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What Tools Do FLOSS Developers Need?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the does-soda-count-as-a-tool dept.

Programming 310

An anonymous reader writes "I am a free software developer; I maintain one relatively simple project written in C, targeted at end users, but I feel that I could contribute something more to the FLOSS community than my project. Instead of focusing on another project targeted at end users, I thought that I could spend my time working on something FLOSS developers need ('Developers, developers, developers, developers!'). The question is: what more do FLOSS developers need from existing development tools? What would attract new developers to existing FLOSS development tools? Which existing development tools need more attention? I can contribute code in C, Python and bash, but I can also write documentation, do testing and translate to my native language. Any hints?"

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Visual Studio replacement on Linux (4, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834906)

Visual Studio is the favorite IDE for lots of programmers and without a doubt still the one thats considered best there is.

However I've started doing some Linux programming along with other languages that could be developed on Linux (PHP, Delphi/Kylix). However the IDE's I've tested dont seem to compare with Visual Studio or even Delphi's IDE. In most cases they're mostly somewhat advanced text editors and building and debugging is more inconvenient. They just dont feel like complete IDE's where you can do your work. Is there such professional suites available on Linux and if not, what could be done to improve the existing IDE's and tools to that level?

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (3, Informative)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834946)

Eclipse doesn't work for you?

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

oracle_of_power (750351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835046)

Eclipse and Netbeans are extremely good IDE's. I use Eclipse for PHP and BlackBerry Development and use Netbeans for some java development, however they still do not compare to Visual Studio.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835422)

I use VS for C# since 5 years and about the same time with PHP and Eclipse and I like far more Visual Studio. You should try both for few weeks and you will be surprise how Visual Studio is a strong IDE for development.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

phyr (586855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834968)

Definitely not the best there is. Try the community edition of IntelliJ IDEA and you'll see what really helpful tools can do for you. Code with pleasure.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835102)

Yes worked with both, unfortunately it still does not hold up to visual studio. I sense you have never used visual studio.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (2, Interesting)

swanriversean (928620) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834970)

Eclipse is a fairly good ide, it could use help with C/C++ development tooling.
gdb could stand some love, especially so that it can better be hidden behind a UI.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (2, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835048)

Between Redhat's Insight tool and DDD, it's already well hidden behind UIs. Sure they aren't shiny and glossy with anti-aliased type, but they do the exact same job that the VS debugger does with allowing you to step through the code.

In fact, there's nothing special I've seen in Visual Studio's debugging that couldn't be done with DDD.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (3, Interesting)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835456)

There's nothing special I've seen in Visual Studio's debugging that couldn't be done with DDD
This must be some new meaning for the word "done" that I have previously been unfamiliar with.
Can you edit and continue when working with C++ or C#?
Making changes on the fly is one of the premium features of Visual Studio and I have never seen it in any other IDE. True I haven't used all of them yet but I've been thru netbeans, eclipse and a few others. The integration of the IDE with the debugger is far more important than the utility of the debugger. I have seen this with python, lua and several interpreted basics but not with C++ or C#.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (3, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835602)

Can you edit and continue when working with C++ or C#?

While it is an interesting feature, changing code at runtime always seemed suspect to me. I don't know if it's possible at all in Linux, and I know it's not possible in Windows if you're targeting a 64-bit platform.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

epiphani (254981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835488)

gdb could stand some love, especially so that it can better be hidden behind a UI.

THIS.

Except for the second part of that.

I want debugging tools. My personal favorite would be a heap explorer - something that maps a core dump to pointers, so I can map out the entire content of memory in my core dump visually and walk through it sanely. For example - I could look through a core dump and say hey, the buffer overrun that appears to have caused this belongs to this piece of memory - which follows this peice of memory over here which makes me think that my block allocator chewed up stuff it shouldn't have...

Also - BETTER THREAD SUPPORT IN GDB. Debugging a threaded application is pure and absolute hell in gdb.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

jgrahn (181062) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836152)

Also - BETTER THREAD SUPPORT IN GDB. Debugging a threaded application is pure and absolute hell in gdb.

s/ in gdb//

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835670)

Haven't mucked with GDB for a long time. Are you still SOA when it comes to threading? Maybe GDB can use some work on that?

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (4, Insightful)

SSpade (549608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835018)

I'll take Qt Creator [nokia.com] over Visual Studio for C++ development any day.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (2, Informative)

teeks99 (849132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835214)

I tried this out for the first time a couple weeks ago (after several years of Visual Studio usage) and was very hopeful...however I left feeling that it wasn't quite finished all the way. I got the impression that it was just a bunch of tools glued together with a rapid-development type GUI framework.

That said, I was quite pleased with it overall. I definitely will strongly consider using it next time I start a project. For my two cents, I think this is a great example of what the author is looking for, a tool that will help FLOSS developers that could use a bit more help :-)

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (2, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835074)

Try an Interface / Project Builder replacement instead:

http://www.gnustep.org/ [gnustep.org]

InterfaceBuilder.app clone:

http://www.gnustep.org/experience/Gorm.html [gnustep.org]

ProjectBuilder.app clone:

http://www.gnustep.org/experience/ProjectCenter.html [gnustep.org]

NeXT used to charge $4,995 / developer seat for such tools --- now one can get them for free (even w/ a Mac, one can get a free on-line membership in the Developer's Connection and download the latest version)

William

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835126)

Speaking of which, are there any of the original videos floating around demonstrating building an app using InterfaceBuilder? I seem to recall one where Jobs developed a contact management app from scratch using point and click... but it may not have been Jobs.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

Rysc (136391) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835662)

It was Jobs and (IIRC) he was doing a NeXT 4.0 promotional video.

Something more recent which uses the actual GNUStep IB would be nice.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

Stratoukos (1446161) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835814)

Here [youtube.com] it is. He is demoing NeXTSTEP release 3. The part where he builds the app starts at 23:09.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835204)

I have to second this. I absolutley abhor the IDE's on Linux. They are either way to feature rich (read bloated) like Eclipse, too annoying to configure, like Anjuta. The only decent one is Geany....minimally. I'd love to see a decent IDE like DevC++ on linux. I like the CLI as much as the next one, but when i'm coding a major project its hard enough doing that, i don't have time to be worrying about make, running gdb again etc... i just want it to work. I was actually thinking of even a little plugin to gedit that calls GCC and GDB on the back end. Again, i have to stress DevC++ was amazing. too bad its not on nix nor is it being maintained.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (4, Insightful)

cjcela (1539859) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835292)

I agree. Visual Studio is by far the best out there, and it is painful not to have something comparable available in other platforms (I currently use OSX/Linux). I've been steadily moving away from proprietary tools and frameworks for the last 3 or 4 years, and it is a painful process. Eclipse is mostly good (excellent for Java), but when developing in C++, its debugger is not great. Same goes for Netbeans. They are 90% there, but the remaining 10% is so frustrating that makes large projects a pain. I am considered moving to Codelite instead, which feels to me a bit more like Visual Studio 6, and has much better debugger support for C++. On the down side, Codelite tends to be quirky on OSX.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835438)

While I may compile my code with Microsoft Visual C++, I do all the editing with Bram Molenaar's Vim (on Cygwin) and compile by typing 'nmake' at the bash prompt.. I tried Eclipse for Java on Linux, but there the GUI also takes a long time learn just the basics and then still only slows your work down. Kdevelop was even worse. I had more success with Turbo C and Pascal on DOS.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835538)

At least if you're doing C++/Qt, then nothing beats Qt Creator... I had hope for KDevelop 4 for a while, but it seems to take forever and meanwhile Qt Creator has fixed most of the things I missed. I haven't done any really big scale development but at least for cranking out smaller tools it's fast and easy with graphic drag & drop ui designer, autocompletion and such that I expect and Qt is near a complete platform with IO, network, databases, xml, whatever. I generally don't have any other deps except the C++ standard, and not much of those either. I pretty much suck at debugging though so can't tell you much about that, I try to put in as many error and sanity checks as I can and qDebug() (the fancier versions of printf() ) my way out of trouble.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835732)

I'd agree with this statement. I think the closest thing I've found to a slick IDE in Linux is QT Creator, which has their fantastic designer, a great editor, etc. all in one package. Obviously this is only good for certain things. NetBeans is also quite good, and considerably more flexible. At a distant third is eclipse, which is most flexible of all, but terribly clunky.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (2, Informative)

HeadSoft (147914) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835840)

Code::Blocks is a good one for Linux, it's not quite Visual Studio but it has most of the same features, the ones you actually use on a regular basis. I haven't tried the Windows version, but I know one exists as well.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835940)

I hear this about VS a lot. As someone who has never used it, let me ask, what is it, specifically, about VS that's so great?

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (0, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836036)

It's irrelevant to try to tell the good sides of using it. If you are doing application development, you have most likely used VS, and can see why its so much better than the other tools available. I could try to argue with technical points, but that would be pointless.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30836054)

Nothing. Having worked in Visual Basic 6/C++, then Java and now back in Visual Studio I was surprised how stagnant VS was. If you don't like know how your software is made, then VB is nice. It hides a lot from you.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

bami (1376931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836140)

Things that I think it's great at is Intellisense (sort-of autocompletion), its code formatter (although that can get in the way sometimes) and its debug tools.
Currently doing some development in C# under Visual Studio 2008, but my java work is done in Netbeans.

You really feel that Netbeans is developed in java and is slow and everything, and it's just refreshing to work in VS again.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (2, Interesting)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835966)

KDevelop 4 is shaping up to be a very good IDE. Probably worth to try out a beta if you're into FLOSS. Does PHP (I hear) and C++ (I know) quite well. A few stupid corner that are not quite there yet, but most of the hard stuff seems to be working.

Re:Visual Studio replacement on Linux (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836142)

I agree with regard to putting GUIs together. Typing the code for placement and properties of your standard widgets by hand is so much more tedious than just dropping them on the form by Drag&Drop. Also, itegrated debuggers are nice.
But Visual Studio is by no means the only IDE to offer that functionality. Borland Delphi, which was released roughly at the same time, provides the same benefits. So you could as well ask for a Delphi replacement ;-)

Fast forward to today:
Visual Studio is admittedly quite good, while there seems to be not as much choice on Linux. Eclipse does AFAIK not have the GUI editor (somewhat understandable due to the huge variety of widget sets, and which to support?). So helping to create one for eclipse might be a worthwhile project for the thread starter.
Or maybe supporting Lazarus development if he likes Pascal. Lazarus is so far the closest thing to a complete IDE I have seen in the Open Source scene.

hmmm (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30834914)

A dentists chair and some teeth?

(bad joke i know)

Re:hmmm (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836148)

Cute tushes (butts, rear ends, etc.)?

They need a set of fake teeth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30834916)

They need a set of fake teeth and simulated plaque

FLOSS developers need -- (0, Offtopic)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834936)

-- major power tools, man! Oh, and to get laid! Plus, a lifetime supply of Cheetos and Jolt Cola! (Disclaimer: The order of the above items is subject to the preferences of the individual FLOSS developer. However, getting laid Cheetos dunked in Jolt Cola is not recommended).

Pay attention to USERS? (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834944)

How about more attention to what USERS want?

I know, I hear it all the time: "Hey, it's free. Don't like it, fork it...".

Well, ladies, this is why most FOSS never takes off. If that's what you wan't, fine, be a jerk to users who make suggestions...

But if you want to stir interest in your project, light a fire under it, not ignoring your USERS will help.

Unlike "RTFM" and "Fork it if you don't like it", which are synonyms for "Fuck Off".

Let's Remember (0)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835052)

Unlike "RTFM" and "Fork it if you don't like it", which are synonyms for "F--- Off".

Remember that 99% of the time, this is better than what closed source gives you.

Have a look at accounting systems - what do they do? No one knows. Want to program them? Have to pay for licensing. Want to switch? Costly complex, and more difficult because of baked in rules.

Like, look at how much DOS based stuff there is out there, that people STILL use to run businesses with, in a command window, because, well, the vendor is locked in, and they know they don't have to spend a dime to change.

Re:Let's Remember (3, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835252)

That's fair, but it's also worth keeping in mind that "Fork it if you don't like it" is only better than a closed source product if you have the resources and expertise to fork it. Otherwise, you're just as helpless.

Beyond that, the software that will eventually replace the old DOS-based crap you're talking about will be whatever meets the businesses'/users' needs. If you'd like to see that be your FOSS project rather than a proprietary solution, then paying attention to user requests might be helpful.

If you don't care whether your project gets used... well I guess users have no leverage unless they want to pay you, and maybe not even then.

demands != suggestions (2, Insightful)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835570)

People who whine and bitch, saying things like "FOSS will never take off if it doesn't conform to me and only me" is why developers say fork it or fuck off. You're not contributing anything, you're just being a nuisance.

Developers get all sorts of random demands from petulant users. If we patiently explained to each and every one of them why their suggestion either isn't a priority (or even would be detrimental to the project) we wouldn't be developers because that would take up all our time.

You won't get anything different from closed source developers, except that you wouldn't manage to talk to them at all. They have a bureaucracy to intercept you, and tell you, politely, to fuck off.

Re:Pay attention to USERS? (1)

osgeek (239988) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835802)

As a developer: if I'm not being paid and my pet project isn't being helped along by someone willing/able to code, write documentation, etc... why should I care again?

Code what you know best (5, Insightful)

bramp (830799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834952)

You should code whatever you need. If you code something others need, you will either do it wrong, or get bored. Do what you know best.

Re:Code what you know best (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835730)

I agree. If you're going to volunteer code, then program what you need or enjoy.

Documentation [docforge.com] is another area where you can contribute whatever you know best.

Re:Code what you know best (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836056)

this is the best first advice. but maybe the submitter needs some hints on possible areas :)

one thing that i find missing is a decent manpage editor. several standalone projects have died, so maybe creating one as a plugin for an existing software would be best (maybe export plugin for oo.org or so).

as submitter mentioned documentation and translating, helping out with projects that are meant for documentation writing and localisation is a decent choice - for example, i've heard that pootle web translation gui is too slow to be used for some projects, maybe improving that could be helpful.
as wikis are often used for documentation, improving some aspects for those also might be an option (like allowing to branch documentation etc).

but still, submitter should keep in mind the original suggestion and start by solving whatever issues he has encountered himself.

A debugger for C++ (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835002)

GDB is a nice debugger for C programs and sometimes it is even tolerable as a C++ debugger. Nonetheless, it is only tolerable to the extent you avoid using the STL and you don't happen to rely on any external library. So I have to say that a C++ debugger is almost desperately needed in the FLOSS world.

Re:A debugger for C++ (0)

gerddie (173963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836090)

You should probably learn how to write good unit tests makes a debugger a lot less important.

You are right in one thing, however, with the STL and BOOST a lot of things get inlined when compiling with optimization. Often this makes it really difficult to locate the real location of a problem and usually the only solution is to re-compile without any optimization. Somehow I doubt that the debugger can help there though.

 

FLOSS Developers need... (0, Redundant)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835006)

crest? colgate? Mouthwash?

FLOSS developers? (1, Redundant)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835008)

Several sets of dentures and a floss waxing machine, for starters. And can we please have some flavors besides "minty fresh?"

Re:FLOSS developers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835148)

Well, I've used cinnamon and grape flavoured floss before. (And of course they make unflavoured floss, but why bother?) I definitely agree on the waxed thing, though. Unwaxed floss shreds and gets caught between my teeth.

Submitter, You are a Free Software Developer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835010)

What do you use, and how could it be better? FLOSS development works best when you scratch an itch, then - when you learn that others have the same itch, you come up with an ointment.

(am I the new Bad Analogy Guy?)

Suggestion (1)

UTF-8 (680134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835012)

It depends on what itch you want to scratch. Improve the tools that you want to use. If all else fails, you could look at Eclipse and cppcheck.

Editors and Debuggers (0, Flamebait)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835032)

Anyone that claims either vi or emacs is a useful editor hasn't used a modern Windows IDE. Just the amount of context aware help that is available about the platform is amazing.

Get a real kernel debugger INTO the linux kernel. DO it now - I hate having to patch the heck out of my kernel just to see what some module that I am unfamiliar with works. I know I know - Linus doesn't like debuggers. Well, hate to say it but he is wrong. There is no substitute for watching your code run on the platform in real time.

For that matter dbg could use a little update - it is what 30 years old now, getting closer to 40. There are a lot of new things that need to be included.

Re:Editors and Debuggers (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835098)

Anyone that claims they aren't hasn't bothered to use the tools available to them. It's entirely possible to get equivalent context-awareness going in VIM/Emacs, but since they aren't packaged as a whole people write them off as being "obsolete" or somesuch nonsense.

Get a real kernel debugger INTO the linux kernel. DO it now

Last I looked KGDB worked quite well, and it behaves in a very similar fashion to Windows when being debugged.

For that matter dbg could use a little update

You mean GDB? What "new things" could be added?

Re:Editors and Debuggers (4, Funny)

MrMr (219533) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835296)

Clippy

Re:Editors and Debuggers (3, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836074)

I see you are programing a privilege escalation exploit, would you like help with that?

Re:Editors and Debuggers (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835766)

If you want to spend more time configuring the tools than developing then KGDB and GDB are the tools for you! GDB is so arcane that setting a breakpoint is nigh impossible without the manual in your hand but then you have only one left to type with, and oh wait, you will have two hands after all as there is no manual for GDB sorry my bad. Oops I stand corrected I found the manual. It does assume you know quite a bit though and these are the instructions for "running a program under GDB"

When you run a program under gdb, you must first generate debugging information when you compile it.

You may start gdb with its arguments, if any, in an environment of your choice. If you are doing native debugging, you may redirect your program's input and output, debug an already running process, or kill a child process.


to compile a program to run inder GDB you are assumed to be using C/C++ and the GCC compiler from the command line ie.
To request debugging information, specify the `-g' option when you run the compiler.
There is more but it also assumes the command line is in use or you are somehow a guru at configuring the IDE of your choice. Sorry. For utility and ease of development Visual Studio is still tops.
Surely someone somewhere has made GDB and their IDE of choice easier to use? I will plead ignorance of it despite quite a bit of research and the research delivered some very confusing results at that.

Re:Editors and Debuggers (0)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835132)

I've used Visual Studio 2007. Yes, autocompleting variable names is awesome. Yes, vim and emacs are, aside from that, far more productive for code editing. Vim has context aware help too - it does syntax highlighting and matching bracket highlighting in dozens of different languages.

Re:Editors and Debuggers (2, Interesting)

arevos (659374) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835268)

Anyone that claims either vi or emacs is a useful editor hasn't used a modern Windows IDE.

Anyone that claims Visual Studio is a useful IDE hasn't used Emacs SLIME :)

Re:Editors and Debuggers (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835566)

SLIME does not hold a candle to VS sorry.

Re:Editors and Debuggers (2, Informative)

arevos (659374) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835870)

SLIME does not hold a candle to VS sorry.

I can think of plenty of features that SLIME has, but VS does not. However, I can't think of any feature in VS that is not matched by either Emacs itself, SLIME or some other extension.

Could you explain why you think VS is better?

Re:Editors and Debuggers (1)

castoridae (453809) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835880)

Anyone that claims Visual Studio is a useful IDE hasn't used Emacs SLIME :)

Props to that!

Re:Editors and Debuggers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835404)

Anyone that claims either vi or emacs is a useful editor hasn't used a modern Windows IDE.

Umm, I've used a modern Windows IDE and I still always go back to vim to do my Linux or cross-platform development. Contextual awareness is great, but the baggage dragged over with it is not worth the cost in terms of execution speed (it shouldn't take THAT fucking long to compile a program with half a dozen modules) and corrolary features such as build and integration control. In this regard, the Unix approach of having independent tools that do a small number of things well is still better than having a single tool that does a lot of things half-assedly.

Re:Editors and Debuggers (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835890)

(it shouldn't take THAT fucking long to compile a program with half a dozen modules)

Unless you have some piece of shit computer, I just compiled a solution in VS with 50 projects in 1 minutes. The machine has a rather low spec core2duo and 3 gigs of RAM.

Re:Editors and Debuggers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30836178)

since when was a core2duo considered "low spec"?
Not everyone has the need to buy a new CPU and MOBO when their existing system works just fine.

Re:Editors and Debuggers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835914)

Anyone that claims either vi or emacs is a useful editor hasn't used a modern Windows IDE.

Umm, I've used a modern Windows IDE and I still always go back to vim to do my Linux or cross-platform development. Contextual awareness is great, but the baggage dragged over with it is not worth the cost in terms of execution speed (it shouldn't take THAT fucking long to compile a program with half a dozen modules)

To be fair to Visual Studio, most of that delay is because the Microsoft compilers are bizarrely slow, rather than because of any problem with the IDE itself. Last time I checked (which was admittedly a couple of years ago) MSVC run from a command prompt took ran about three times as slowly as cygwin gcc, which was another factor of two behind gcc on Linux. If you configure VS to use a different compiler then builds go a lot faster (although you lose a lot of the clever features like modifying a program without restarting it)

(Having said that, I agree with you that VS just isn't worth it. I used to write Windows device drivers for a living, and the only vaguely tolerable workflow I ever found was to do the actual editing in emacs on a Linux box and then smbmount it into a Windows machine to do the compile step.)

Re:Editors and Debuggers (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835588)

Say what you want about emacs but vim is a quite useful editor. Jeany is pretty good, too, if you like GUI editors. I actually don't like IDEs for editing. Sure, they bring a lot of other things to the table that may be compelling enough to hold my nose and use the IDE's editor, but to say that vi or emacs are not useful editors when compared with a modern Windows IDE seems a stunning statement to me. I find that when what needs to be done is to write and edit, a standalone editor is a better tool for that the embedded editor in an IDE. In fact, all of the best programmers I know use either vim or emacs rather than an IDE. I find it very disturbing that most of them use emacs rather than vim, but that's another story :)

Hear, hear1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835646)

Anyone that claims either vi or emacs is a useful editor hasn't used a modern Windows IDE [...]
I know I know - Linus doesn't like debuggers. Well, hate to say it but he is wrong.

I'll believe this Linus guy when he not only shows that he is just able to write code, but also to manage a multi-million LOC project.

Oh, wait...

Re:Editors and Debuggers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835650)

There's nothing that devs use more than editors. The reason we have emacs and vim is that they work great.

Or, to put it another way, all the folks that might have the ability to write a better IDE won't do it, because they prefer emacs or vim. The people who prefer IDEs aren't the top-tier programmers, at least on linux.

Re:Editors and Debuggers (1)

vampiro369 (1420765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835652)

What if I use Netbeans on Linux? Is that better than vim or emacs? Does it count if I use Xcode? Or are claiming that Windows is the best programming platform? Or are you drunk? Or are you not really a programmer? What about patching the kernel? Why would you need to patch *any* kernel if you so obviously think that a "modern Wndows IDE" is better than good old vim and emacs?

You are very confused sir. You also communicate as newbies often do: generalization, lots of unrelated subjects, etc, etc. After all, I have used lots of different IDEs and I keep coming back to my faithful vim because, guess what, it does what I need and more. For the things it doesn't do, well, that's why you need lots of the GNU tools out there, right? How do you awk on your beloved Windows IDEs? How do you grep? How do you head or tail or even cron your way on your Windows IDEs?

Again, why was it you had to patch your Linux kernel?

Add Emacs Lisp to your skills (3, Funny)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835050)

Because we need someone to finally give us proper editor on top of the OS we use.

Re:Add Emacs Lisp to your skills (1)

jstults (1406161) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835856)

What tools? Well, I'm not sure, but I've narrowed it down to two: it's either Emacs or Vi...

Money (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835058)

Seems to work in the real world when you want to attract talent.

Documentation (3, Insightful)

TopSpin (753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835072)

API references aren't enough. Need rational, best practices, meaningful examples and references. Tutorials aren't terribly useful because they are inherently limited to cases that are easily teachable. OpenSSL is a fine specimen; crucial parts of the API are omitted from the current, maintained documentation. These can only be found in the archived SSLeay documentation, and that amounts to a spotty collection of notes.

(yes, I've paid for the books, too)

Re:Documentation (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835682)

Agreed [docforge.com] ! We need more contributions to documentation.

Re:Documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835984)

Totally! I've been doing some work with open source APIs lately and its a nightmare. You want to help developers, more and better documentation.

Documentation (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835076)

My biggest problem with much of OSS is that the documentation is terrible. Try figuring out what the *right* way to do a "poll" type call on Linux is, or how to configure clustering with Geronimo and you will quickly realize that outside of reading the code there is almost NO good documentation on how to do more advanced things with open source software.

FLOSS (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835090)

FLOSS stands for "Free/Libre Open Source Software". I have not seen it with the "Libre" added in there before, so I'm sure others have not as well. Great job spelling it out the first time you use it, Slashdot.

Re:FLOSS (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835384)

This is the first time you have seen FLOSS instead of FOSS? How long have you been here, a week?

Re:FLOSS (1)

BlortHorc (305555) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836252)

FLOSS stands for "Free/Libre Open Source Software". I have not seen it with the "Libre" added in there before, so I'm sure others have not as well. Great job spelling it out the first time you use it, Slashdot.

This is the first time you have seen FLOSS instead of FOSS? How long have you been here, a week?

To be fair, though there is no FA to R, it has taken the time to read an unrelated FA and tell us all something we already knew. Which is clearly naff, but as far as ACs go, this one is clearly trying. I vote we all tinkle on its head, and see if it works the same for ACs as it does for citrus.

we need... (1)

al3k (1638719) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835106)

a text editor with a web browser, email client, irc, calculator and tetris......oh wait

Interoperability among SCMs (3, Insightful)

andy753421 (850820) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835172)

Git, mercurial, monotone, etc. are all ready nice, and do pretty much the same thing, but it's annoying to have to use the one that the project leader decides on. It would be nice (if it's possible) to be able to pick which one you want to use as a client, and have it work with whatever the project manager wants to use for the upstream repository. I'm not sure what all this would encompass, probably some common distribution (push/pull) protocol would need to be implemented by all the different SCMs..

Re:Interoperability among SCMs (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835444)

Why would interoperability between SCMs be useful?

it's annoying to have to use the one that the project leader decides on

But they're the project leader. They're calling the shots so you use what they specify. If you want to use something else, it's on you.

Re:Interoperability among SCMs (1)

andy753421 (850820) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835792)

But they're the project leader. They're calling the shots so you use what they specify.

Most projects let you pick your editor, filesystem, distribution, etc. It would be nice to add version control to that list. That doesn't seem like it would be all that hard to do. There are already tools to migrate a repository between different version control systems and they mostly use similar concepts.

Re:Interoperability among SCMs (1)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835736)

> would need to be implemented by all the different SCMs

You could implement a proxy which would translate the commands and answers from one system to the other. You use what ever client you like and connect to the proxy and proxy would connect to the real server.

[client you want to use] --- [proxy] --- [server your project manager wants]

But be prepared to find problems I couldn't think of.

Re:Interoperability among SCMs (1)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836046)

You can actually use a lot of them against the others repository. E.g, hg works fine against a git repository. So just use git on the server (seems to be the one with most features there) and let people use whatever client they like.

Not that there is any good reason to prefer git except for one thing, which brings me back on subject: We really need a libgit(2). Development has essentially halted on this.

Re:Interoperability among SCMs (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836096)

Git, mercurial, monotone, etc. are all ready nice, and do pretty much the same thing, but it's annoying to have to use the one that the project leader decides on. It would be nice (if it's possible) to be able to pick which one you want to use as a client, and have it work with whatever the project manager wants to use for the upstream repository. I'm not sure what all this would encompass, probably some common distribution (push/pull) protocol would need to be implemented by all the different SCMs..

You can't have a common network protocol because of some fairly fundamental differences (rename tracking, use of crypto, concept of what a "branch" is, etc). What you can do, is have a common minimal-info dump format (for example, there's work to make monotone read/write git-fast-import data) that allows for one-shot, one-way data migration...you could probably extend this to allow for repeated pulls or maybe even bi-directional use, but you'd need code specific to each pair of systems and the people on both sides would likely need to avoid certain features.

Documentation (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835202)

If there is one thing FLOSS regularly needs help with, it's documentation.

I give you OpenSSL: One of the most well known libraries, and the documentation is very lacking. How about some better examples? How do I use PSK? How about a quick start guide?

So many projects have this problem: They have "API documentation" which is nothing but a list of what the individual functions do with no indication how they get used together. Or they document functions but not data structures, etc. So if you really want to help, write documentation.

Python - Vala/Genie (1)

snadrus (930168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835212)

Get some good examples written in Vala/Genie before the whole world goes Python. Most apps don't need Python. Just a few examples and some finding & documentation from someone who knows Python may be enough to get this off the ground. That would end "bindings" and "interpreter startup" issues from desktop Linux OSes.

API Finder (1)

Pro923 (1447307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835226)

If I had the time I'd work on a tool that was geared towards helping developers find APIs to accomplish some idea. Often, I have a task to perform, but it's difficult to find the right functions or objects to use to do the job - or if one even exists. Generally, I google or use MSDN search, but I find it's difficult to find keywords that will lead me to APIs instead of generic discussions or procedures. If there were a tool that contained a database of every export from every DLL with instructions on how to use it, and some intelligent way to drill down and help find what you're looking for - I think that would be amazingly helpful.

Easy web-based database form developer (1)

XB-70 (812342) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835232)

I'd like a RAD tool as easy and secure (comparatively) as ORACLE's Designer product to build web app front ends to databases. This functionality should allow for nested queries, PL/SQL, triggers, printing, lookups, commits, rollbacks etc. etc. without all the hassles of having to get deep into the programming to make it happen. It should also allow database roles to be easily implemented with a full suite of tabbed forms and reports. Think MS ACCESS for the RAD part with the power and quality of PostgreSQL behind it - now make it produce Java forms and easily connect to remote data sources while not requiring a third tier app server. There's probably something like that out there. If so, I'd LOVE to hear about it.

Re: OP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835284)

You would attract more developers by writing at least one sentence without "FLOSS".

Now you sound like you're just some PR dude... and no self-respecting developer takes you serious.

There's enough already, but... (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835286)

I think we're pretty well covered as far as development tools go. The problem is that a lot of them aren't terribly well polished and the documentation -- if it exists at all -- is often terrible.

Find a project you like but that needs work and help bring it to maturity. Or go looking through the plethora of abandoned projects out there for something that looks promising and bring it back to life.

BOOTSTRAP (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835394)

I can ... translate to my native language.

Bootstrap... translate docs and error messages for developer tools, so your fellow native developers can work in a native language.

And when you find stuff thats too icky to translate, rewrite and feed it back upstream.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835426)

FLOSS developers need: some idea about how to write software for non-developers, non-developers, non-developers...

What FLOSS developers need ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835458)

I for one need a way to generate income. Because, unfortunately, my: health and auto insurance companies, mortgage company, mechanic, grocery store, electric utility, water company, gas company, doctor, dentist, clothes store (Target for me), phone company, internet - they take only cash: they don't take code as payment.

Support services? Every goddman laid-off techie is now offering computer support services - the market is saturated.

I'd go work at McDonald's but they have plenty of old people working to compensate for the losses on their retirement and the ones that are looking for help only want Spanish speakers.

FLOSS? (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835502)

I think all you really need is a good wax applicator and some really good string. Maybe a way to apply flavor would be nice too.

Teeth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835838)

As a floss developer, I've found that teeth are a great place to start when developing new floss.

FLOSS developers need Projects... aparently. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835874)

Find an existing project that interests you and work on it.
Developers need projects to collaborate on. Fortunately, many projects already exist.

To find a project just browse open source projects on sites like SourceForge [sourceforge.net] , Google Code [google.com] , CodePlex [codeplex.com] , etc. Don't waste your time (and life) working on projects that don't get you excited. If you're not interested in a project it will feel more like work than it has to.

Twenty heads are better than two.

Superior IDE? (1)

apharmdq (219181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836024)

I used Visual Studio quite a bit, and I'm not sure why everyone seems to think it's so great. I've used Codeblocks and Kdevelop since then, and find that I much prefer those IDEs. Lately I've been working on using Vim as an IDE, and after a bit of adjustment, I'm pretty sure it will end up being my IDE of choice. As for debugging, gdb does an excellent job. (And those complaining about setting breakpoints . . . have you even used gdb?)

I'm rather curious though. What features does VS have that make it so "superior?"

QtCreator (3, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836120)

Yes, I'm a Qt Fanboi, but hear me out:
Qt is free (LGPL), multiplatform (support all users), fill-featured and clean.
QtCreator (new) is the Qt IDE, with tons of support and integrated help, including an integrated gdb (or other) debugger.
If you're on Python, then wait a bit for PySide or get PyQt now.

I feel I can move mountains with just one download the sdk [nokia.com]

Online Translation Tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30836230)

It would be nice to have an easy to use online translation tool for gettext that would allow users to easily add translation sentences. Launchpad has something like this built-in but a standalone app would be much better IMO.

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