mpide looks like the Arduino IDE because they started with the Arduino/processing IDE code.
I haven't use the Uc32 (didn't know it existed till now) but I have used the Uno32 with mpide quite a bit.
I don't use Windows or Apple stuff so I have no idea how well it works in those environments.
My opinion is that the h/w is a better design than the Due. Cheaper too.
One of the main reasons I like the h/w better is that the chipkit boards use a processor that is 5v tolerant.
This means that many 5v shields will "just work" vs on DUE you have to be careful or
you can blow up your pins.
mpide is nice. I've corrected a few minor issues in their platforms.txt mainly to correct the ARDUINO define.
I recently went through an exercise to get the pic32 core to run using the new Arduino 1.5 IDE
See this thread: http://www.chipkit.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1877
Just be aware that the pic32 core is not up to date with all the last minute changes
the Arduino team threw in going into Arduino 1.0 so view the pic32 more as a 0023 core.
Also keep in mind that because the Arduino core code is so limiting, and slow in some cases,
that many libraries are stepping outside the "Arduino" environment and talking directly to AVR
registers. This makes the code non portable and hence will not work on the chipkit boards.
Having looked extensively at the IDEs, and how they interact with the toolsets
I like mpide better than Arduino pre 1.x IDE or the Arduino 1.0, 1.0.1, or 1.0.2 IDEs
However, I like the way new 1.5 IDE interfaces to the tools better than mpide
The 1.5 IDE is MUCH easier to create/modify a board(s).txt file than on mpide.
Another positive thing for both mpide and Arduino 1.5 IDE is that now you can modify
compiler & linker options all the way down to a per board basis. This allows you to tweak
compile options for things like source level debugging
or even alter the link options to link in the floating point versions
of the xxprintf() code. In the past you could not do this.
I'd also say that both the Arduino team and the mpide folks need to start working
on better separating the IDE from the toolsets and cores.
Moving forward it has the potential to start to become a disaster to have
to rev and release everything when there is a simple change in just one of the cores.
i.e. just because you update DUE code you don't want to have to release an
entire "IDE" package when nothing has changed in the AVR code.
pm me your email address if you want to discuss further or get your chipkit stuff running
under the Arduino 1.5 IDE.