For years now, Linux has earned a reputation as a popular platform among IT enthusiasts. It’s attracted everyone from system administrators to experimenting students. Yet, not enough is said about Linux power as a programming platform. Here are five reasons why this open source operating system should be at the top of your list when choosing a development environment.
1. It’s Free
No need to fork out a small fortune to buy software or wonder whether your copy is licensed. Linux is free and this makes it practical for budding novices and seasoned gurus alike.
The fact that it’s free also takes away the pressure to ‘make it work’. When you purchase software, you have a sense of obligation to make sure your investment was not in vain. A free OS gives you the freedom to tap into your programming creativity since you have much less to lose.
2. Easy to Install
An average computer user has never installed an operating system. Some users may not even understand the concept of an OS and would see it as too technical a subject.
As a programmer though, installation of the OS and applications is a fairly basic skill. You already have the foundation knowledge required to search for an appropriate Linux distro, download the ISO, burn it onto a USB drive, and follow the screen prompts. Installing Linux isn’t much different from installing Windows.
3. Tinker at Will
If you’re going to develop your programming skills, you’ll want to take advantage of any chance to put your technical knowledge to the test. Access to source code is one area Linux has a major advantage over proprietary systems such as Windows. From the kernel to the graphical interface, nearly all parts of the Linux OS can be tweaked.
Whereas very few people will attain the ability to understand every aspect of Linux, the freedom to experiment is one of the best ways to learn. Understanding the source code also gives you the background knowledge necessary to build great applications.
4. Supports Major Programming Languages
In instances where the language isn’t installed by default, you can obtain the packages from the distro’s repositories.
5. Linux Knowledge is a Desirable Skill
Every organization values multi-skilled personnel since this reduces the overall number of persons they need to hire. Whether it’s a programmer knowing how to work with a 1000 ft cat 6 spool or one who has no problem overseeing an enterprise server, extra skills curry favor with potential employers.
If you are looking for a programming job and are keen to have a leg up on other applicants, understanding how Linux works will be an added advantage.
Even if you are already using another development environment, it doesn’t hurt to find out whether Linux is a better fit for your programming needs. You’ll grow your technical skills and save a considerable amount of cash in the long-term. The investment does pay off.