GNUPro Toolkit for Linux v1.0

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GNUPro Toolkit is a set of tested and certified, open-source, GNU standard C, C++ and assembly language development tools.
GNUPro Toolkit Installation

Version 1.0 for Linux of GNUPro has been tested and is officially supported on Red Hat version 4.2 and 5.x. GNUPro also works with Red Hat version 6 and SuSE version 6.0/6.1. Plans for the next release of GNUPro for Linux include testing and support on distributions other than Red Hat and SuSE. The install files provided on the review package distribution CD-ROM media were for Red Hat versions 4.2 and 5.1.

Installation of GNUPro on Caldera's v1.3 required a little experimentation, some research and thinking. Cygnus FAQ pages indicated GNUPro should install on Caldera, Debian and other Linux distributions. With this positive reinforcement, I began installing the product on a 300MHz Pentium with 64MB RAM and Caldera's OpenLinux version 1.3 with KDE.

The Red Hat version 5.2 install file produced a list of missing dependencies. It turned out the Red Hat v4.2 install file had just one missing dependency. The version 4.2 install file was looking for libncurses.so.3.0. OpenLinux had a later release than the install program expected. The install program would not accept either a soft or a hard link to libncurses. The Cygnus bug list web page suggested a way around this specific problem. I got around ncurses hurdle by installing GNUPro using the nodeps option. After the install had completed, I made a soft link between libncurses.so.3.0 and libncurses.so.4.1. Once the link had been established, the installation verification tests executed successfully .

Documentation and Support

In general, Cygnus support was prompt, responsive to my questions and to the point. In response to one question, they provided some additional information in case I might be considering upgrading to glibc 2.1.

According to the GNUPro Getting Started Manual and FAQ, HTML copies of the six GNUPro documents (Compiler Tools, Debugger, Libraries, Utilities, Advance Topics and Tools for Embedded Systems) were included on the distribution CD-ROM. I was unable to locate any HTML documentation on the CD-ROM. After roaming about the GNUPro installation directories, I located HTML documentation files in my install directory /usr/cygnus/redhat-980810/doc. Cygnus support indicated that the User Guide's reference to documentation is being corrected.

The on-line documentation is in HTML format. It requires a web browser or some other application able to read HTML files. On my system, I chose to use kfm to access and display the GNUPro HTML documentation.

GNUPro Toolkit for Linux is a single-release snapshot of the ever-evolving GNUPro product. Support for the Linux product includes 30 days of installation support and a web page. The support web page contains PDF and HTML documentation, FAQs, patches and a known bug list. E-mail notification whenever the patch or bug list pages change may be requested.

The 30-day support is for installation problems. After a successful product install, one should not expect a personal reply to non-installation support questions. At the time of this writing, the primary after-installation support vehicles are the Cygnus web site, newsgroups and mailing lists. No information on upgrade policies for GNUPro for Linux was available.

A quick comment on GNUPro legal notices. GNUPro Toolkit consists of software from several different sources. The terms and conditions for copying, modifying and redistributing software components derived from GNUPro vary. The User's Guide devotes a short chapter to the various legal notices.

GNUPro Toolkit, the Full-Featured Product

While this review was specifically about GNUPro Toolkit for Linux, I would be remiss if I did not briefly mention Cygnus' GNUPro Toolkit product. The more robust, and more expensive, GNUPro Toolkit is capable of supporting more than 125 hardware and software environments. A wide range of host systems may be used to develop 32- and 64-bit applications for this array of target hosts and operating systems. Some of the many major hardware and software players represented include HP, SGI, Sun SPARC series, Hitachi, MIPS, NEC, Panasonic, Toshiba, Motorola, IBM RS6000 and PowerPC and Intel's X86 series, to name a few. The Toolkit contains embedded cross-platform compiling capabilities. No cross-platform capabilities were included with the reviewed Toolkit for Linux version. Cygnus has identified Linux as one of its target host environments, so cross compiling should be on the horizon.

Cygnus offers a GNUPro subscription service for the high-end GNUPro Toolkit product. This service provides two releases of GNUPro each year, and access to Cygnus Developer Support. Additional information on pricing and Developer Support services may be obtained by contacting Cygnus.

Daniel Lazenby first encountered UNIX in 1983 and discovered Linux in 1994. He can be reached at d.lazenby@worldnet.att.net.

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