of them) work with a text editor and a shell window.

      That's my experience too, actually. And it's also the way I worked back when I pounded code for a living, working with (actually working around) the big Rational APEX IDE, this on a project with well more than its fair share of studly coders.

      I also fully agree with those who have emphasized code reading/understanding as the critical activity in software development. Things like ctags were a really important development. At the same time, I've emphasized the readability of the running text itself. I've heard some advocate that "the IDE will locate cross-references, etc for you" implying that all developers will have equal access to the IDE -and- the IDE will be fail-proof in finding cross references/relevant related information through its own code understanding. Rather, I think that the one-and-only thing you're guaranteed to get in a maintenance situation is the source code, so source code must stand alone in its ability to be understood.

      dave

  • I like Eclipse. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by toby (759) * on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:37PM (#16012485) Homepage Journal

    For most things - assembler, shell, Perl, C, C++, SQL... Slick Subversion integration [tigris.org] is a plus.

    Sun Studio [sun.com] for Linux might be worth trying out.

  • by iovar (998724) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:48PM (#16012543) Homepage
    Seriously, KDE is very friendly to developers. You don't need Kdevelop.
    Just a bunch of Kate and konsole sessions, spread over many desktops.
    And kompose to have immediate access on any of them.
    Also, the ability to launch immediately a konsole on any directory(F4 now ctrl-t on older versions)
    is invaluable. And other than that vim for quick editing of project files(Makefiles, configure
    scripts, etc...)
    And yakuake can come in handy, since it is an unobstrusive and easy way to run commands.
    Other than that,a healthy mix of traditional unix tools(cat, grep and sed is what I use mostly)
    and a couple of python scripts to automate some tasks and even create on the fly graphical
    components with Tk, to ease the management of your project.

  • Emacs/Slime (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Whip-hero (308110) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:24PM (#16012681) Homepage
    I know this meets none of your criteria, and so completely fails to answer your question, but the best development environment I've ever found is Slime (Superior Lisp Interaction Mode for Emacs). It can work with several different Common Lisp implementations running on Linux, Unix, Mac, and Windows, and since Emacs is cross-platform, it can run on any platform where Emacs is supported. It provides a REPL, object inspector, debugger, single stepping, multi-thread support, stdout re-direction to the REPL buffer, syntax highlighting, auto-indent, expression evaluation from source files, error re-starts, and function cross-referencing, for those Lisps that support them. It offers capabilities reminiscent of the Fabled Lisp Machines of Old.

    Slime uses a component running in the Lisp process, and elisp code running in Emacs that communicates with the Lisp through a local INET socket. That means you can run the Lisp process on machine 1, set up an ssh tunnel to it from machine 2, potentially running a different OS, and connect to 1 from an Emacs on 2. I actually do this every day, connecting to a remote SBCL on Linux from both Linux and Windows. The interaction is fast enough that I routinely develop on the remote Lisp image over a WAN link.

    The system works with any libraries available for your Lisp implementation, including database, web, and GUI toolkits, although it would be tricky do to GUIs over remote, and Open GL would probably have to be local.

    Of course, there are some caveats... Developing in a Lisp is like working in another OS running on top of the host OS (especially with multiple threads). Also, Emacs doesn't have a drag-and-drop GUI builder, although one could be built in Common Lisp. And, you would have to develop a taste for parentheses. :)
  • by TLouden (677335) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:38PM (#16012750)
    When it comes to FOSS there is no Ultimate, Best, Top, Only, or other perfect solution.
    There are MANY excellent solutions which provide different pros and cons, to be considered by the potential user.

    You must be recently freed of Windows where you are simply told what you want, here in the world of FOSS you have choices.
    Reminds me of a lady who came to the US from Russia some twentyish years ago, when she saw a grocery store with CHOICES she flipped, couldn't handle the concept.
  • by Eideewt (603267) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:52PM (#16012828)
    Interesting... when I first looked at the comments there were a few for vi and none for Emacs. Now there are many more Emacs votes.

    So I guess we've finally found out which editor is faster.

    *Disclaimer: I like Emacs, really. It's taking up 40% of my screen right now.
  • by treak007 (985345) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @11:21PM (#16012980)
    Surprisngly, Netbeans has a really good C++ plugin. After many hassles and much searching for a good IDE, I have found that KDeveop is ok. Eclipse is decent at best. Anjuta tries to generate too much code. Currently, Netbeans works the best for me. It doesn't try to generate code, it has some intellisense features (if you liked that in M$ VS), and you can use a free collaboration account on sun's collaboration server, which can be very useful.

    Emacs or Vi is really nice for development, but neither of them are an IDE.
  • Code::Blocks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tychon (771855) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @04:49AM (#16014129)
    Since I haven't seen it mentioned yet (of course I'm lazy and haven't read everything), figured I might as well throw out Code::Blocks [codeblocks.org]. It's a lightweight GUI that offers a plugin system, enabling you to add any features you should want beyond the defaults. As copied from the site:
    • Syntax highlighting, customizable and extensible
    • Code folding for C++ and XML files.
    • Tabbed interface
    • Code completion plugin
    • Class Browser
    • Smart indent
    • One-key swap between .h and .c/.cpp files
    • Open files list for quick switching between files (optional)
    • External customizable "Tools"
    • To-do list management with different users
  • Use the Best (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StarkII (29864) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @08:50AM (#16014961)
    I have been developing professionally for over ten years in Unix and Windows. The best solution I have found is to do all of my development in Dev Studio and then cross compile for Linux. If you are not doing OS specific development it isn't very hard to do. After a while you learn all of the irritating little differences between Windows and Linux and start developing in a platform independent way naturally.

    Writing code in Linux is just as easy as writing code for Windows, but when it comes to debugging, there is just no comparison...Dev Studio smokes anything Linux has to offer by such a wide margin as to be embarrassing. It still astounds me that the Linux community has not come up with anything that can compare. I put this down to the whole OSS attitude of "Real Developers use VI/EMACS." Creating a top-notch development environment is extremely hard, and there are no good alternatives for Linux.

    That all being said, if you are doing Java development, Eclipse is easily a match for Dev Studio.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:23AM (#16015627) Homepage Journal
    Is a programmer who understands the code base and system he's working in. Editor doesn't matter. Make system doesn't matter. IDE doesn't matter. If you understand the code base you know which files do what. If you understand the code base you can import objects from other parts of the diretory tree from memory. If you understand the code base you remember at least the most common parts of each object's interface and often the more esoteric ones if you wrote them. A good programmer will quickly optimize whatever tools he has available for the job at hand.

    I personally find that IDEs make it far too easy to navigate around the code base, preventing me from ever really learning how things fit together. If you can memorize how things fit together from within an IDE, more power to you. I also feel that it's important to be able to perform various tasks without an IDE because eventually you will find yourself in a situation where you are not able to use the IDE (Going to the desk of a co-worker who doesn't have the IDE, working on a customer's site with whatever software they decided to provide you. etc) and if you don't know how to do things outside the IDE then you're pretty much lost. If you use the IDE as a crutch to avoid learning the tools that are available on the system, perhaps a career in marketing and sales would be more your speed.

  • by greglaw99 (879693) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @12:20PM (#16016572)
    Have you seen UndoDB [undo-software.com]? It's a debugger, able to step Linux programs /backwards/ as well as forwards. Microsoft might have lots of eye-candy with Developer Studio, but with this tool Linux developers have a tool that lets then debug in a whole new way (and let's face it: most of us spend most of our time debugging, one way or another). It uses gdb as a front-end, and adds backwards versions of commands like next, step, finish. It's also able to rewind the program to an aribtrary point in its history. Disclaimer: I am one of the tool's authors.

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