Alternative Software Development Tools for Linux
Linux Commands - Managing System and Program Info

Alternative Software Development Tools for Linux

 

Just about every Linux distro comes with a variety of programming tools. Some automatically get installed when you install Linux, and others are available in the distro's package repositories. But, what if the development tools that come with your distro don't do the job for you? What if, for example, you want to develop software in Pascal or BASIC, and your distro's repositories don't contain tools for those languages? Or, how about if you need something more than just the plain-jane command-line tools that came with your Linux distro?

Fortunately, you have alternatives.

"The Free Country" is a web site that has links to several different sources of free software. (That's "free" as in no cost, not necessarily "free" as Richard Stallman defines it.) There, you'll find links to downloadable developer's packages for just about every language and platform.

 

Free Country web site

 

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If you've come over to Linux from the DOS/Windows world, you may already be familiar with the Pascal language. Borland's Turbo Pascal, which was the most popular version, is long gone, but Free Pascal is under current, active development.

 

Free Pascal Home page

 

Unlike Turbo Pascal, Free Pascal is available for many different operating system platforms, including Linux. It's easy to install, as it comes in a variety of different packages for different distros. On the site's documentation page, you'll find excellent documentation for Free Pascal itself, and a link to a tutorial on Pascal programming.

 

Available OS Packages

 

There aren't a lot of bells and whistles, but its Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is strongly reminiscent of the old Turbo Pascal IDE.

 

Free Pascal Interface

 

If you're an old hand at Pascal, or if you're taking a beginning programming course that's based on Pascal, Free Pascal just might be what you need.

 

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If you're an old hand at BASIC, or if you just want a relatively easy language to begin your programming experience, you might want to take a look at XBasic. It has a lot more fancy things to offer than what Free Pascal does, including a Graphical User Interface designer, math libraries, and source code for lots of demo programs.

 

XBasic Interface demo

 

 

XBasic Math functions

 

There's only one slight catch with XBasic. To download it, you'll need to create a Yahoo! account, and sign up for the XBasic Yahoo group. Not a big deal, as it's free, and all it means is that you'll be put on the XBasic mailing list. That's not a bad thing, as it does provide you with a forum for feedback and technical support.

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Anjuta may or may not be in your distro's repositories. If it isn't, you can download it from the Anjuta website. (That's http://www.anjuta.org . Unlike the previous two items we looked at, the Free Country website doesn't link to this one.)

Anjuta provides a complete graphical IDE that neatly ties together the command-line tools that came with your Linux distro. It's easy to set up, and is extremely flexible.

 

Anjuta interface

 

As you can see, it provides support for a number of programming languages.

 

Support for several languages

 

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Glade, which probably is in your distro's repositories, is a graphical GUI designer that generates code in the C language. Just drag n' drop an element to the proper place on the design canvas, and then add the appropriate C code to make the element do what you want it to do. (This is one of the utilities that Anjuta can make use of.)

 

Glade interface

 

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There are lots more programming tools available for the Linux developer, and we've only been able to look at a few. For more information, check out the Free Country website, at http://www.thefreecountry.com