[thelist] Developing on Linux

Felix Miata mrmazda at ij.net
Tue Nov 27 07:43:11 CST 2007

On 2007/11/27 12:44 (GMT+0300) Fred Jones apparently typed:

> 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.

> 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.

> 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).

> 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. :)

I suggest you start your shopping trip with a physical visit to a Mac store.
If you make Mac your new PC choice, the learning curve should be short
enough. With a Mac, you have the option of installing Linux and/or windoz in
addition to OS X, either as multiboot (Parallels) or as virtual machine(s). A
Mac has the multimedia functions windoz has by default, whereas on free
downloaded Linux you have to add some bits from special or quasi-legal
repositories to achieve an imperfectly equivalent state. On Linux, "click
here to get the latest plugin" links usually do not work.

Before choosing a Linux distro, I suggest two things:

1-subscribe to the user help mailing lists of several distros. You can get a
better idea of the community quality that way than from hearsay. I do
Knoppix, Xandros, Mandriva, Fedora, OpenSUSE & Unbuntu, either off and on, or
full time. Of the six Ubuntu, seems to me to have the poorest competent
answers to questions asked ratio, Xandros the least traffic, Fedora the most
RTFM attitude, SUSE the most off topic noise. A less complicated option that
serves the same purpose is joining the respective channels on Freenode (IRC).

2-burn the live CDs of the distros you're considering, and try them. If they
have hardware issues on your system you'll know about it before making a
commitment of space and down time. Be sure to try both KDE and Gnome
desktops, and possibly XFCE and others. Gnome has infuriated me almost as
much as windoz whenever I've used it, so I normally only install KDE. Most
distros offer the option to install both, and easily switch between them at
login time, though not from their live CDs, due to the space constraint of a CD.

My file and web server runs OpenSUSE, but I have working installations of all
those six and more on my many machines.

Caveat: since last summer Xorg design has been going through some fairly
major changes, leaving people with certain hardware with more problems than
typical of distro releases of recent years. Depending on your hardware, you
might be better off  using a 6-9 month old distro, or waiting for the next
round of distro releases in the spring. The next versions should have the
long awaited KDE version 4.
"   A patriot without religion . . . is as great a
paradox, as an honest man without the fear of God."
	                             John Adams

 Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409

Felix Miata  ***  http://mrmazda.no-ip.com/

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