Opinions on KYLIX 3 (Delphi 4 Linux)

David Trudgett wpower at zeta.org.au.nospamplease
Wed Jul 20 10:37:48 CEST 2005

"Thomas Bartkus" <thomasbartkus at comcast.net> writes:

> Good question!  Wither Borland?
> My impression (second hand - based on no direct experience with
> Kylix!) is that Borlands wonderful Delphi product ported to Linux
> has been a dissapointment.
>   * * * Someone with real experience on Kylix - please jump in here!

It has been two or three years since I gave Kylix a try, so my memory
is a bit vague on the specifics. I was working in a Delphi shop and
wanted to port (at least some of) our apps to Linux using Kylix (I
think it was version 3). I think I ported one and a half apps and more
or less gave up or put it on the back burner. My impression was that
Kylix still wasn't ready for serious development work.

The type of application I was working on (porting) involved
client/server database access, and TCP communications with other
applications. It never really worked correctly (I forget what the
problems were just now), but probably could have been made to work
correctly. The point was, however, that porting (a relatively simple)
Delphi app to Kylix shouldn't have been that hard.

> Calling Delphi "similar to Visual Basic" is hurtful because I
> believe that VB is the product of looting and pillaging the talent
> that came out of Borland.  I'm guessing that Microsoft has
> successfully targeted this perceived competitor with destruction.
> If Kylix were of the quality of Delphi, it would be a killer Linux app.

Possibly. Unfortunately, I don't believe that the whole GUI building
approach of Delphi/Kylix (or other similar tools) is much chop. It
encourages one, for instance, to just place elements on the screen in
fixed positions that make no allowance for differing fonts, screen
resolutions, etc. Java (my experience is with JBuilder) is much better
in this regard, although the different paradigm takes some getting
used to. However, all GUI builders with which I'm familiar (not many)
seem to have very real limitations when it comes to designing very
complex interfaces. Kenny Tilton's Cells project (ask on
comp.lang.lisp) has set me to thinking along these lines. In the past,
I never gave it much consideration.

Programmers who like Pascal should look at Ada as a better
alternative. If I wanted to program in a Pascal-like language on
Linux, Ada (the GNU Gnat compiler, integrated with GCC) is the one
that I would use. Ada, you could say, is like Pascal on
steroids. Caveat: I've read Ada books, but haven't programmed in it,
and my main concern is that its ultra strong typing might get in my
way -- or alternatively, force greater rigour, as the Ada folks might
say ;-).

These days, for hacking about, I prefer Common Lisp. It's faster
(sometimes approaching the speed of compiled C/Pascal) and much more
powerful than Python, but doesn't have the same library support
(smaller community), and application bundling and delivery *can* be a
potential problem, depending on various factors (such as whether you
want to license a commercial Common Lisp). Also, similar to Python,
there is no standard GUI framework defined for Common Lisp, so
choosing from the GUI frameworks available can be a challenge (I've
only programmed a simple GUI app using the great little Ltk library by
Peter Herth, which talks to Tk over a socket).

My advice would be to steer clear of Kylix and choose one of the other
environments suggested to you. If you really like Pascal, fpc may be a
possibility as someone mentioned. I haven't looked into it any time in
the last couple of years, though, so I don't know its status. I really
would suggest a serious look at Ada, though, if you want to develop
fast, industrial strength applications, or take advantage of built-in
concurrency support and lots of other goodies.



David Trudgett

I was in the pub last night, and a guy asked me for a light for his
cigarette. I suddenly realised that there was a demand here and money
to be made, and so I agreed to light his cigarette for 10 pence, but I
didn't actually give him a light, I sold him a licence to burn his
cigarette.  My fire-licence restricted him from giving the light to
anybody else, after all, that fire was my property. He was drunk, and
dismissed me as a loony, but accepted my fire (and by implication the
licence which governed its use) anyway. Of course in a matter of
minutes I noticed a friend of his asking him for a light and to my
outrage he gave his cigarette to his friend and pirated my fire! I was
furious, I started to make my way over to that side of the bar but to
my added horror his friend then started to light other people's
cigarettes left, right, and centre! Before long that whole side of the
bar was enjoying MY fire without paying me anything. Enraged I went
from person to person grabbing their cigarettes from their hands,
throwing them to the ground, and stamping on them.  

Strangely the door staff exhibited no respect for my property rights
as they threw me out the door.

    -- Ian Clarke

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