Cross-Platform Delphi - My Two Cents About a Linux Version [Edit]

All current versions of Windows NT can run x86 code.

Obviously 32 bit Windows can. 64 bit Windows uses either compatibility mode (x64) or a built-in (into Windows) emulator (IA-64). A 64 bit (i.e. x64) compiler would be useful but isn't strictly needed for crossplatform purposes in the Windows world.

Most installations of Mac OS X can run x86 code.

I am pretty sure support for PowerPC is not required for new developer tools.

But Linux is all over the place.

Most Linux installations can run x86 code. This includes x86, x64 and IBM PowerPC installations. But software deployment is different for Linux. Linux users usually download source and compile themselves or they use package managers. Most expect software to be available for their computer regardless of hardware platform. PowerPC, IA-64, MIPS, and ARM installations are common enough. Plus there is a reluctance on the Linux side to touch proprietary software.

I am assuming Delphi for Linux will be x86-only. But I am wondering whether it wouldn't have a greater impact if it also supported compiling to PowerPC/MIPS/ARM.

While developers will be very glad to see a solution for the holy grail of Windows-Mac cross-platform development, I doubt that many Linux developers would want to use a platform that costs money AND limits them to one architecture. On Linux Delphi competes with GCC and QT. And one feature GCC and QT have is that it compiles to anything. Plus, most Linux developers expect that their software can easily be modified to run on Solaris etc..

All-in-all I guess my point is that while x86 is the architecture for Windows and Mac OS it isn't quite as clear for Linux. Perhaps Delphi for Linux should not compile to x86 but to unreadable C++ and then use GCC to target the actual system? Just a thought...

Edited by: Andrew Brehm on Oct 13, 2010 11:39 AM
0
Andrew
10/13/2010 10:39:20 AM
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Hello,

in a perfect world I'd agree to your idea, but if resources are
constrained (e.g. by the fact that EMBT need to make mony to fund his
developers) I'd say better start on x86 and look for those other
plattforms later. Do one thing well enough for a start but not many
things but then deliver half backed solutions.

Greetings

Markus
0
Markus
7/21/2010 7:54:56 PM
Today there are several vendors that provide RAD or semi RAD development 
tools for a specific runtime platform. Eg. VS for the .Net platform (which 
primarely runs on Win32/64), Adobe with Flex/Flash on the FlashPlayer 
platform, Eclipse variations on the Java platform etc.

There are also many vendors that provide database access, different levels 
of multitier support, web page development, GUI development etc. But again 
typically for one specific runtime platform.

BUT currently no other major vendor is able to provide native code 
compilation for multiple platforms via true RAD tools.

And THATS where Delphi will have its single unique sellingpoint.

The work that is being made for Mac/Linux platform support is (and should 
not) imo be the end goal.
The work is imo only a required prerequisite for "Delphi everywhere".

Next logical step, when Mac/Linux/Win64 bit has been reached, is ofcourse to 
target viable portable platforms (think Android, Symbian, PalmOS or if Apple 
one day figures out that their current SDK policy is not sustainable, then 
also iOS).

There are alot of work before one gets there, if ever, but if Embarcadero 
succeeds in 3 things:
- Developing the Delphi language itself, and the VCL to keep it up to date
- Develops the x platform support as a plugable architecture
- Ofcourse stays alive.... they got to sell something while all this is 
happening

then I am quite sure that they will have a major hit between their hands, 
that have a very good chance of being a leader instead of a follower in this 
game, and that will take major market shares from other competitors.

Im all for the cross platform development in Delphi. Focusing on Win32/64 
will, on a short term, make people happy, but it wont make any dents in 
overall market shares.


-- 
best regards

Kim Madsen
TeamC4D
www.components4developers.com

The best components for the best developers
High availability, high performance loosely coupled n-tier products


....
0
Kim
7/23/2010 12:51:21 PM
> 
> With a back end compiler architecture - we are not limited to just
> Intel (x86, x64) only.  It will be possible to plug in any number of
> optimizers and code emitters - whether this work is done by Embarcadero
> engineers, chip manufacturers or other engineers and community members.
> 
have you ever considered opening up the Lexical and Language
parser phase so that we can write our own DSLs.
0
David
10/13/2010 11:48:44 AM
On 10/13/2010 6:39 AM, Andrew Brehm wrote:
> All current versions of Windows NT can run x86 code.
>
> Obviously 32 bit Windows can. 64 bit Windows uses either compatibility mode
> (x64) or a built-in (into Windows) emulator (IA-64). A 64 bit (i.e. x64)
> compiler would be useful but isn't strictly needed for crossplatform purposes
> in the Windows world.
>
> Most installations of Mac OS X can run x86 code.
>
> I am pretty sure support for PowerPC is not required for new developer
> tools.
>
> But Linux is all over the place.
>
> Most Linux installations can run x86 code. This includes x86, x64 and IBM
> PowerPC installations. But software deployment is different for Linux. Linux
> users usually download source and compile themselves or they use package
> managers. Most expect software to be available for their computer regardless
> of hardware platform. PowerPC, IA-64, MIPS, and ARM installations are common
> enough. Plus there is a reluctance on the Linux side to touch proprietary
> software.
>
> I am assuming Delphi for Linux will be x86-only. But I am wondering whether
> it wouldn't have a greater impact if it also supported compiling to
> PowerPC/MIPS/ARM.
>
> While developers will be very glad to see a solution for the holy grail of
> Windows-Mac cross-platform development, I doubt that many Linux developers
> would want to use a platform that costs money AND limits them to one
> architecture. On Linux Delphi competes with GCC and QT. And one feature GCC
> and QT have is that it compiles to anything. Plus, most Linux developers
> expect that their software can easily be modified to run on Solaris etc..
>
> All-in-all I guess my point is that while x86 is the architecture for Windows
> and Mac OS it isn't quite as clear for Linux. Perhaps Delphi for Linux should
> not compile to x86 but to unreadable C++ and then use GCC to target the
> actual system? Just a thought...
>

Except for maybe some embedded system or vertical market software, I personally 
don't see a lot of desktop GUI development for linux in my future, though that 
may change.

Creating non-gui console and server apps including apache modules or FastCGI is 
what would be most interesting for me.  Though you can do that now with Lazarus/FPC.

--
Warm Regards,

Lee
0
Lee
10/13/2010 12:36:36 PM

"Andrew Brehm" wrote in message news:296667@forums.embarcadero.com...
> All current versions of Windows NT can run x86 code.
>
> Obviously 32 bit Windows can. 64 bit Windows uses either compatibility 
> mode (x64) or a built-in (into Windows) emulator (IA-64). A 64 bit (i.e. 
> x64) compiler would be useful but isn't strictly needed for crossplatform 
> purposes in the Windows world.
>
> Most installations of Mac OS X can run x86 code.
>
> I am pretty sure support for PowerPC is not required for new developer 
> tools.
>
> But Linux is all over the place.
>
> Most Linux installations can run x86 code. This includes x86, x64 and IBM 
> PowerPC installations. But software deployment is different for Linux. 
> Linux users usually download source and compile themselves or they use 
> package managers. Most expect software to be available for their computer 
> regardless of hardware platform. PowerPC, IA-64, MIPS, and ARM 
> installations are common enough. Plus there is a reluctance on the Linux 
> side to touch proprietary software.
>
> I am assuming Delphi for Linux will be x86-only. But I am wondering 
> whether it wouldn't have a greater impact if it also supported compiling 
> to PowerPC/MIPS/ARM.
>
> While developers will be very glad to see a solution for the holy grail of 
> Windows-Mac cross-platform development, I doubt that many Linux developers 
> would want to use a platform that costs money AND limits them to one 
> architecture. On Linux Delphi competes with GCC and QT. And one feature 
> GCC and QT have is that it compiles to anything. Plus, most Linux 
> developers expect that their software can easily be modified to run on 
> Solaris etc..
>
> All-in-all I guess my point is that while x86 is the architecture for 
> Windows and Mac OS it isn't quite as clear for Linux. Perhaps Delphi for 
> Linux should not compile to x86 but to unreadable C++ and then use GCC to 
> target the actual system? Just a thought...
>
> Edited by: Andrew Brehm on Oct 13, 2010 11:39 AM

How about some kind of 'virtual machine' which could have different versions 
compiled for particular processors and OSes, then your common cross-platform 
code could run on that? :-)

CB
0
Charles
10/13/2010 1:34:46 PM
[snip]
> 
> How about some kind of 'virtual machine' which could have different versions 
> compiled for particular processors and OSes, then your common cross-platform 
> code could run on that? :-)
> 
> CB

Hm, why are you trying to reinvent Java? ;-)

To answer the point the OP made: I guess the Linux compiler would be
mostly attractive for the server side. GUI features are not that
important there and x86 for a start could suffice.

If you look at the roadmap other targets like ARM are mentioned for the
future.

Greetings

Markus
0
Markus
10/13/2010 4:05:02 PM
Am 13.10.2010 18:05, Markus Humm wrote:
> [snip]
>>
>> How about some kind of 'virtual machine' which could have different versions
>> compiled for particular processors and OSes, then your common cross-platform
>> code could run on that? :-)
>>
>> CB
>
> Hm, why are you trying to reinvent Java? ;-)

Maybe because .Net did it too - and was quite successful ;-)

-- 
Michael Justi
0
Michael
10/13/2010 6:06:56 PM
Michael Justin wrote:

> > Hm, why are you trying to reinvent Java? ;-)
> 
> Maybe because .Net did it too - and was quite successful ;-)

	...and LLVM, which is conceptually similar, but "closer to the metal"
than those two. Indeed, if starting a new, cross-platform language from
scratch, you'd need a pretty darn good reason to *not* use one of these.

-- 
Craig Stuntz · Vertex Systems Corp. · Columbus, OH
Delphi/InterBase Weblog : http://blogs.teamb.com/craigstuntz/
0
Craig
10/13/2010 6:25:41 PM
> "Lee Jenkins" <lee@nospam.net> wrote in message 
> news:296695@forums.embarcadero.com...
> Creating non-gui console and server apps including apache modules or 
> FastCGI is
> what would be most interesting for me. Though you can do that now with 
> Lazarus/FPC.
> Lee

Hi Lee,

what about XML, SOAP, webservice and clientdataset compatibility issues 
between Lazarus/FPC and Delphi?

Hür
0
Hur
10/14/2010 7:32:36 AM
Craig,

>>> Hm, why are you trying to reinvent Java? ;-)
>> 
>> Maybe because .Net did it too - and was quite successful ;-)
> 
> 	...and LLVM, which is conceptually similar, but "closer to the metal"
> than those two. Indeed, if starting a new, cross-platform language from
> scratch, you'd need a pretty darn good reason to *not* use one of these.

from what i hear, the LLVM backend *is* being used (or at least 
considered) for the new compiler efforts at Embarcadero.

Of course, LLVM and it's Clang frontend is also what Apple is betting 
on, moving forward, and from what i'm seeing (LLVM 1.5 has been an 
option, tough not the default, in Xcode for a while now, and 2.0 is in 
the new Xcode 4 and looking even more impressive) it's really great - a 
huge step forward from GCC, for sure.

marc
0
marc
10/14/2010 7:41:55 AM
On 10/14/2010 3:32 AM, Hur Akdulger wrote:
>> "Lee Jenkins"<lee@nospam.net>  wrote in message
>> news:296695@forums.embarcadero.com...
>> Creating non-gui console and server apps including apache modules or
>> FastCGI is
>> what would be most interesting for me. Though you can do that now with
>> Lazarus/FPC.
>> Lee
>
> Hi Lee,
>
> what about XML, SOAP, webservice and clientdataset compatibility issues
> between Lazarus/FPC and Delphi?
>

I don't do ClientDateset, I've been using OPF/ORM frameworks like tiOPF for a 
few years now.  But the compatibility problems between common functionality 
classes like those you mentioned are a bit of a pain. I just try to abstract as 
much as I can.

For instance, I'm playing around with writing a utility which parses XML schema 
files to build base object pascal classes and their respective ORM 
functionality, a bit like Propel or Doctrine in PHP.  In this case, the 
reading/writing of XML presents a problem since each have different classes, so 
I'm simply abstracting out the XML reading/writing portion.

TORMMapper
   TBaseSchemaReader

Where TBaseSchemaReader will expose methods like

..ReadSchema(const AFile: string; AProject: TORMProject); overload;
..ReadSchema(AStream: TStream; AProject: TORMProject); overload;

....where the XML schema file is eventually transformed into a native OP object 
class (TORMProject) with it's composed sub structures, etc.  Extra work, but a 
percentage of my applications, I want to be XPlat so the extra work is worth it 
for me in these cases.  Besides, what's an extra abstraction amongst the many 
that are already required in an app of any significance, right? :-)

I know Lazarus has a SOAP implementation:
http://wiki.lazarus.freepascal.org/Web_Service_Toolkit

But there is no doubt extra work in abstracting the details of each IDE's 
implementation.

3rd Party libraries might help.  For instance, the JSON library maintained by 
www.progdiggy.com (http://www.progdigy.com/?page_id=6) is compatible between 
Delphi and FPC.  Though, when Delphi DOES support xplat, we may see support for 
FPC drop from some of the already few components/libraries which support both 
now.  Who knows?


--
Warm Regards,

Lee
0
Lee
10/14/2010 12:13:57 PM
Andrew Brehm wrote:

> All current versions of Windows NT can run x86 code.
> 
> Obviously 32 bit Windows can. 64 bit Windows uses either
> compatibility mode (x64) or a built-in (into Windows) emulator
> (IA-64). A 64 bit (i.e. x64) compiler would be useful but isn't
> strictly needed for crossplatform purposes in the Windows world.
> 
> Most installations of Mac OS X can run x86 code.
> 
> I am pretty sure support for PowerPC is not required for new
> developer tools.
> 
> But Linux is all over the place.
> 
> Most Linux installations can run x86 code. This includes x86, x64 and
> IBM PowerPC installations. But software deployment is different for
> Linux. Linux users usually download source and compile themselves or
> they use package managers. Most expect software to be available for
> their computer regardless of hardware platform. PowerPC, IA-64, MIPS,
> and ARM installations are common enough. Plus there is a reluctance
> on the Linux side to touch proprietary software.
> 
> I am assuming Delphi for Linux will be x86-only. But I am wondering
> whether it wouldn't have a greater impact if it also supported
> compiling to PowerPC/MIPS/ARM.
> 
> While developers will be very glad to see a solution for the holy
> grail of Windows-Mac cross-platform development, I doubt that many
> Linux developers would want to use a platform that costs money AND
> limits them to one architecture. On Linux Delphi competes with GCC
> and QT. And one feature GCC and QT have is that it compiles to
> anything. Plus, most Linux developers expect that their software can
> easily be modified to run on Solaris etc..
> 
> All-in-all I guess my point is that while x86 is the architecture for
> Windows and Mac OS it isn't quite as clear for Linux. Perhaps Delphi
> for Linux should not compile to x86 but to unreadable C++ and then
> use GCC to target the actual system? Just a thought...
> 
> Edited by: Andrew Brehm on Oct 13, 2010 11:39 AM

The only real issue I see is

Can we get devexpress & tmscontrols or so for QT :). If you use some
control library these days and do decide to convert/start over ...I
just don't feel like reinventing the wheel for another time. The 3rd
party controls will be the most important in wether the max/linux
version will be a hit or not. Not to forget some reporting engine or so
0
Kristof
10/14/2010 1:23:31 PM
Reply:

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