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My IDE needs a makeover

Current Setup

I am a Linux Distribution Engineer and work on arbitrary open source projects. Mostly I'm patching/packaging existing things, and sometimes start fresh projects.

My "IDE", or rather I shall say "toolbox" is rather sparse:

  • GNOME Terminal
  • Google Chrome
  • GNU Emacs
  • GCC toolcahin with GDB
  • Python3 - iPython, iPdb, pyflakes
  • git, GNU bazaar
There are a few things that annoy me, and should be done better these days.


I lookup documentation mostly with Google Chrome. This includes the texinfo renderings of the docs. There are a few reasons for that. First of all my developer machine is not polluted with all the dev packages under the sun, instead I compile practically everything in a chroot. And most of the time chroots have much newer versions of everything (from gcc & automake, to boost and whatever other dependencies are in use). However I would like to have easy generic lookup builtin for common things that I lookup in the references and which have not changed for a long time:
  • gcc builtins & defines
  • glibc functions
  • automake/autoconf functions definitions
Given that my preferred editor is Emacs, it should be natural to use `info' mode to look things up. However, the rendering there is archaic and is really hard to read. At least when visiting the HTML renderings, the function names are in bold and stand out from the rest of the description.

Ideally I would have unified place to lookup docs, instead of using Google Chrome and navigating:,,,

Project Management

I really hate "traditional" IDEs that create and pollute the working directories with random extra files. My project management tool is VCS, thus .git should be automatically recognized as a "project". I should be able to navigate repository files, have them scanned for tab-completion and jumping to symbols and the like. At the moment, I exit the editor and use git grep to find things and open those files in the editor again. I don't use any tagging systems at the moment, ideally git repository would be scanned and Exuberant Tags (this seems to be the latest hotness in tagging space) stored inside the .git directory automatically.

"SDK" aware aka chroot support

The IDE should be aware of chroots, how to compile things in a chroot and ideally how to compile packages with sbuild, mock or obs build (these are apt, yum and zypper preferred solutions for package compilation). Most importantly to use those chroots to tag includes headers for tab completion.


Gnome Terminal is good enough for my needs. I do have a problem of too many terminal windows... I have tried Terminator (a tiling single-window / multiple-tabs terminal). However during development the things I use shell for, should be part of the IDE directly: changing projects, opening/closing/navigating/creating files, invoking build, invoking debug, "refactoring" (sed). I think I do want to try out a pull-down terminal for temporal look-ups together with a tiling "main" terminal. Or ideally ditch it all together. Emacs does provide multiple terminals, but when I did that I ended up with "inception" -> launching an instance of emacs, inside the terminal, inside emacs...


If anybody has tips or suggestions do share. I will investigate and experiment with all of the above, and see if I can experiment and find new cool things that work better than my current setup.


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