Notes on Setting up the Eclipse C++ IDE on Linux

Since I had recently setup my laptop with C++ version of Visual Studio 8 Express, I was curious about setting up a similar IDE environment on Linux. I initially tried to set up Anjuta DevStudio and I failed miserably. I am running CentOS 5.1. There does not appear to be a recent RPM of Anjuta. I stumbled badly when I tried to manually install the dependencies and quickly became inspired to look for an IDE solution that would set up as easily and quickly as Visual Studio Express. Eclipse was the obvious answer.

So I went to the Eclipse site and downloaded the Linux version of the Eclipse IDE for C/C++ Developers. After I had uncompressed the file I tried running Eclipse and it did not work. It was complaining that my version of Java needed to be at least 1.5. Although I had installed a newer version of Java JRE, Eclipse was finding the 1.4 version. To get Eclipse to work I had to modify the PATH statement so that it would find the verion in “/usr/java/jdk1.6.0_03/bin” first. The best way I found to fix this problem was by modifying the .bash_profile file and adding the following statement:

export JAVA_HOME=jdk1.6.0_03

and modifying the path statement to read:


After I logged out and logged back in, I could start Eclipse. To test my Eclipse setup I decided to use the Hello World program for CPPUnit. This is the traditional Hello World program with a little extra, a C++ unit testing framework. The steps I performed to build this program are:

  1. Created a new C++ Project. In my case I called it HelloWorldCPPUnit.
  2. Next I created a “Source Folder” that I called “src” and a “Source File” in that directory that I called “HelloWorldCPPUnit.cpp”. I copied all of the source code from into the file and saved it.
  3. Before you compile this program you need to download and install cppunit. The instructions for installing it are straightforward but you will need to do a few more things to get it to work with Eclipse.
    1. You will need to modify the project settings for the GCC C++ Compiler-Directories in Eclipse to add the path to the include files, “/usr/local/include/cppunit”. This adds a “-I” parameter for the compile.
    2. You should run the command, “./cppunit-config –libs” to see the library linking information. In my case it showed “-L/usr/local/lib -lcppunit -ldl”. I modified the project settings for the GCC C++ Linker-Libraries in Eclipse to add these libraries, ccpunit and dl, and the library search path, “/usr/local/lib”.
  4. The final setup step was to tell CentOS where to find ccpunit shared library. At this point the program will build but will not run because CentOS cannot find the run-time library for cppunit. The cppunit installation creates a shared library and puts it in the “/usr/local/lib” directory. To tell CentOS where to find it I had to do the following steps.
    1. As the user, Root, I created a file that I called “local.conf” with one statement in it, /usr/local/lib, in it. I saved this file in the “/etc/” directory.
    2. Then I ran the command, “/sbin/ldconfig”. This tells CentOS to update the links to the shared libraries.
  5. If everything is set up properly the program will build and run the simple unit test.

Overall Eclipse with CDT is slightly more difficult to set up then Visual Studio Express. Most of my difficulties occurred when I tried to go a little beyond the default configuration. Recently I tried to go slightly beyond the default configuration for Visual Studio Express. Since I had minor difficulties setting up both packages my gut feeling is that it was slightly easier to find answers to set up problems from the Internet for Visual Studio problems because there is a larger developer community specializing in Visual Studio. Of course, your mileage will vary! 😉