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Developer Rig Redux

October 21, 2008

Or, why Linux Bothers Me

So, recently, I had cause to migrate my developer system from my standard Santa Rosa Macbook Pro to a Linux-based desktop system.

The reasons for this stem mostly from the issues I was having with my MBP’s backlighting. After the Apple Store opened in Calgary, I took my Mac in and had it fixed.

While the Mac was in the shop, though, I needed a workstation. Enter the Linux box.

So, I’m running on:

  • AMD Athlon 64 4000+, 2.6GHz, single-code.
  • 2GB DDR1 memory
  • ATI Radeon 3850 AGP, 512MB memory
  • 8GB internal disk

And Ubuntu 8.04.1.

So, for the last few weeks, this has been my workstation.

Things I like:

  • Compiz effects. These are nice, funky display modifiers that actually improve my usability options. They’ve been nice to have.
  • Evolution. Finally, a MUA that doesn’t outright blow chunks.
  • apt-get. It’s so nice being able to install stuff and REMOVE STUFF cleanly and easily.

Things that I hate:

  • All the UI elements are huge. For instance, AdiumX in OSX has the buddy list as a small, subtle little window. In Pidgin it’s freaking -massive-. UI elements are big in Firefox, all GTK elements. I can’t seem to find where to make them less intrusively massive.
  • Setting up the ATI graphics was a huge pain. Why isn’t this easier? At least it worked properly, quickly.
  • Multimonitor is shit. No surprise there, it’s X11.
  • gEdit is nowhere near the quality of TextMate. There’s some plugins that loosely approximate TextMate functionality, but no TextMate is really, really, really kills development on this evironment.

TextMate is going to be the killer on Linux, I think. It’s almost impossible to do work on gEdit after working on TextMate for 4 years.


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  1. *Legion* permalink

    Have you tried Kate or SCiTE instead of gEdit?

    gEdit never struck me as an editor to code in.

    Oh, and 🙂

  2. Linux bothers you eh?! Well I have great news!!! I’ll give you my copy of Windows Vista Ultimate!

    I kid – I kid.. Vista isn’t a suitable development environment either. 🙂

  3. You should definitely check out Emacs. I use a Mac at work and a Linux box at home, and the one thing that’s constant is that I always use Emacs. It’s native to pretty much every OS out there, and I have yet to find a single thing that TextMate *can* do that Emacs *can’t*.

  4. aineko permalink

    @Legion, I tried Kate but it had other annoyances that I didn’t like. I haven’t tried SCiTE yet, though Scribe was rather nice.

    @Adam is Vista good for anything? 😉

    @Alex I’m an old-time Vi girl, which can also do everything TM can. The difference I’m seeing between Vi/Emacs and TM is that TM doesn’t make me jump through hoops, which is more what I’m looking for.

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