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Kylix throws free goodies back into Linuxland

IDE closed, but libraries, tools punted towards freedom

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Borland will ship Kylix, aka Delphi for Linux in the next month, and threw a coming out party for the software at LinuxWorld Expo in New York. It's isn't open source, but that said, there'll be plenty of red meat to throw back into the free software mixer as a result of Borland's porting efforts.

Pricing is similar to the Windows Delphi equivalent, at $1999 for the server/web developer edition and $999 for desktop apps, but a generous freebie package bundles not only the CLX and DataCLX libraries but a MySQL driver too.

Kylix uses the same compiler as Delphi - that was written in portable C - but since the libraries and the IDE itself were written in Delphi, the rest fell into place. Borland is at pains to stress that despite the close working relationship with Trolltech, Kylix doesn't actually run on Qt, the Trolltech library, but simply uses it as a display run-time portion. Since Qt and GNOME's Gtk have become much more interoperable in the last few weeks, Kylix can be considered neutral. Gtk objects can already be dropped onto Qt-originated forms, for example.

As well as parking its tanks on the RAD client/server lawn - that's typically been Windows territory for both client and development machines - Kylix should make the development of the classic, vertical pet store applications more attractive. So it's little wonder that Borland is talking to Caldera, which is in the process of acquiring chunks of SCO's business. And SCO has looked after such text mode vertical apps for small businesses, and branches quite tenderly.

So what collateral benefits are there for hardcore, command line developers? Well, the libraries are open source. But Charles Jazdzewski, the chief scientist at CTO of the RAD group at Borland, says that it wants to propose the new exception handling model back to world+dog. This, he says, was freshly written for Kylix, and doesn't involve any run-time overhead of exception frames. And he adds, should result in much smaller executables than gcc equivalents. Perhaps 12 per cent or less of a debugging executable is taken up by exception tables, rather than 50 per cent in a gcc debug executable. And it hopes Red Hat and Cygnus will chew the proposal over, with view to it becoming free software. ®

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