“My first instinct was to whip out the spare Windows XP Pro CD”My first instinct was to whip out the spare Windows XP Pro CD I've got at home, but then I figured I should really poke around and see what others had to say about developing on Linux. ThoughtWorker Jake Scruggs has an interesting post comparing Windows vs OSX vs Ubuntu for Ruby/Rails Development. He makes some good points and basically kiboshed the idea of using Windows:
“I’m not going to mince words here -- try to avoid developing in Windows if at all possible ...”Now most Rails developers I know of use Apple Macs running OSX; for example that was by far the most common laptop at the Ruby on Rails Oceania meeting I attended recently. So it was unsurprising to have Jake sing its praises, especially using TextMate, however I was surprised by this summation:
“Really the choice between OSX and Linux is mostly the choice between TextMate and IntelliJ (or Eclipse/RadRails). And, for now, I think TextMate has a slight edge. TextMate’s auto complete is a joy to work with while IntelliJ’s indexing makes for crazy fast searching.”I've been using RadRails for Windows, so this got me interested. A couple of weeks later and I've settled in to using RadRails on Xubuntu 7.0.4 (Feisty Fawn).
Xubuntu is my first real attempt at personally using a Linux distribution as a primary desktop OS. I've had experience using Linux servers (no GUIs), so I figured I could always drop back to the command line if something broke and I've had to once or twice during installations. But overall I have been pleasantly surprised at how civil an experience it has been.
“But overall I have been pleasantly surprised at how civil an experience it has been.”My main hurdle was getting the new Aptana + Rails IDE setup. That proved to be difficult, with few helpful instructions online. At the end of the day I fell back to the tried and true RadRails 0.7.2 release.
One of the nice things is that with Xubuntu I can run MySQL server, a WebBRICK web server, RadRails, a PDF viewer (with AWDWR open) and Firefox without using more than half of my 512 MB RAM and only occasionally pushing the 1.8 GHz CPU above 25%.
The hardest thing to get used to is the compartmentalisation of functionality between applications. Sometimes that's a minor delay as I find where I need to do something, like the hassle I go through to change my desktop, screensaver and power settings. It's one application in Windows, but three (or four!) in Linux. Other times it's a royal pain, for example when I find that I haven't (yet) installed the right application to do something - but it's not clear what I should install to fix the issue.
My recommendation? The Windows experience is a great one if you have background in it, the Linux one is smoother in some ways (installing gems, finding online help) but in other ways (application interoperability) is more jarring. I am enjoying the experience of Xubuntu on my little old laptop, but I would hesitate before setting up my main work machine the same way.
I have no opinion on the OSX option, but my experiences with Apple Macs have not been universally wonderful - others have compared OSX and Windows XP more graphically and with greater detail than I ever will ...
I run Xubuntu on my development computer. I want to try out Ruby on rails, but I have to make sure I can get it on my live server first. Server uses WHM/cPanel, so I need to figure that one out yet.ReplyDelete