Need help finding a C++ IDE for Windows XP under MIT license

Discussion of development of software for any "obsolete" computer or video game system.
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Need help finding a C++ IDE for Windows XP under MIT license

Post by 8bitMicroGuy » Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:37 pm


I've been looking for a set of C++ tools for making GUI apps such as my own version of MS Paint, Sound Recorder, etc. for the purposes of retro enthusiasm, nostalgia, preserving and saving old tech with great utilities such as right-click media converters I've always needed as a Windows XP kid.
Unfortunately, I cannot find anything that I can be sure of being without some proprietary and/or GPL-ish copyleft licenses. Is there any out-of-the-box C++ IDE that I can just install or download as a ZIP file as I would do with any other software in the Windows XP times? It needs to be MIT licensed and properly documented so that I know how to install it and use it and how to troubleshoot like how Windows XP used to be documented for everyone to understand.
wxWidgets seems like a slippery ice of a borderline broken promise with wxSmith and wxFormBuilder and CodeBlocks being GPL'd just like all nonfree compilers that are not in the LLVM/Clang world. I've been looking all over for something that could simply be "download and you own it" like Godot Engine, but Windows XP is too old for that.

Yes, I know that Windows XP has vulnerabilities; furthermore it's why I want to wrap my Windows 10 or Linux host browser/apps with selfbots that send commands over a virtual COM port to my VM where my program can pick up that COM port signal (just like with Arduino) in order to convert it all into Windows XP-ish UX/UI look and feel. For example, I could make Discord look like Windows Live Messenger or YouTube look like some daydreamed Windows Media Player.

Many games and software could run fast without the Windows 10 bloat and the dread of privacy invasion (e.g. ads about what I spoke and never typed) or Linux's grub rescues that might emerge whenever I change something. The software I wish to run includes: GTA San Andreas, Heroes 3 of Might and Magic, Neighbours from Hell, DOS games (Dangerous Dave, Doom, etc.) and all of the YouTuber tools that Pewdiepie, MatPat, James Rolfe (AVGN), Yogscast, Annoying Orange and other 2010's celebrities used to use for making YouTube videos at high quality and stable FPS. With today's hypervisor/virtualization accelleration hardware and VirtualBox wrapping it all up together, I believe I could experience the times of Windows XP fully which I couldn't due to a bad computer with HyperCam 2 cringefest and 700MHz and 328MB of RAM, meanwhile everyone had the best gear that lasts to this very day and just throw it out into the garbage can ignorantly of the worth of their unbreakable computers.

This is hard to Google; YES, I CANNOT Google it myself considering that search engines index Search Engine Optimized websites of Flat UI and all that's not Windows XP-ish just because the retro websites don't conform to the SEO standards. Even using quotemarks doesn't work. The only exception is when someone uploads retro content and drives a huge traffic of hypetrain which temporarily recommends old videos and coments are like "2009, nope, 2010, nope, etc. 2019 YouTube search ranking finally works correctly!", but such exceptions are scarce. I feel like back in the days of the TV and Radio where it was hard for a scarce person to find what they like, except today I cannot even explain it to anyone who hasn't studied SEO in college because they'll slander me for a tinfoil hat flatearth conspiracy theorist.

Considering this lament, could you please save my time, and potentially the time of many who search for this, by providing the links of what you have seen useful throughout your experience?

Thank you very much for your time.
Please excuse me for my inability to form this any shorter. I just want to avoid alternative questions of "Why are you doing X and not Y?". It's like if I ask what's the time and someone explains me the entire history of clocks, and then I gotta explain how timezone formats work, and then I get bullied for "complexifying stuff". -.-'''''

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Re: Need help finding a C++ IDE for Windows XP under MIT lic

Post by rainwarrior » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:19 pm

I had a reasonably good experience with wxWidgets, but I haven't tried to use any visual tools for building UI with it, just building them in code directly. The main thing I like about wxWidgets is that it uses native GUI elements for each platform. This comes with some drawbacks of flexibility/consistency across platforms... but it sounds like you only want to target XP anyway.

I don't know anything about wxFormBuilder or CodeBlocks, but I don't understand your complaint about their license... are you trying to build GUI, or are you trying to create a new GUI building app? The wxWidgets runtime itself is MIT license, very permissive. That form builder application might be GPL, but unless you need to release some fork of the builder itself without source, what's the license problem?

As far as things that you can just download and use to make windows GUI programs, I personally think the easiest thing is Visual Studio's C# environment. If you dial the version back a bit you can use it with XP. If you need a non-proprietary runtime, Mono can replace .NET, but I wouldn't recommend trying this. To use its form builder effectively you have to get used to the ways it generates boilerplate code and kinda get immersed in those practices, but once you do it can be a snap to just quickly build GUI Windows programs.

Other popular options that I've used less:
  • FLTK - Lightweight cross-platform GUI library. Custom/non-native look. Library GPL = you can use it freely if unmodified, but if you want to make changes to it, it becomes GPL.
  • QT - Heavyweight cross-platform GUI library. Non-native. (I'm not a big fan, but it's got a lot of features and tools.) LGPL, GPL, or separate commercial license.

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Re: Need help finding a C++ IDE for Windows XP under MIT lic

Post by Oziphantom » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:18 am

For XP there is basically 1 option, Visual Studio, its was and still is the best code development tool there is, and when it comes to a GUI in windows, nothing even get close.. So nobody wasted their time competing with it. You can get XWindows stuff working on XP I think, it's nasty though, but the "FOSS" alternative. GTK2 will also work on XP I think, see GIMP et al. But an uphill battle every step. Maybe an old version of Eclipse, just be prepared to type your code as if you are on a typewriter, it's that slow.

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Re: Need help finding a C++ IDE for Windows XP under MIT lic

Post by 8bitMicroGuy » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:05 am

Found something!


This will be my home.

However, the latest version had some error about being unable to open collect2.exe. So I downloaded an old portable version and it works great! The only problem is that the old version doesn't have a LLVM/Clang configuration available. I'll take a look at the forum.

I could easily compile examples there, browse dependencies, read the documentation, edit code, paint drawing resources, move controls around, etc.. It's just perfect.

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Re: Need help finding a C++ IDE for Windows XP under MIT license

Post by ShiningSun » Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:37 am

I think WXWidgets is anything but nasty, I personally had all around good experiences with it (I find it very good myself). Then again I don't use XP though so. I guess is cool that you were able to find what you wanted anyway

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