X-Windows, InterViews, and molecular biology software

Brian R. Smith brsmith at cs.umn.edu
Fri Feb 15 15:23:58 EST 1991

In <Feb. at presto.ig.com> dow at presto.ig.com (Christopher Dow) writes:

>	On the issue of C++:
>	Currently, in most available implimentations, C++ is a 
>translated language.

Get g++ and gdb.  G++ is a native C++ compiler (NOT a translator), and
gdb has c++ debugging support built in (recent versions, anyway).  See
their manuals for complete details.

>[...] Also, C code generated by C++ translators is not known for its
>speed.  Searching a 30 MegaBase chromosome is not something you want
>to do with a program that was written in C++.

Depends on the program, methinks.  You can, after all, write straight
C code and compile it with a C++ compiler if you like.  I'm of the
opinion that well-written C++ should be *faster* than comparable C
code - because the function disambiguation and subclassing takes place
at compile time.  I don't have any numbers to back me up, though.

>	On the issue of X: 
>X is a very large system (the Sever is about 2 MegaBytes on a Sun
>workstation), so the number of platforms it can be ported to is small
>(i.e., no 8080's and it won't work well with 8088's).

Hmmm.  My server (Xsun) is only at 1.3meg right now.  That's smaller
than my editor!  (GNU emacs, of course - ok, it's a little bloated)

Still, that's not *large* for a Unix system.  No, it's not going to
run on an ancient PC, but most Unix workstations being produced now
can deal with it (and many have it pre-installed, in some form).

>	On the specific case of InterViews:
>	InterViews is a nice academic environment.  By academic, I
>mean unsupported.  If something goes wrong either you have to fix it,
>or wait until the author does (this is from experience).

The same is true of the free distribution of X available from MIT.
BUT, when you have source code (and when the software is that well
written and tested), support isn't as much of an issue.  Also, if I
remember correctly, the X Consortium is adopting InterViews as the
default X-C++ interface.  I'm unsure of the exact details, but such a
move would place InterViews right alongside X as a standard.

>I hope that the two main groups working to standardize Unix and
>Unix-like operating systems (Unix International and the Open Software
>Foundation) will take the needs of users to be able to maintain the
>system into account, and I know that NeXT already has.

Funny, that: NeXT doesn't even allow you to use X as the default
windowing system.  You have to run it (at best) in a window under
NeXTStep.  I don't consider that very helpful.

I should mention that this is hardly an unbiased opionion (even if
there is such a beast).  I program for and love InterViews and C++.
brsmith at cs.umn.edu                <This space intentionally left almost blank.>

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