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"Eclipse" which can replace Visual studio for Fortran/C/C++ debugging,compiling

Soud Choudhury's picture

We usually use Microsoft visual studio's version to do Fortran/C/C++ coding. Many reserachers are facing problem with versions, appropriate compiler or even with copyright issue. "Eclipse" can replace VS in everyway. The advantages are:


  • Very light weight (Zip size=~197MB, Real size=~450MB)
  • Does not require installing, so some sort of portable.
  • Need only Java SDK with the fortran compiler if you want to do Fortran coding.
  • Easy to use and user friendly.
  • And its freeee (Everything)
  • It is maintained properly and has very good support team.


I am giving the link here:

Above link is basically for the fortran. You need to do some setup which has been described here very nicely.

I am currently using Eclipse JUNO (4.2) and doing Fortran, C and C++ coding successfully. It may solve some of the problems that we face in terms of compatible version of compilers, copyright issue. And the debugger is very powerful though it is a small (in size) tool. If you need any help in terms of setting up, please let me know.

 Best of Luck !!!

Hope it helps...... 


Dear Soud,

I have tried to use Eclipse, but mostly for C++ programming. Here is what I found.

Though it has a GUI that looks great to the first-time user, the last time I tried to use it, it (still) was a bit flaky. How flaky? Sometimes it failed to kill a previous debugger instance. And, it didn't have great usage-metaphors for the specific debugging needs of a C++ programmer. Here, I don't care if you have to customize Eclipse a lot before you can use it very effectively, and if this customization process itself is not well documented in an easily accessible form. You could spend some time initially, have your customization in place, and once done with that, then proceed smoothly later on. But flakiness of the kind Eclipse still exhibits---failing to kill a previous debugger instance---is absolutely intolerable. And, more. A couple of times, it simply froze; I had to manually kill the entire process (I mean the Eclipse itself.) And, I was not doing some "heavy-duty" work (like even the shared-memory multicore programming, let alone the cluster programming). I was doing just an ordinary serial C++ program.

This experience with Eclipse was about a year ago or two. Earlier, I had used Eclipse in my professional work also back in 2005, and my experience even back then was not worth writing anything home about.

With Eclipse, the design philosophy seems to be of too general in nature to be of direct relevance for the distinctive needs of a C++ programmer. And, in view of its flakiness, the design philosophy seems to be much better than its implementation.

In the meanwhile, Code::Blocks seemed to have a more clunky-looking GUI interface, but its design seemed to be more suited to a C++ programmer migrating from the extremely stable and the absolutely cozy world of the VC++6, to these open-source tools. (The VC after 6 has remained fairly stable, but it has lost almost all of its coziness. The most important reason is that they chased the non-C/C++ languages, even VB, and tried to drag C++ down to their level.)

I guess that the biggest run-time weakness of Eclipse is that it is Java-based. If a Java implementation has bugs (or if the already fixed ones creep back in the next release), then it directly affects how Eclipse behaves at run-time.

In contrast, I thought, Code::Blocks would be more stable because it's written in C++. But, recently (i.e. within the last couple of months) it has proved me wrong. It has crashed at the frequency of about twice a day, even for the same normal serial programming. (I used Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.)

Just one more point before closing. For a few years in the mid and late naughties, QT environment was highly stable. However, they also imposed a highly straight-jacketed user experience---the IDE didn't have even a quarter of the customizability of VC6 and even 10% of ease of use while debugging. And, with its ambitions for a more general use now curtailed, it is more or less only of historical interest for a C++ programmer working on the desktop and the higher-performance platforms. 


(i) Eclipse might be great for LaTeX "programming," and it perhaps may be good enough also for FORTRAN (simply because a superior alternative has never existed for Fortran the way VC6 was for C++), but it clearly is not good enough for C++ programming.

(ii) Ever since the infinitely wise people in Redmond, WA, USA, decided to change the VC++ IDE from what it used to be until VC6 and to what has now become of it, no great GUI tool is at all left, on any platform---Linux or Windows. (I have not seen the Intel compiler in the recent years though.)

So, all in all, the C++ programmers, esp. those working on Linux, are perhaps better off regressing back to the command-line environment of the 1980s than using any of these GUI tools---that way, at least one has no expectations to begin with.


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Dear Soud, and also other readers using C++ and Eclipse:


0. Though I didn't include this bit in my comment above, I knew that I was going to give Eclipse one more try. And, I did!


1. Eclipse is better, now!

Eclipse CDT 3.7.2 on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (64-bit) is what I tried, and it, now, seems to be pretty well behaved. It hasn't crashed, or hung up, or failed to kill a previous GDB instance, even once---at least for small serial programs, and at least for two days by now. And, as a matter of great convenience, the keys emulation for the Visual Studio IDE now works pretty well, as installed (i.e. without any further customization required). 


2. Any tips for C++ PTP on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS?

Time to check out the Eclipse PTP, though it would obviously take much more time installing and trying it out. (I plan to use only one i7 quadcore laptop, using OpenMP, and if possible, also GPGPU using the nVIDIA GeForce 540 GT).

In the meanwhile, if any one has any helpful tips/suggestions for installing or using C++ PTP on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (64 bit), then please pass them on.

The reason to seek out expert tips is that, as you might know, Ubuntu LTS's always lag behind the other Linuxes (including the other Ubuntu's), simply because they are the LTS versions. And, as it happens, the officially "clean" way of installing software (say using only the officially supported repositories, as via the unmodified Ubuntu Software Center applet) still has no support for the Eclipse Kepler (4.2) or PTP---it is still stuck with Indigo (3.7). [...BTW, I don't wish to upgrade my Ubuntu to a non-LTS version because some other software like OpenFOAM can have problems with the non-LTS versions.]

So, in trying out an "unofficial" installation of PTP, if I am going to spoil my base OS installation itself a lot (i.e. if there would be hundreds or thousands of files left in separate directories (esp. the hidden ones) even after uninstalling Kepler PTP), then I would rather rethink about this whole thing.

From browsing, people seem to be doing OK using Kepler also on 12.04 LTS, though I would rather not hurry too much through a decision like that.


3. How about C++ PTP on Windows 7 Pro (64-bit)?

I also use Windows 7 Pro on the same multi-boot machine. If PTP would behave nicely on this Windows, I am willing to give it a try on Windows, too. Any tips/suggestions? Is the recent Eclipse as well-behaved on Windows as it is on Linux? Or does it become rather flaky on Windows?


Thanks in advance for sharing your experience and any tips.



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Soud Choudhury's picture

Hi Ajit,

Thanks for your informative comments. It will be helpful to everyone. I am using Eclipse PTP in Windows 7 64 bit machine and it is running very well. You can try on your Win 7 64 bit machine.


Soud Farhan Choudhury

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