Effective Software Development | Benefits of Linux based operating systems | ASSIST Software Romania
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Introduction

Here at ASSIST Software most programmers use Unix based operating systems because it has many advantages. In this article I will try to describe how we use it and how open source helps our developers be more productive in software development.

Software development using Linux Operating System

At ASSIST we mainly use Ubuntu and forks of Ubuntu on development stations, but for servers that are in production we like to use CentOS.

Why we use CentOS on servers

We use CentOS as our primary distribution for deploying servers because it is based on Redhat Enterprise Linux which is the gold standard of enterprise distribution of Linux. Redhat Ent. Linux is updated every five years with main focus on stability, predictability and security. We are using CentOS since version 4.2 I think, and we are happy to have the power of Redhat without paying for RHEL support.

CentOS is using YUM as it's main package manager. Yum has many advantages like:

  • Automatic resolution of software dependencies
  • Command-line and graphical version.
  • Pirut: For adding and removing software
  • Pup: Package updater that only shows software updates available from RHN
  • Multiple software locations at one time. Yum can be configured to look for software packages in more than one location at a time.
  • Ability to specify particular software versions or architectures.

Some of the most known third party repositories for CentOS are:

Many people ask us why we use CentOS instead of Ubuntu server. The answer, based on our experience, is that Ubuntu server is not nearly as stable or bug-free as CentOS. We think that those problems come with their rapid development and much less testing of new release. Beyond that, we had lots of stability issues on Ubuntu server while testing a cloud solution on it.

Linux Users And Developers

Why we love Ubuntu for development

Most of our developers are on Ubuntu Desktop, Linux Mint, Fedora, Manjaro or OS X Mavericks. Using Linux enables direct access to best tools that can help you during software development like: ssh, screen, df, du, scp, rsync, grep, awk, git, sed, cat, mysqldump, stderr, etc. Unix is heaven for developers, brilliant for those who like command-line tools. Installing any library or tool on linux is done very quick without the need to search for a specific package on the internet, you just apt-get install or yum install followed by the name of the package and in a few seconds you have your tool or library available for you to use it.

Another big advantage of using Linux is that you can have as many screens as you want, so all your programs will not share the same screen with the need of browsing through many tabs when you try to reach your desired program.

A big advantage is that developers can install and configure their own development platform on their system so they can also test the code that they write. In this area, Linux is the best option because you can have the same apache, PHP, python or java versions with the same configurations like on the live server on your development station so if an error appears on live, you can simulate it on your local computer and solve it.

In the free software world, you don't have something that "hasn't been invented yet" but the opposite. Everything can be done by a library. Using Linux you can get your job done quicker and better by learning to build on other's work using libraries. Using Linux you learn to write code that plugs well into other code, which makes it easier to maintain and extend it at a later time.

Linux is not a "visual" environment like windows, this means you have to memorize commands. By doing this programmers get the desired result much faster, not having to point-and-click and after that wait for the visual response from windows, they just write the command and get the result.

Disadvantages

Of course there are disadvantages on using Linux. I will try to enumerate some of them below.
First and the biggest disadvantage that a programmer sees is that there is no Linux version for photoshop. Even if there are tools like Wine that can help you install it, photoshop will always be unstable and will give you headaches.
Another tool that is unstable enough on Linux is of course a microsoft tool, it's name is Skype, a tool for instant messaging massively used in developers groups.
Despite of those two software apps, I see no other tool that can help a programmer and exists on windows but has no alternative on Linux. A good website that can help you find alternatives to your favorite tools for Linux is alternativeto.net

Conclusion

From my experience, I can say that programmers who switch to Linux for programming are going to have a deeper understanding of technical contexts and how things work while they will also get to that point much faster.

Do you want to get in touch with us? 

If you are interested in our software development services, you would like to join our team, or you simply want to find out more about us, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line and a member of the ASSIST team will get back to you as soon as possible. We are sure we can ASSIST you.

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