From the Editor - Traps? Who Needs Them?

Use the development tools in this issue to clear the way for a low-pain migration from your remaining non-Linux systems.

Our reader surveys consistently show that a lot of our readers are still running, and even developing code for, non-Linux operating systems. Whatever system you're coding for today, you can use Linux as your development platform and give yourself the flexibility of moving to Linux tomorrow.

In a recent essay entitled “Free But Shackled—The Java Trap”, Richard Stallman wrote, “If you develop a Java program on Sun's Java platform, you are liable to use Sun-only features without even noticing. By the time you find this out, you may have been using them for months, and redoing the work could take more months.” That's bad news, but platform lock-in isn't only for Java developers. So build and run your projects on an all-free system regularly to save yourself from accidental lock-in as you work. We're happy to offer four complete cross-platform sample applications in this issue.

First, Python is one of our favorite languages here at Linux Journal. Its simplicity makes old code, and other people's code, easy to understand and maintain. Let David Reed's GladeGen (page 40) write the GUI code for you, so you can focus on business logic.

The best development frameworks are the ones that grow cooperatively with an application that depends on them. Mozilla is a good example. Don't get Mozilla the browser mixed up with Mozilla the framework—work through Nigel McFarlane's process viewer utility on page 66 to understand how to use Mozilla's framework to write non-Web applications.

As dedicated followers of fashion, we're happy to have a blog tool written with the .NET-compatible Mono. Ian Pointer shows how it's done and scores two buzzword points on page 50.

If you need to develop for Microsoft Windows, you can save yourself the expense and learning time of another set of development tools. Joey Bernard's article on MinGW (page 58) shows you how to add Windows support to your Linux apps or bring Windows apps to Linux with minimal rewriting.

Finally, on page 83, John Healy, Andrew Haley and Tom Tromey explain how Red Hat made the popular Eclipse integrated development environment build natively with no Java Virtual Machine (JVM), and no proprietary dependencies, at all. Maybe Java developers are finally getting the hang of this cross-platform thing. Stay out of traps, don't fall for lock-in, and enjoy the issue.

Don Marti is editor in chief of Linux Journal.

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Re: From the Editor--July 2004: Traps? Who Needs Them?

Anonymous's picture

Well, RMS's "Platform Lockin" is really very much a misnomer though. There are almost no "Sun Only" features in Java, and the "Sun" JVM for Linux *IS* the Blackdown JVM, so if you are using "Sun Only" code, you are still using "Free" code too.

Frankly, I find RMS's whole series of poorly argued rants against Java to be centered more out of his personal philosophy than anything else. And frankly, for all the talk about open source Java, I has a developer who works in Java, and certainly uses a laundry list of open source Java tools and APIs every day, think its better that the core Java specification remain tightly controlled by Sun, even with the JSR process. Microsoft KNEW forking Java with J++ would kill it, and Sun successfully staved that off. The last thing we need are *real* forks in the language cause by a thousand partial implementations or extended features.

Re: From the Editor--July 2004: Traps? Who Needs Them?

Anonymous's picture

I agree. We do not want Java (or JVM) forks. However, we would like to have a strong Desktop-oriented J2SE platform, that will allow us to work on Linux and Windows, and moreover, to have the feature of native compilation. That will be the win-win future of Java, and lose-lose for other (.Niet and other cheap single platform imitations...).

Jonathan Levi.

Re: From the Editor--July 2004: Traps? Who Needs Them?

Anonymous's picture

You sound like Gosling. That's not a good thing.

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