I need a good linux IDE

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.

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5 thoughts on “I need a good linux IDE

  1. No, kdevelop absolutely didn’t fit the bill. It doesn’t seem to have the features I want, and setting up a simple project wasn’t simple enough for me.

    But the good news is that eclipse 3.2 is going to go away from the strict dependency on the filesystem for its’ project structure. If they can also fix the crashing, I feel that eclipse could be the IDE for me. When that’s going to happen, I have no idea.

  2. Well, I’m a bit surprised that you were so easily discouraged with the Code::Blocks IDE. I used to be very frustrated that the project didn’t build on Linux, but since the addition of the Autoconf/Automake cycle, I can build it almost flawlessly on both my SuSE versions.
    I admit, the project shows its windows heritage a bit by not having the packages available for distributions, but I read yesterday that the packages are on the roadmap for the 1.0 final release. That, however, can take until the end of the year, and I can understand you can’t just wait for something to be released.
    Another possibility would be Anjuta, the IDE for the GNOME desktop, but I’m not sure if it is a C IDE or a C++ IDE.

  3. I’m in no hurry to choose an IDE – at this point, I still have Developer Studio for nearly all my programming needs.
    But I got royally annoyed with emacs’ deficiencies at work today (for the umpteenth time), and the earlier I can get something that does the job, the better.

  4. I didn’t really like it, either. Though it’s been a while, and I can’t remember why specifically. It’s got more of a name as the poor man’s IDE for cygwin development, which isn’t what I want – I want intellisense, good debugging, all that jazz.

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