Borland has announced the local availability of its first Linux RAD (rapid application development) tool, Kylix, which the development platform vendor claims will move Linux into the mainstream.
Kylix is designed to meet the needs of those developers who have skills in application development for either Linux or Windows operating systems, and want a cross-platform development environment that caters for both.
For the Linux developer, Kylix offers a speedier development process with a visual design environment, featuring drag-and-drop component style functions, an optimising compiler and an interactive debugger.
"Linux is like developing in the DOS world in the 1980s," said Ray Bradbury, managing director of Borland Asia Pacific. "It's very labour-intensive. For business applications, you need RAD tools."
For developers less familiar with the Linux platform, Kylix is designed to migrate existing development skill sets from languages such as Borland Delphi and Microsoft Visual Basic for use in Linux application development. For example, Bradbury claims a developer can make minor changes to source code written in Delphi, and compile it on Kylix. The result - an application written in Delphi can run on Linux with 80-90 per cent of the code unchanged.
"There are a lot of Windows developers concerned that they also need to be developers for Linux and are hedging their bets with Kylix," said Bradbury.
He believes the Kylix tool is the missing link in pushing corporate acceptance of the Linux operating system. "Windows made it into corporations after starting at the user end with office productivity tools, before Microsoft moved into enterprise applications," he said. "Linux is the reverse, born in the server and now moving to the desktop."
Kylix ranges in price from $1958 for the desktop edition to $3932.50 for the server edition.
Photograph: Ray Bradbury, managing director Borland Asia Pacific