I admit it: In the choice between emacs and vi, I choose “none of the above”. I want a C++ IDE. I’ve grown up with Borland Pascal, then used the Visual Studio IDE, and I’ve never used anything without a good integrated debugger.

Switching from Visual Studio to emacs + gdb is something I’m no longer able to do. So this weekend, I had a look at some of the IDE offerings that Linux had. It’s not a happy tale.

First there’s eclipse. Many people (Java people) swear by this, and as they point out repeatedly, it isn’t a Java IDE, it’s an IDE for anything you want. Sort of like Visual Studio is (if what you want is a MS language). I downloaded the CDT, and I like the way that’s all done from inside the IDE. But then… I tried to create a managed makefile from the Eressea sources, because if I’m going away from commandline make, I’d like to also go away from makefiles, thank you. very much. Not possible, though. It seems Eclipse has a weird conception of projects being everything that is in one folder, no more, no less. If I have the sources for my library and two executables all in the same folder, for example, I can’t make eclipse build a library and two executables. Instead it tries to mush all of it together. But really, that is academic, because I couldn’t even get it to do that – Eclipse + CDT crashed every 5 minutes. All I get is some java exception, no option to save my work, and then it’s gone and I’m back to square one.

Code::Blocks was my next candidate, because many people on the Ogre3D forums are raving about that. I installed it on Windows from the binaries, and while not pretty, it looked close enough to what I want. So.. debian packages? No dice. No packages for any distribution, actually. Build it from the sources, they say. But even that isn’t easy. It comes without a configure script, and requires me to install automake, but not the automake I had, no, that other version of automake please, and then it would bitch about something or other and completely refuse to do anything at all. No dice. I didn’t even get a configure script. Screw this.

There’s still kdevelop left to test. Like Obi Wan, it is my only hope to run linux on the desktop. Yes, my web browser and office suite run on linux, too, but without an IDE, I have to stick with Windows as my OS, because programming is what I do 90% of the time I’m at the computer.