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Development Tools

How many developers are using Linux as their primary machine?

I am in the market for a new laptop, and I was leaning more towards the Linus way of doing things but am curious to know, what development tools people are using to achieve their goals on a linux box. Thanks.

Victor Morrow
Victor Morrow
Courses Plus Student 1,468 Points

I use primarily ubuntu. My web dev toolset is webstorm and inkscape for most of the things I do.

Nice!!! What machine is it installed on(Dell, HP,..)?

Victor Morrow
Victor Morrow
Courses Plus Student 1,468 Points

I use a lenovo. They seem to be fairly reliable in build and quality. Its from their consumer line not their business line. It originally had windows 8 but I couldn't stand it after a few months. It also has a touch screen. Now I'm going to see if I can get creative cloud to run on it. Then I'll have something.

Zachary Green
Zachary Green
16,359 Points

I would say it depends on you deployment env. Linux is used a lot because of it being opensource which makes it easier to customize you env if you have more control of the env

2 Answers

Ian VanSchooten
Ian VanSchooten
3,549 Points

I use a Linux laptop (running Linux Mint 17) which was originally a Windows 7 machine. I used the license that came with the laptop in a virtual machine, so I can still run Windows if I need it, which is rare. Keep in mind if you plan to do design work as well as development, most design tools (notably Adobe, but others as well) seem to be primarily on Mac and Windows. I sometimes wish I had a Mac, but mostly I'm happy with Linux. As a side benefit, I've learned a lot of system administration and command line which is useful when setting up and working on servers (which are nearly all Linux).

Thanks Ian, I am looking to use the machine for development purposes. Web and mobile app building. It seems that I can get more power much cheaper going this route. Would you mind sharing some of your development sdk's your using? Thanks.

Ian VanSchooten
Ian VanSchooten
3,549 Points

I'm not sure if all these are technically SDKs, but some of the crucial tools I'm using are:

  • Sublime Text 3 as a text editor
  • Git as version control system
  • Vagrant with VirtualBox (for managing virtual machines)
  • Apache for web server
  • CodePen.io for prototyping

I've also started playing around with EmberJS for building web apps, and am pretty impressed so far. The Treehouse course for EmberJS was very helpful. I haven't done any mobile app development yet. My goal right now is to use a headless installation of Drupal as a backend connected to an EmberJS web app frontend and potentially native mobile apps at some point. We'll see how it goes...

M Minnix
M Minnix
5,179 Points

Most of my background has been in OSX but I made the transition to the Linux desktop a couple of years ago. Flavor: Xubuntu on a T-series Lenovo Thinkpad (highly recommended...never had a driver issue or other problem). There are times when I miss some of the slick apps on OSX but for the most part, I'm very happy to now be completely in the open source world.

Dev tools:

  • Brackets or Sublime for standard HTML/CSS/JS code work (leaning more and more Brackets)
  • gedit for Python and Bash script writing (learning Python now)
  • Mousepad (standard text editor on Xubuntu now) - amazing fast editor just for quick fixes and writing
  • XAMPP for my Apache and MySQL...tricky to install but works well now
  • Filezilla for FTP
  • Bash Terminal for everything. Silly to say...but I'm forcing myself to learn this and amazed how efficient and powerful the command line can be. I have it hotkeyed and pop it open (ALT + spacebar) constantly now.
  • Mix of Firefox and Chrome Developer Tools (dig into these...amazing how much these offer)
  • Inkscape / GIMP - people overlook these for design and drawing...rougher than their Adobe counterparts but still greatly underappreciated. I've done great things in these...for free.
  • Shutter - screen grab.
  • Web apps - indeed, so many things you don't need local...as someone mentioned, Codepen.io is good for prototyping. Balsamiq for wireframing. On and on... Just as good on a Linux box as any other.

Again, developing in the Linux world can seem a little bit messier sometimes but I highly recommend it for anyone. Overall, I'm far more efficient and effective and I love my set-up more than I ever did my Mac (or Windows box years ago). I'd push Xubuntu (or any other XFCE distribution) especially- sooooooo fast and customizable.

Update: For all the money you save (A LOT) using a Linux box over a OSX or Windows machine, if you haven't already, get yourself a good web hosting account somewhere. It really helps to deal with real world implementation and become familiar with the techical issues of administrating a site.

Ian VanSchooten
Ian VanSchooten
3,549 Points

You mentioned key binding to show a terminal. Guake (https://github.com/Guake/guake) is a great dropdown terminal that you can show and hide with a single keypress. Works very well for me.

M Minnix
M Minnix
5,179 Points

Thanks, I'll check that out. Indeed, the command line only makes sense when it's easily accessible. And then it quickly becomes indispensible. Doing tasks "quickly" becomes doing things pretty much instantaneously.