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Thread: Future OS's for Developers

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    Default Future OS's for Developers

    So up until now, my preferred OS has been Windows (ignoring Vista, obviously). It has serviced my needs well from both a casual need and a business need (mostly programming) in the past. I think a lot of developers, and programming businesses, feel the same way. But the new(ish) Windows 8 has started me thinking: will programmers buy into it?
    Windows 8 is designed for those laptop/tablet hermaphrodites being created by everyone as of late. From a programmer's point of view, the idea of a touch-screen computer is a major turn-off when I imagine coding. Combine that with the fact that ever-improving hardware specs for laptops have basically come to a halt due to manufactures attempting to conform to the less demanding tablet idea, and you have an overpriced machine which does not appeal to me at all, as I wonder if it will be able to deal with my development needs.
    Since Microsoft seems hellbent on ignoring my audience at the moment (ie: those who use laptops the way most people use desktops), it only leaves me with Apple and Linux. The way I see it: Macs are best for those who intend on doing a lot of graphical and creative stuff (like Photoshop and movie editing), while Linux is best for those who are techny enough and care enough to actually learn about their OS. The biggest downsides to them, ironically: Macs don't give you enough freedom, while Linux gives you too much freedom. Without the standard of flavor on Linux, which Apple and Microsoft force on you with their OS's, I can see some serious compatibility issues, where certain games or programs simply will not run properly (the same way how the extremely diverse Android market results in poor app performance and compatibility issues, compared to iPhone and iPad apps). I don't need or want extra overhead to do basic things, which is why I'm reluctant to switch to Linux (although, if I had to choose between Apple and Linux, I would go with Linux).
    I don't fall into either of those categories; I'm sort of in the middle. I want an OS which will allow me to code and play games. Windows 7 has done that perfectly for me over the past few years, but that option is quickly being phased out, and Microsoft intends to stop supporting it soon.
    Now, I am not looking for a new computer now. My 5 year old Toshiba Satellite still runs like it's brand new. But I don't expect that to last much longer than a few more years, and I wonder what will be available for me when I have to shop around.
    What does everyone else think about this sudden change in the PC landscape? Has anyone experienced coding on Windows 8? The rapid shift from laptops to tablets over the past 2 years have been frightening to me, to say the least.
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    Default Re: Future OS's for Developers

    I cut the cord to Windows 4 years ago in favor of Linux and have never regretted it. I'm not a gamer so don't care about that aspect, but those who are may find Windows essential. For games and other essential uses (very few), I currently have 3 Windows virtual machines on my Linux desktop, one each for XP, Win 7, and Win 8. I use one of them for any apps I have that absolutely have to run in Windows and the rest for compatibility testing, learning, etc. Yes, the XP machine will soon be "unplugged" forever, but I haven't been able to say goodbye.

    What I've done is a little bit techie, nothing you couldn't handle, but I wouldn't recommend the same degree of experimentation on a PC on which your sanity and livelihood depend. Perhaps when you get the new computer you can use your old one to play around with other OSs.

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    Default Re: Future OS's for Developers

    I'm kinda in the opposite boat to Greg. I was a big fan of my Fedora Core but made the swap to Windows 7 a few years ago. I still run cygwin because there are things you can do with the command line that just can't be done on Windows but the reality is that when something F's up on a Linux box it can be a major time sink to get up and running again. I've found that I my overall productivity is much better on Win7. It will still receive extended support until 2020 so hopefully we will have something better by then

    I've used Windows 8 a little but I'm not impressed. I'm sure it's fantastic for touch screens or tablet-esq systems but it doesn't add any value to me as an operating system so I'm not making the switch any time soon (probably at all). Mac's are an excellent choice for productivity/usability and I find I usually recommend them to friends when they ask what kind of computer they should buy but I've found them a little restrictive to cover all my needs in the one system. I still use the occasional Linux system but in a 'set and forget' fashion - file servers or hosting machines.

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    Default Re: Future OS's for Developers

    Hello,

    I pretty much cut my ties to Windows a while back as well. I use Kubuntu at the moment but there are so many Linux distros out there now that you don't have to be "techy" in order to understand, just normal Ubuntu is quite user friendly these days. I think Linux is good for development because a lot of server environments I eventually deploy to are usually some flavour of Linux.

    I have to admit though that I still have Windows installed which I can dual boot into for the odd game. I'm no hardcore gamer or anything, I just like to chill out the odd evening playing a game. Although sometimes I also find myself doing a bit of Unity3D development while in Windows

    If you still think you need to run Windows and you want to use that as your primary OS then why not do the sort of opposite to what Greg does. Just run a Linux virtual machine with your development environment on, I've done that in the past as well.

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    Default Re: Future OS's for Developers

    Interesting opinions. I've thought about the virtual machine direction, but I'm weary of performance on a laptop. Especially the damage to battery life for the session. Although, with that being said, I was taking a curious browse yesterday and found some laptops with some impressive hardware specs. I found one with 12GB of RAM. A laptop (and not a gaming one)! I don't think Windows 8 can even use that much...lol.
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