What is the best C IDE on Linux?

Bob Drzyzgula bob at drzyzgula.org
Wed Apr 4 19:08:52 PDT 2001

An editor war, How very cool.

Being as I am one of those "die-hard old unix weenies who enjoy using an
editor designed when men were Men and Unix was small enough to run on a
PDP-11 with a real VT100 console" (well, almost; I missed the heyday of BSD
2.x on the PDP-11 by about four or five years; my first Unix machine, and
thus my first exposure to vi, was a Sun 2/120 in 1984. This machine ran
SunOS 1.1 -- I still have some of the SunOS 1.1 manuals -- was based on a
Multibus card cage, a 10MHz MC68010 processor board, and 2MB of
excrutiatingly slow memory. Thus, it was about as fast as a high-end PDP-11.
OTOH, this is probably moderated by at least once in my life having been
pretty good at making 029 drum cards, and having to work with a PDP-8 in my
first job out of graduate school, toggling in the octal for the bootstrap
loader that would in turn read the program -- a DAQ job that controlled a
microdensitometer -- off the paper tape reader that was grafted onto the
side of the teletype console terminal), I feel as if perhaps I have to
defend vi just a bit.

In my personal experience, the whole vi-vs-emacs thing really comes down to
what people do with computers. In particular, almost all emacs fans that I
know log into a single computer, start up emacs, and just sit there and work
on that same computer for weeks on end until there's a power hit or for some
other reason the computer has to be rebooted. If they use emacs to edit
their email, then they pretty much have to handle the email *within* emacs,
because even the idea of starting up another copy of emacs just to edit a
single file is far too painful to contemplate. OTOH, I'm not sure that I've
ever known a Unix systems programmer who was much of an emacs fan. Systems
programmers generally use vi for a number of reasons, the biggest being that
even on the most broken of machines you can often at least get vi to
function in ex mode. In fact, it is virtually impossible to be a Solaris
systems programmer or administrator without at least coming to terms with
vi; Sun still doesn't ship emacs as part of the base OS distribution, and
didn't even start distributing it "copackaged" with the OS until Solaris 8.
Even when dealing with machines that are largely functional, when your job
involves logging into two dozen machines in a single day to perform various
administrative duties the overhead of starting up emacs at each login is
just not worth it.

IMHO, vi is a tremendously powerful text editor, while emacs is an
overwhelmingly powerful applications platform. Comparing vi to emacs is like
comparing thttpd (http://www.acme.com/software/thttpd/) to zope

That being said...

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