How Linux is a better OS for Software Developers, Yes, Linux provides you lots of features and this article will help you to understand that.
Let’s take a quick look at what Linux has to offer and suggest some great Linux distributions that you might want to check out for yourself.
What is Linux?
Linux is a type of operating system like Windows, iOS, macOS, etc.
It is a very popular operating system. In fact, the Android operating system is built on top of the Linux kernel, so it could be said that the Linux kernel is the foundation on which Android is built.
But Linux also powers many other Internet and business servers, including numerous stock exchanges around the world. It has been around since the mid-1990s or so. Linux is literally everywhere today.
What this means in practice is that the operating system, unlike many of its competitors, is incredibly customizable. Many different aspects, not just apps, can be swapped and experimented with to suit your specific needs and tastes.
Linux users can also choose core components, for example, which system displays graphics and what does not.
However, it is important to note that the term “Linux” is a bit misleading. Technically speaking, any Linux operating system consists of a combination of the GNU software with a Linux kernel. The former is actually a standalone operating system that was originally designed to replace Unix.
“GNU is an acronym for” GNU is not UNIX! “It is a replacement for UNIX and does not contain UNIX-based code. In addition, this operating system contains an extensive collection of software.”
In the rest of the article, we will refer to GNU / Linux simply as Linux for short. You should also know that the use of any of these acronyms alone is controversial.
Is Linux good for developers?
As we’ve already mentioned above, Linux is widely considered one of the best-operating systems out there. This is especially true for software programmers.
Your choice of the operating system, as we described in a previous article, will ultimately depend on your personal taste, environmental software development needs, etc.
However, there are a large number of programmers who trust the benefits of Linux over its competitors. This is for a number of reasons, but arguments tend to praise its open-source nature and overall user-friendly ecosystem.
There are lots of reasons programmer loves Linux are as follows:
1. You can’t get any cheaper than free
Linux, being open-source, is free to download and install on your computer. This makes it ideal for software developers, whether they are hobbyists, students, aspiring programmers, or professionals.
Since there is no upfront financial cost, the only cost to you is understanding. Of course, this excludes the cost of getting your hands on a Linux-compatible computer (which is quite common).
Most of the software is open source as well, which is a nice bonus.
2. Linux is very easy to install (usually)
If you’ve never built a computer from scratch, you’ve likely never had to install an operating system yourself. Fortunately, installing Linux is relatively straightforward – you don’t have to be a seasoned IT professional (although that helps).
It is not much different from installing a software program in Windows. Another benefit is that you can also keep any existing operating system, such as Windows, by using a dual-boot option.
However, some Linux distributions may require a bit more technical knowledge. Consider yourself warned.
3. If you love customizing things, Linux is for you
Linux is an ideal operating system for those who love to play games and customize. Being open-source, it can be played with almost everything, from the GUI to the core of the kernel.
You will have almost complete freedom to play with different options and you will not have to worry about the legal ramifications. In fact, you usually do not need to accept any user license agreement.
4. Linux has great support for most programming languages.
Generally speaking, if a programming language is not limited to a specific operating system, such as Visual Basic for Windows, it should work on Linux. But do some proper research first to make sure.
If you have support problems, you can usually get the necessary packages from the Linux distribution repositories.
5. Linux has tons of applications to choose from
Linux has a lot of great compatible applications that are useful to many programmers. While you could write your code using a simple text file, Linux has some very useful and time-saving text editors to make your life a lot easier.
By default, you get apps like Gedit and Kate. These are usually all you need, but you can also get your hands on Emacs, nano, and Vim, which can be used within a terminal. Not to mention Atom, of course.
You can also take the nuclear option and go with a fully integrated development environment (IDE) with Linux as well.
6. May we introduce you to your lord and savior programmer, Bash scripting?
If you need to program something a little more specific and don’t need to worry about the language, you can “Bash script” using Linux commands.
Abash script is a plain text file that contains a series of commands. Linux comes with these commands as standard, but you can also install others if necessary. These are incredibly efficient, not to mention powerful, and many Linux-loving programmers prefer to practice their craft in the terminal.
“With a bash script, you can put commands together to create more complex combinations. For example, someone who manages a mailing list can create a script that merges subscriber lists, removes duplicates, and formats it so other programs can read it.” – makeuseof.com.
7. Learning to use Linux can get you a great job
Linux is a great option if you just live and breathe programming. But most of us have to pay the bills too.
This is where learning Linux can improve your employability in the marketplace. Linux experience is a highly desirable skill for many high-paying positions.
Whether your future job requires you to manage a company’s server or develop your cloud-based services, potential employers are crying out for people who know the ins and outs of Linux.
Even if you have no real ambition to become a Linux legend, having some basic functional knowledge will give you a competitive advantage as a programmer.
What can you lose?
Is it difficult to learn Linux?
Like everything in life, how easy or difficult something is is determined by your personal experience, dedication, and willingness to learn. After all, how long did it take you to get used to Windows, macOS / iOS, Android, etc.?
The operating system is quite simple to learn. But this comes with a caveat: It is useful if you have some experience with the technology, as well as learning the basic syntax and commands of an operating system.
One of the best ways to get familiar with Linux is to develop a few projects using it. This will help speed up your understanding of Linux.
As mentioned above, learning the syntax is key. You will also need to develop a knowledge of basic commands.
Simply put, start using it and practice, practice, practice. If you are a Linux newbie, here are some of the basic steps you need to master the operating system.
Is Linux necessary for programming?
In short, no, but it is very popular with programmers for a number of reasons. Unless of course, you want to join, say, RedHat or be a developer using Linux, in which case it is a must.
For everyone else, Linux has some distinct advantages over other operating systems. We have covered some of them before, but other advantages of Linux over competing for operating systems are as follows:
- Linux tends to come with most of the compilers and interpreters that you will need to get the job done. Other operating systems, such as Windows, generally do not.
- If Linux doesn’t have the compilers you need, you can usually get them from the operating system command line. Example commands include “yum install” or “apt-get install”.
- Linux tends to contain the best low-level set of tools like sed, grep, awk piping, etc. Programmers use tools like these to create things like command-line tools etc.
- Many programmers who prefer Linux over other operating systems love its versatility, power, security, and speed.
- Linux has a massive community to help you if you get stuck for whatever reason. They’re usually very patient with newbies, but be prepared for some light-hearted pranks.
- The operating system also comes with a handy built-in package manager.
- The ability to customize Linux with any of its different distributions is great for tailoring the operating system to your needs.
- Error messages in other operating systems, like Windows or macOS, for example, tend to be less useful. On Linux, you can usually find someone else’s solution who solved it. If not, ask your community support staff.
- One great thing about Linux is that you can often automate many repetitive tasks using simple lines of code. For example, let’s say you are learning C and want to create a new file, you can run some simple code to automatically create a file with the same syntax that you usually use.
Which Linux distribution is best for software development?
If you are now convinced that you use Linux as a software developer, your next question might be which distro is the most useful for your needs? Turns out, there are quite a few options that will really set you up for a faster, smoother, safer, and happier Linux-powered programming future.
But keep in mind that any such choice is ultimately subjective by its very nature. That being said, you should look for the most secure and stable distributions that also offer a thriving support community.
By doing so, you will benefit from regular updates and a wealth of resources, such as official forums or wikis, as well as third-party resources such as subreddits. These are some of the top-rated Linux distributions.
- Debian is highly rated
The Debian distribution is not only one of the most popular distributions, but it also forms the mother operating system for many other Linux distributions. The reason for its popularity is the fact that it comes with a large number of packages intended for stability and security.
For beginners in the world of Linux, you have an absolute ton of tutorials and other support on the net to solve many of the common problems that you will come across.
One important thing to remember with Debian is that if you want to use Linux to learn the nuances of coding, it may not be the best option for you. The best options include Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Mint, or Zorin.
- Ubuntu is also very good
If you like web development, Python, etc., Ubuntu is probably one of the best Linux distros for you. Thanks to the support of people like Canonical and the open source community, Ubuntu has also grown to become one of the bright lights of the Linux ecosystem.
Ubuntu, a derivative of Debian, is widely used in server and cloud applications today. This distro also comes in a variety of shapes with different desktop environments and other features to suit most tastes.
Its huge user support community and excellent experience, not to mention regular Long Term Support (LTS) releases make this a great choice for software developers. It also supports the highly rated .deb package management system.
- CentOS is great for Red Hat development
CentOS, the free community edition of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), is a great alternative to the first RHEL. Much of it is the same as Red Hat’s paid version of Linux with one crucial difference: it’s free.
It is a highly stable Linux distribution and it also comes with the Developer Toolset, which offers a range of essential tools for most software developers. The CentOS Xen virtualization platform also offers a way to compartmentalize your projects and run applications securely within a virtual machine.
- Pop! _OS is awesome for programmers
Pop music! _OS is another great Linux distribution. The difference with this one is that it was designed from the ground up to be programmer and creator-oriented.
It is based on Ubuntu and also features the very popular GNOME desktop environment that you will also learn to love. It comes with a ton of useful features like handy keyboard shortcuts, a robust app store, and access to repositories like TensorFlow (an open-source machine learning platform).
Its excellent window management system and seamless switching between integrated and dedicated graphics offer what many think is an incomparable programming experience.
- Fedora is the favorite of Linux kernel creator Linus Torvald
And finally, on our short list of top Linux distributions is Fedora. Similar in a way to CentOS, it includes many of the features of RHEL and is even one of Linus Torvald’s preferred distros.
It comes with cutting-edge features and is very popular with software developers around the world. This is due to its stability, its updated feature set, and its amazing developer portal.
Fedora is also a great alternative to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and comes with a multilingual IDE in Eclipse that can be used for things like PHP, Java, C, C ++, and many more.
And that’s a wrap.
Convinced to switch to Linux for your software development needs? If so, enjoy the adventure you are about to undertake. If not, feel free to let us know why.