In Search of a Perfect Development Environment!

Like many developers I am also in search of a perfect development environment!

I understand this might not be true for everyone. If you are a .Net developer who has a good laptop loaded with the latest Windows then I assume you already have a perfect development environment. But if you are a Java/Python developer writing code destined to a Linux server, stuck with a Windows laptop then there is a problem.

Many corporate environments are tied to Microsoft technologies for Office, chat, email, VPN, Windows, etc.

I mainly write Java, Haskell and Python these days. As a Linux guy I obviously don’t like to work on Windows but at work we are forced to use a Windows 7 and BYOD or booting any other OS is not allowed.

Although my laptop has an i7 CPU with 32 GB of ram but still it’s a Windows!

No offence to MS fans but it doesn’t make any sense to develop and test on one platform and deploy to another.

We have had many instances where things behaved differently on different OSes and wasted hours to troubleshoot. But this is very hard to explain to some managers and IT teams! A minimum development machine for someone like me must be a Mac or a Linux.

In absence of any other choice I decided to run Linux on a VM so installed Fedora on Virtualbox and gave it 160 GB disk, 24 GB ram and 2 monitors. It is working like a charm and I am really happy about the setup. I have loaded all my development tools such as IDE, Docker, etc. into the VM and use Window host for VPN, some email checking and Office document editing  only when difficult in the VM.

So far this is working really good although I had few issues initially with setting up the networking right but at the end I have a polished development environment that I can use a real bash natively (Not a Window 10 cheat bash!)

Being a VM with UI there is definitely a bit of lag but haven’t been a serious issue so far. I would suggest Xfce in order to have a smoother experience rather than default Gnome which is below.

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Why I will never install Linux on my Mac

These are the reasons why I will never install a Linux on my personal Mac or PC as the main OS, at least for now.

I have to stress that these are more of a taste and the way I use my computers and might not be an issue for other people.

I also have to say that I work with linux servers in my day to day work and love them but in the desktop world I doubt Linux has a place yet. I even have an Ubuntu desktop on another computer at work that I use for some tasks.

Now:

  • As long as there are articles in the Linux world starting with “how to install” that means things are not yet user friendly
  • All I need from linux is a terminal that I have in Mac or I can ssh to a remote linux machine
  • Linux does not have Facetime
  • Skype is dodgy in linux. You will never know whether your audio card will work in the next release of linux or not!
  • Many apps do not have proper/strong counterparts in linux or if they have it is dodgy or buggy: Libre Office crap; different messengers all buggy, either video or audio not working properly; graphics editors, nothing close to photoshop; sound editors, don’t even think about it; Evolution/Thunderbird vs Outlook haha…
  • You always have to look for the drivers. Whether my webcam, printer, this and that work in linux or not.
  • For simple tasks you have to waste your whole day on Internet searching and finally someone suggested on their weblog that you have to put a flag on a config file for that thing to work!!

I didn’t mean to hurt anyones feelings, just for a bit of laugh 😉