I have been using Linux at work for more than half a year. And here is my experience so far. It’s mostly only positive, but I have had some problems now and then, and they relate to two major problems: Old and outdated programs in use, and collaborating with Windows users, windows developers, and designing with Windows platform support.
There are a few tools that have made the job quite easy, like remote desktop support, MSN, Eclipse, MySQL Query Browser for Linux, Firefox, and IEs4Linux. The last one have enabled installment of Internet Explorer on Linux, making it possible to test pages on IE (with flash!) without changing back to Windows. I have also installed MySQL and Apache on my workstation, and I have a multitude of tools to help me here and there.
We are four Linux-users on workstations now, of a total of 17 workers. The rest is using Windows XP as primary OS, and one is using a Mac laptop as helper computer (… yes, our designer). But Linux is spreading slowly through our system. And I think it’s thanks to us using Linux, and showing the others that it’s not only possible, but its reliable, fast and on almost all cases, just as good or better than Windows. The downfall for most of the others is the lack of windows software, but that is solved though series of similar or compatible software, web applications, and trans-platform applications.
The list isn’t long, but here it is. I earlier made a list for Windows, but now comes the list for Linux:
Not much has changed about Eclipse. It's been removed a couple of bugs, and the Java version has been upgraded to 6.0 (instead of Java 2 SE 5.0, having JRE version 1.5.0 ...), which made it a teeny bit faster. The subversion support is a little better, and the HTML and XML tools are a little better. PHPEclipse is the same old, but it hasn't had any significant development for over a year.
Once again, the same tool as on windows. But now with a tighter and more throught through set of Add-Ons. In addition to those mentioned earlier: I have tamper data, faviconize tabs, aging tabs and tab control.
- MySQL Query Browser:
Still the same, but a little buggy on Linux, so the functionality is a little less. I cannot use the built in table edit methods, but that doesn't matter much, I have other tools to use.
- Gnome Console:</br>With a powerful console with the wide variety of console tools that is available on any standard Linux computer, I can do almost everything. From nano, through svn, grep and sed, vim, a full LAMP server locally, the console gives me a power I never had when I was developing on Windows. Even though what I got with Cygwin gave me a taste of console goodies, I still prefer to work on a «real» desktop with a «real» console...
Even just a simple wrapper around wine with IE 6, it makes it able for me to check web pages in IE 6, even though Linux don't support IE ... Or does it? I guess Bill Gates don't like this hack much, but I guess there's little he can do. He has made his own software available for free...
This is the basic list, and a lot of other tools are used, but mostly on the console. The availability for powerful console tools on Linux is immense, and the power I as a developer gets is worth the hassle I get when developing web-pages which have to support the various versions of IE.
My prefferred desktop distribution is Ubuntu. The Swahili named distro has taken great care in making the installation simple, fast and even possible for a Windows user to understand. And this despite not going on the «make it like windows» style that Linspire has done. Ubuntu is a user friendly Linux distro, and has made it into every computer I have.
And thanks to this my workstation haven’t seen (or heard of) Windows for more than half a year now. And the box is one of the most reliable computers on work. Even the sysadmin looks over my shoulder once in a while and seem to want to have a Linux box himself, although he haven’t said it out loud yet.