How to find a library

Simon Barner barner at
Fri Apr 25 07:36:35 PDT 2003

> : Most of the ports also install documentation (quite important for programming),
> : either as man pages, or in $(PREFIX)/share/doc/<name of the ports>.
> That's exactly what I needed to know.  Excellent!

I forgot one more thing: Every port has a pointer to the according web page at
the end of its pkg-descr file.

> What I basically am looking for is a gui toolkit that works well with C++
> and looks professional.

The first decision you have to make is whether you want to write an application
for one of the two major integrated desktops, GNOME and KDE.

The latter is built with the QT toolkit, a cross-plattform GUI toolkit. You can
also use QT only (without KDE support). QT has more than GUI mechanisms, but it
also hides OS specific things like I/O, ... from the programmer. IIRC, the MFC
also has lots of these things, so QT might be the way to go. I think you have to
buy a license for commercial use, but there is also a GPL-licensed version of

GNOME is based on the GTK-toolkit, which is written in C, but there are also C++
bindings (called gtk-- and gtk--2 for GTK 2). Again, you can use GTK(2) without
GNOME, too.

Another interesting alternative seems to be wxwindows
(, which is another cross-platform GUI-toolkit. It
uses the operating systems default toolkit to draw its widgets (unlike QT, for
example), such that you can built applications with a native look-and-feel. In
the FreeBSD ports collection, there is the GTK based version of wxwindows
(called wxgtk).

One remark: I have to admit that I have not built any larger application with
any of the above toolkits, since I am writing CLI applications most of the time.
One friend of mine has recommended WxWindows to me, and a another one QT.
Perhaps you should browser through the documentation and the sample applications
that most likely come along with them.

> Along with that, I need to decide on a build manager of some type.  I don't
> want to depend on an IDE, nor do I want to spend time editing makefiles.

I do not know of an alternative to makefiles. The best is have a look on an
existing one. One stumbling block might be, that FreeBSD uses pmake
(/usr/share/doc/psd/12.make), whereas many applications that come from a Linux
background use GNU gmake.

> autoconf a good choice for this, or is there a better alternative used more
> often in BSD?

AFAIK autoconf is used to write software that runs on the various flavours of
unix. The built process itself is makefile driven, too.

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