- Here Is Why Linux Is a Good Choice of OS for Software Developers
- What is Linux?
- Is Linux good for developers?
- 1. You can’t get any cheaper than free
- 2. Linux is easy as pie to install (usually)
- 3. If you love to customize stuff, Linux is for you
- 4. Linux has great support for most programming languages
- 5. Linux has a ton of apps to choose from
- 6. May we introduce to your programmer lord and savior, Bash scripting?
- 7. Learning to use Linux can land you a great job
- Is Linux hard to learn?
- Is Linux necessary for programming?
- Which Linux distro is best for software development?
- 1. Debian comes highly rated
- 10 reasons to love Linux in 2021
- 3 open source tools that make Linux the ideal workstation
- Why I use exa instead of ls on Linux
- 5 reasons why I love coding on Linux
- Use this bootable USB drive on Linux to rescue Windows users
- 4 open source tools for running a Linux server
- 3 Linux terminals you need to try
- 5 more reasons to run Kubernetes in your Linux homelab
- 6 open source tools and tips to securing a Linux server for beginners
- How Linux made a school pandemic-ready
- Run your favorite Windows applications on Linux
Here Is Why Linux Is a Good Choice of OS for Software Developers
Is there a perfect operating system (OS) for software development? According to some, Linux might just be as close as you can get.
Let’s take a quick look at what Linux has to offer and suggest some great Linux distributions (distros) that you might want to check out for yourself.
What is Linux?
Since you’re actually reading this article, chances are you already have an idea of what Linux is. But for the uninitiated, Linux is a type of an operating system just like Windows, iOS, macOS, etc.
It is a very popular OS. In fact, the Android operating system is built on top of the Linux kernel, so you could say 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, give or take. Linux is literally everywhere today.
It is widely considered one of the most reliable, stable, and secure operating systems too. In fact, many software developers choose Linux as their preferred OS for their projects. It is important, however, to point out that the term «Linux» only really applies to the core kernel of the OS.
One of the most important aspects of Linux is the fact that it is open source. This means that the code used to create it is free and available to the public to view, edit, and even contribute to its development (if you are skilled enough).
Linux is similar to other operating systems you might be used to, like Windows and macOS, etc. It comes with a graphical interface, and even has versions of common software you are probably accustomed to like word processors, photo editors, video editors, etc.
But as the core pieces of it are generally open-source, Linux differs from other operating systems. There are also many distros of Linux available that include different software options.
What this means in practice, is that the operating system, unlike many of its competitors, is incredibly customizable. Many different aspects of it, not just applications, can be swapped out and experimented with to suit your specific needs and tastes.
Linux users can also choose core components, for example, which system displays graphics and whatnot.
It is important to note, however, that the term «Linux» is a little 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 be a replacement for Unix.
«GNU is an acronym for «GNU’s Not UNIX!». It is a replacement for UNIX and contains no UNIX based code. Also, this operating system contains an extensive collection of software.» — pediaa.com.
For the remainder of the article, we will refer to GNU/Linux as simply Linux for brevity. You should also be made aware that the use of either of these acronyms alone is something of a controversial subject.
Is Linux good for developers?
As we have already touched upon above, Linux is widely considered one of the best operating systems around. 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, software development environmental needs, etc.
However, there is a vast swathe of programmers who swear by the benefits of Linux over its competitors. This is for various reasons, but arguments tend to praise its open-sourced nature and its overall user-friendly ecosystem.
Some of the main reasons programmers love 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 great for software developers, whether they are a hobbyist, student, aspiring programmer, or a professional.
Since you don’t have any financial upfront costs, the only cost to you is gaining an understanding of it. Of course, this excludes the cost of getting your hands on a Linux-compatible computer (which is fairly common).
Most of the software for it is also open-source, which is a nice bonus.
2. Linux is easy as pie to install (usually)
If you have never built a computer from scratch, chances are you have never had to install an operating system yourself. Thankfully, installing Linux is relatively straightforward — you don’t need to be a seasoned IT professional (though that helps).
It isn’t that much different from installing a software program in Windows. Another benefit is that you can also keep any existing operating system, like Windows, by using a dual-boot option.
Though, some Linux distros can require a bit more technical knowledge. Consider yourself warned.
3. If you love to customize stuff, Linux is for you
Linux is an ideal operating system for those who love to tinker and customize. Being open-source, pretty much every element of it can be played around with, from the GUI to the core kernel.
You will have near-absolute freedom to play around with different options and you won’t have to worry about any legal ramifications. In fact, you normally aren’t required to agree to any user license agreement.
4. Linux has great support for most programming languages
Generally speaking, if a programming language isn’t limited to a specific operating system, like Visual Basic for Windows, it should work on Linux. But do a proper research first to make sure.
If you do run into support issues, you can usually get your hands on the required packages from Linux’s distribution repositories.
5. Linux has a ton of apps to choose from
Linux has a lot of great supported apps that are handy for many programmers. While you could just 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 inside of a terminal. Not to mention Atom, of course.
You can also take the nuclear option and go with a full-blown integrated development environment (IDE) with Linux as well.
6. May we introduce to your programmer lord and savior, Bash scripting?
If you need to program something a bit more specific and don’t need to care about the language, you can «Bash script» using Linux’s commands. A Bash script is a plain text file which contains a series of commands. Linux comes with these commands as standard, but you can also install others if needed. These are incredibly efficient, not to mention powerful, and many Linux-loving programmers prefer to practice their trade in the terminal.
«With a Bash script, you can put commands together to create more complex combinations. For example, someone managing a mailing list can create a script that merges lists of subscribers, removes duplicates, and formats it so that other programs can read it.» — makeuseof.com.
7. Learning to use Linux can land you a great job
Linux is a great option if you simply live and breathe programming. But most of us need to pay the bills, too.
This is where learning to use Linux can actually improve your employability in the market. Experience in using Linux is a very desirable skill for many high-paying positions.
Whether your prospective job will require you to manage a company’s server, or develop their 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 of it will give you a competitive edge as a programmer.
What have you got to lose?
Is Linux hard to learn?
Like anything in life, just how easy, or difficult something is for that matter, 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 actually fairly simple to learn. But this comes with a caveat — it helps if you have some experience with technology as well as learning syntax and basic commands of an operating system.
One of the best ways to get to grips with Linux is to develop some projects using it. This will help accelerate your grasp of Linux.
As previously discussed, learning the syntax is key. You will also need to develop a knowledge of the basic commands.
Simply put, start using it and practice, practice, practice. If you are a newbie to Linux, here are some of the basic steps you need to master the OS.
Is Linux necessary for programming?
In short no, but it is very popular among programmers for various reasons. Unless, of course, you want to join, say, RedHat or be a developer using Linux — in which case it is a must.
For everybody else, there are some distinct advantages of Linux over other OSs. We have covered some of them above, but other advantages of Linux over competitor operating systems are as follows:
- Linux tends to come with most of the compilers and interpreters you’ll need to get the job done. Other operating systems, like Windows, usually do not.
- If Linux doesn’t have the compilers you need, you can usually get them from the OS’s command line. Example commands include «yum install » or » apt-get install».
Source: Daan Berg/Flickr
- Linux tends to contain the best suite of low-level tools like sed, grep, awk piping, and so on. Tools like these are used by programmers 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 out if you get stuck for any reason. They are, usually, very patient with novices, but prepare yourself for some light-hearted banter.
- The operating system also comes with a handy, built-in package manager.
- The ability to customize Linux with any of its different distros is great for tailoring the OS to your needs.
- Error messages on other operating systems, like Windows or macOS, for example, tend to be less than helpful. On Linux, you can usually find the solution from someone else who has solved it. If not, just ask the community support staff.
- One great thing about Linux is that you can often automate many repetitive tasks using simple lines of code. For example, 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 you use regularly.
Which Linux distro is best for software development?
If you are now sold on using Linux as a software developer, your next question might be which distribution is the most useful for your needs? As it turns out, there are quite a few options that will really set you up for a faster, smoother, more secure, and happier Linux-powered programming future.
But please bear in mind any choice of this kind is ultimately subjective by its very nature. That being said, you should look for the most secure, stable distros that offer a thriving support community, too.
By doing so, you will benefit from regular updates and loads of resources, such as official forums or wikis, as well as third-party resources like subreddits. Here are s ome of the most highly rated Linux distros.
1. Debian comes highly rated
The Debian distro is not only one of the most popular distributions around but it also forms the mother operating system for many other Linux distros. The reason for its popularity is the fact that it comes with a large number of packages aimed at stability and security.
10 reasons to love Linux in 2021
Internet Archive Book Images. Modified by Opensource.com. CC BY-SA 4.0
Opensource.com published well over 150 articles about Linux in 2021. From articles about small utilities for desktop Linux users to tutorials about working with Linux as a server operating system and everything in between, these articles have covered many facets of the Linux ecosystem. It is well worth your time to check out all of them, but here are ten great articles published this year to get you started.
More Linux resources
3 open source tools that make Linux the ideal workstation
In this article, Seth Kenlon writes about LibreOffice, AbiWord, Gnumeric, and Pandoc covering tools that make Linux the ideal workstation. He explains how these applications can make you productive when using Linux as a desktop operating system. The article explores advanced features, like LibreOffice’s headless mode, and provides tips about getting the most out of each application.
Why I use exa instead of ls on Linux
The ls command is one of the most frequently used terminal commands in Linux, but did you know there is a modern alternative with many quality of life improvements? Why I use exa instead of ls on Linux by Sudeshna Sur describes the exa command and the advantages it has over ls . The article discusses how exa can track new files added to a Git repository, display a directory and file tree, and more.
5 reasons why I love coding on Linux
Like many people, Seth Kenlon loves coding on Linux. In this article, he shares five reasons why. He likes coding on Linux because it is built on a foundation of logic, makes you appreciate code connections, provides source code, and provides direct access to peripherals and abstractions layers that make writing code easier.
Use this bootable USB drive on Linux to rescue Windows users
Even if you prefer Linux, there might be times where you need to fix a Windows computer or install Windows for someone. Creating a bootable USB flash drive from a Windows ISO on Linux is not as straightforward as making a bootable flash drive for a Linux distribution. In this tutorial, Don Watkins demonstrates how to use WoeUSB, a utility that handles all the tricky parts of the process for the user.
4 open source tools for running a Linux server
When using Linux as a server operating system, Seth Kenlon recommends these four open source tools. The four tools are Samba, Snapdrop, VLC, and PulseAudio. As Seth notes in his article, these four tools make file sharing and streaming with Linux easy.
3 Linux terminals you need to try
There are many different terminal emulators for Linux. This article by Seth Kenlon recommends three Linux terminals that are worth trying out. Seth’s recommendations are Xfce terminal, rxvt-unicode, and Konsole. He provides a brief overview of each and highlights each terminal emulator’s strengths.
5 more reasons to run Kubernetes in your Linux homelab
In the sequel to his 2020 article five reasons to run Kubernetes on your Raspberry Pi homelab, Seth Kenlon provides five more reasons to run Kubernetes in your Linux homelab. The five more reasons are that Kubernetes is built on the foundation of Linux, it is flexible, learning it can provide you with personal development, it makes containers make sense, and it facilitates cloud-native development. He also provides a bonus reason: Because it is fun.
6 open source tools and tips to securing a Linux server for beginners
Sahana Sreeram provides six excellent tips for securing a Linux server. This tutorial looks at updating software, enabling a firewall, strengthening password protection, disabling nonessential services, checking for listening ports, and scanning for malware. The tips provided by Sahana will help any Linux beginner learn the basics of keeping their Linux servers secure.
How Linux made a school pandemic-ready
Don Watkins interviews Robert Maynord, a teacher at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Monona, Wisconsin, about the school switching their computers to Linux. Maynord shares anecdotes about how he became interested in Linux, the first steps he took to change the school’s computers to Linux, how Linux benefits the school, and much more. Don asks many great questions in this interview, and Maynord provides a lot of useful information for schools interested in adopting Linux.
Run your favorite Windows applications on Linux
Sometimes, after switching to Linux, you still need that one particular Windows-only application or really want to play that Windows-only game. In this article, Seth Kenlon provides a tutorial about how to run your favorite Windows applications on Linux. The tool for doing this is WINE. Seth explains what WINE is, how it works, and how to get it installed on your Linux computer so you can run your favorite Windows applications.