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4.9 Integrated Development Environments

Many integrated development environments (IDEs) are available for Linux. Most of these IDEs are usually used to develop native applications. Nevertheless, they can be customized for cross-development by setting the appropriate compiler names in the IDE's configuration. Table 4-8 provides a list of open source IDEs, their locations, and the list of embedded Linux-relevant programming languages they support.

Table 4-8. Open source IDEs



Supported languages


Ada, bash, C, C++, Java, make, Perl, Python


C, C++, Java


Ada, bash, C, C++, Java, make, Perl, Python, x86 assembly


C, C++, Java


C, C++, Java, Python

I am reluctant to recommend any particular IDE, because the choice is very much a personal one. I personally prefer XEmacs and the command line to any IDE. Others, still, prefer plain-old vi. You may want to look at the screenshots sections of each project to get an initial appreciation for it. Ultimately, however, you may wish to download the IDEs and try them to make up your mind.

In terms of popularity, KDevelop is probably the most popular IDE of the list. Although it is very much oriented towards native development of user applications, it can be customized for cross-development. Anjuta is a very active project, and its interface resembles that of many popular Windows IDEs. SourceNavigator is an IDE made available by Red Hat under the terms of the GPL, and is part of Red Hat's GNUPro product. Glimmer is a Gnome-based IDE with capabilities similar to the other IDEs. Eclipse is an ambitious project to create an IDE framework that can easily be extended using plug-ins. It was initiated and is still backed by many companies, including IBM, HP, Red Hat, and SuSE.

For more information regarding these projects, visit their web sites and have a look at their documentation.

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