Moving from Windows to Linux for development

I tried Linux once, back in 2004, when Fedora Core released its first version. I installed the Fedora Core and SUSE distributions on my computer to check which one I liked the most.

I really wanted to like Linux, but it was hard to configure the OS without having to search solutions on the internet and copy/paste cryptic commands into a Terminal session. SUSE was a bit better with the YAST configuration tool, it was far from being perfect. In my opinion, applications were missing many features compared to their Windows equivalent. Thus my lasting impression was that I could do the same tasks under Windows with better performance and better usability.

Fast forward 8 years later; some of my colleagues at work suggested that I try Linux again. They have been using Linux as a main OS for years and told me that some of the newer distributions are way more user-friendly than back in the day. I also wanted to try MonoDevelop and check if MPfm could work under Mono.

So I decided to install Ubuntu 11.10 on my machine since it was highly recommended for Linux newbies. Half an hour later, I was in for a shock: the OS was installed and detected my hardware automatically, including my M-Audio sound card (which lacks an official Linux driver).

I have been using Ubuntu 11.10 for more than a month now, and I got to admit that I’m really starting to like it better than Windows. The GNOME 3 desktop environment grew on me and became my favorite desktop environment on any OS.

Linux has a great community, even though they are divided into many different groups. However, Linux users are known for hating just about everything they don’t currently use. If you use GNOME, you’re likely to get laughed at or even insulted by KDE fans, and vice-versa. It’s really annoying. I’ll talk about that in a later post (and more on why I chose GNOME 3 as my main desktop environment).

The only things I still can’t do under under Linux are gaming and sound recording. I know there are solutions for this (WINE, JACK, etc.) but it still works better under Windows. It’s just a matter of time before Linux gets more mainstream so I’m hoping for the best!

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