Linux for developers

tux_compThis piece must read a bit biased. Professionally I’ve been into full-fledged development on Windows for a few projects but I’m using Linux for more than a decade and I favour it to proprietary operating systems. There’s a reason Linux is known as the hackers’ OS (besides the fact it’s also the most hackable OS). This article is to explore the benefits of using Linux as a developer on a reference distro like Fedora or Ubuntu or openSUSE.

  • Linux comes with lots of stuff installed by default or in the default repos
    • Powerful terminal emulator with multiple shells
    • Editors: vim, emacs, kate, gedit
    • Compilers, interpreters, scripts: gcc, llvm, openjdk, shell, python, perl, ruby and much more
    • Assembly, parser: nasm, bison, flex, yacc
    • Debugger: gdb
    • Text processing: sed, awk
  • The powerful combination of ctags and cscope (for browsing code) is almost addictive and probably compulsory if you are developing over the network.
  • Quick help with tools and programming
    • man pages are invaluable for programming. memmove() or strtok() at your fingertips.
    • ASCII table (man ascii) or operator precedence (man operator)
    • Most of the packages and libraries being open source and free, source packages are readily available
  • Best of both the worlds
    • Windows users may miss Notepad++ and Source Insight on Linux, both run on Wine. Notepad++ has an under-development Qt clone, Notepadqq.

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