Switching from Windows to Linux

Since I'm using computers I've always been on Windows for most of the time. The only real exception so far is OS X on my MacBook - but I'm not really a "heavy OS X" user, it just looks good and it always felt kinda wrong for me to remove OS X from a MacBook (I'm always crying a bit inside when seeing iMacs with Windows). Some years ago I used CentOS on my server, but that was just a little playground to get in touch with server configuration under Linux.

To summarize my OS-experience so far: I'm not biased with "the one real operating system". I do like Windows (even though I don't like its look since Win8), I do like OS X and I do like the Linux distributions I know (it's hard to tell if I like the ones I don't know). All of them have advantages and disadvantages - since I'm open for all of them I'm not going to write about "what OS you should use"... Use the one you need and like. It's actually that simple.

Speaking of "the one you need"; I switched from Windows to Linux on my home computer. Not entirely - there's still a Windows partition in my system. But when it comes to software development I'm going for Linux from now on.

I used to use cygwin for some years; the Windows terminal is still a pretty retarded tool and as of now (web-)development is a lot easier with a better terminal.

Some time ago Microsoft introduced "Ubuntu Bash on Windows" - a way of having "a real" Ubuntu terminal in Windows. I tried it out - it's actually pretty cool, hence I've had completely switched to the Ubuntu Bash on Windows from Cygwin. But to be honest I realized how weird everything got at some point: I worked on Windows, but used mostly Linux stuff. My entire Apache server ran in the "Ubuntu subsystem of Windows". So my work consisted of the following tools:

  • my IDE
  • one or more Chrome windows
  • the Ubuntu bash with tmux to split my terminal in multiple panels
  • one cygwin terminal in case of problems

At some point I asked myself, "Why are you still working under Windows?". After some time I realized that I've got no real answer to this question and came to the conclusion: switching to Linux would actually make sense. No more need for having a "ubuntu subsystem" or cygwin. Everything would be "more natural" and way less "hacky".

So the only remaining question was: which distribution should I take? So I took a look at Ubuntu and Mint - and ultimately went for Mint, because it looks super cool and everything is pretty smooth. To be honest the choice completely went down on look and haptics and nothing else.

Utilizing Linux has become way easier within the last years - so getting all the things I needed to run properly was a fairly easy task. To name some of the things: Apache, mySQL, PHP, Node, Yarn, etc.. Pretty much the things you need for web development. And, one of the MVPs, tmux!

Linux so far

Simply great. My build processes are way faster in this "natural environment" (from 3 - 4 seconds to < 1 second), Apache and mySQL is WAY faster, it doesn't feel hacky or something like this and it's a breeze to work on it.

To come to a conclusion; if you're unsure about to switch to Linux:

Handling Linux has become a lot easier and it's just the better option for web development. I haven't faced any serious downsides so far, and I'm using it in the office and at home. I'll still use my Windows, especially for designing stuff and gaming, but for development Linux just makes more sense.