I use Ubuntu as my development machine and I like to evangelize about it. But actually it doesn’t matter at all. It’s the functionality I run that is the most important. And since that is the case, the underlying OS becomes irrelevant. That’s why I tend to choose the OS with the smallest footprint. Which would be a Linux based OS.
So here is why, and how, I use Ubuntu.
This picture is Ubuntu running in Parallels, which looks great in high res on the MacBook Pro Retina screen.
Some Linux advantages over another OS
There are some advantages of running Ubuntu (or another Linux distro):
- system requirements are low, you can happily use older hardware
- the software is open source and free (as in ‘costs nothing’, although I donate to my favourite open source projects like LibreOffice and Ubuntu itself).
- installation is easy, however installing Windows is easy too.
- installation is fast because Ubuntu has a smaller footprint than Windows (8 GB vs 20 GB, and then Ubuntu is considered large in comparison with e.g. Puppy Linux)
- installation of software is a delight, because of the packaging method (apt, yum, rpm, pacman and so forth). With a package manager you do not need to browse to websites to grab a copy
- Updating is just as simple apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
- If you prefer to work with the keyboard and in the terminal, Linux is your best fried. Just choose your terminal, your favourite shell, your favourite editor and your good to do any kind of task
So how do I use Ubuntu?
- I am a keyboard user. Ubuntu is very friendly for keyboard users! Especially the Dash is very handy:
- As IDE I use Subtext and Vim. In Vim I us the NERDTree. Vim deserves a dedicated post. It’s an extremely versatile editor that lives in the terminal and it is very small (6 MB). It has a steep learning curve. But when you get the hang of it you’ll notice how powerful it is. And Vim is ubiquitous. It’s everywhere (as Vi on every Linux machine). Once you know vi, you can deal with every Linux machine out there.
- I use Robomongo to browse Mongo databases.
- The Gimp is a great Photoshop replacement, especially now that you can enable single Windows!
- Chrome is my mainbrowser. I use the apps a lot so I have access to them on every machine.
- Last but not least: I use XMind for mindmapping. It is multiplatform. And I love it. It too deserves a dedicated post.
So I use Ubuntu
And yes, I can do all above mentioned things on my Mac and Windows machine as well, but going the Ubuntu way the footprint is the smallest.