[OT] Getting your developers good harwdare (Was: Apple and dual monitors)

David Smith dave at thesmithfam.org
Tue Feb 14 00:08:12 MST 2012

On Feb 13, 2012, at 10:42 PM, Levi Pearson wrote:

> As a windowing system to give you access to remote systems, Windows,
> Linux, and even OS X are more alike than they are different.  People
> are just a bit more willing to put up with the quirks of their favored
> platform, and less willing to put up with quirks in platforms they
> dislike.

I agree with your assessment about personal preference. It's important to draw the line between things you *like* and things that actually make you more *productive*. Sometimes we conflate the two.

So here's my honest assessment.

In my experience, there are some pretty serious differences in the software available on Windows and *nix. And even when *nix software is available for Windows, it's often difficult to install, and even more difficult to update. Oddly, this hasn't really improved that much over the years.

Some examples from my personal toolbox:

1. cssh

One of the most awesomester tools every invented for quick admin of lots of Linux boxen.

2. Terminator and iTerm

I still haven't found a shell that allows tiling in Windows. Putty is awesome, but it's painful to set up multiple Putty windows and line them up (I used AutoIT to do this once upon a time, which was funny). The built-in Windows shell is (still) a far cry from Linux and OS X shells.

3. git, hg, svn in Windows

Yes, they work, for the strictest definition of work, but much of the niceness is lost. Vim integration is troublesome for commit messages. Console colors don't usually work out of the box, etc. Lots of little hassles.

4. Browsers.

Nope, that one's a moot point. Browsers work equally well on all platforms. That's one exception to the rule. :)

5. X forwarding

Yes it works on Windows, but there's almost always a color depth mismatch of some sort, depending on your X-server. Cygwin/X11 is painful to get working (but it's come a long way).

The list goes on. I used Windows for a number of years, by choice, while writing software that would run on both Linux and Windows. It was nice to have good office integration with management, but I eventually switched back to Linux full time (now I'm on OS X, with a Linux VM, and ssh access only using iTerm).

So there you go. Some free advice, worth what you paid for it.


P.S. I have posted more to plug in the past few weeks than I have in the past few years. Probably time to go back into lurking mode for another decade.

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