[thelist] Developing on Linux

Phil Turmel pturmel-webdev at turmel.org
Tue Nov 27 06:22:06 CST 2007

Fred Jones wrote:
> I am hoping to get a new PC soon and I am strongly considering (finally) 
> switching to Linux. I am hoping that once I get used to it, it will be a 
> productivity enhancement.

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

> I am considering Ubuntu, as it seems to have a nice user community and 
> (most importantly) it seems easy to use. I don't want to invest a lot of 
> time installing and learning the details of Linux right away--I much 
> prefer to be up and running FAST and learn as I go. Any feedback 
> regarding this choice of Ubuntu are much appreciated. Most important 
> thing for me in my new OS--easy to install, easy to install software and 
> easy to use.

There WILL be a learning curve.  I've installed various flavors 
of Linux (Redhat, Gentoo, CentOS, Debian, Kubuntu) for a variety 
of purposes (Server, Laptop, Desktop), and I've yet to get 
everything the way I want without resort to the command line.

I recently installed Kubuntu 7.10 on the family desktop, as Win2K 
is more than a little vulnerable nowadays, and I didn't want to 
spring for an OS upgrade.  It was a breeze.  I completed the 
initial install in less than two hours, with the bulk of the time 
spent browsing the package list for goodies to add on.

The only command line requirement was to install an oddball 
webcam driver so I could play with the skype beta (still not 
quite right--audio problems).

> Aside from that, I have weaned myself from Windows-only products as much 
> as I can. These tools all have Linux builds:
> Thunderbird, Firefox, Filezilla, Skype, Apache, MySQL and PHP
> Aside from those, I use UltraEdit and I am now trying to learn Eclipse, 
> which has very good reviews. Trillian I also use but I can handle Gaim 
> (Gaim on Windows, however, I think is less friendly than Trillian).

I also use UltraEdit, and was delighted to find a close cousin in 
Linux: Kate (part of the KDE desktop).  Kate is particularly 
convenient when working with remote files through SSH, as it 
seamlessly integrates with the network "kioslaves" in KDE.  Any 
SSH remote folders you set up on your desktop will be directly 
available in Kate's File->Open dialog.  And it remembers which 
folder you navigated to, something UltraEdit lacks.

Kate is my primary reason for preferring KDE over Gnome, which 
prompted the selection of Kubuntu over Ubuntu.

> The one tool which I have not replaced, however, is my time tracker: 
> http://www.allnetic.com/?Tracker which I use on a constant basis. I see 
> on Google a few tools that claim to do this basic functionality for 
> Linux so I can check those out.
> If anyone has any suggestions for me regarding this whole project, i.e. 
> switching to Linux for my workstation, as in encouragement, 
> discouragement (it is a lot of work, it seems, and I am not 100% 
> convinced it is worth it, but I think so), tips or pointers (like join 
> Ubuntu mailing list X) etc, I would be glad to hear. :)

If I could replace the industrial software I need that runs only 
on Windows, I would switch entirely.  In the meantime, I 
dual-boot my laptop, and I've started testing each of those apps 
in a VM under Linux.

You won't regret switching.



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