Windows is the most widely used operating system, both in home and business environments. Most programs are created to run on this operating system. However, the people who create these programs (mainly developers, programmers and system administrators) prefer to leave Windows aside and work on another operating system: Linux. Why? What brings them to this?
Linux offers a host of benefits when it comes to working and developing, benefits ranging from flexibility to security to system performance. Today Linux is a perfectly affordable system for any user, since it is not much more complicated to use than any Windows system. However, this OS is not yet gaining popularity in domestic environments, its main strong point being servers and programmers’ computers.
What drives programmers to use Linux? Let’s see it.
Advantages of using Linux for programming
The first thing to keep in mind is that this operating system is free and open source. To use it, it is not necessary to pay any license or fee, it does not matter if we use it on a computer or on a large-scale server. If we know how to configure and manage it, we will save a good amount of money. And, if we need professional support, we can always turn to systems like Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Linux is an operating system without restrictions . Users have total control over it, being able to modify it according to their needs and adjust it so that it is as similar as possible to the real system where it is going to be executed. In addition, they have total control over the packages and programs that are executed, being able to leave the system with just what is necessary to be able to carry out their work. We can use it with a desktop, or from a terminal to make the most of the resources. The control, above all, the total.
This operating system can be installed on any computer , even if it is old and has few resources. What’s more, you won’t be able to us stupid requirements, like the TPM 2.0 of Windows 11, or use a 64-bit processor, to be able to install it. And, if so, we can always find another distribution. Updates are also very simple and fast, and we can configure them both automatically and manually. But either way, they won’t sneakily reboot your computer like Windows does. Stability and security compared to other systems, such as Windows, is also a window that developers take into account.
Finally, Linux has a large number of programming tools , being able to use the one we want depending on the type of software we are going to create. In addition, thanks to its easy customization, it is possible to have several configurations (with different compilers, for example) to be able to test the behavior of the program under different platforms on the same system. It is also important to note that Linux has a large support community , and that, since most programmers also use Linux, the documentation that we will find to perform certain tasks is mainly focused on this OS.
What can’t we program in this system?
However, while Linux is the best operating system for programming, it’s not perfect. If we are going to create programs for Windows using a Microsoft programming tool, such as Visual Studio, Linux will not work for us. The same thing happens when developing PC games with IDEs like Unity or Unreal. Although these can work on Linux, some technologies, such as DirectX, that are exclusive to Microsoft, are not available on it. If we use Linux to create the games, sooner or later they will have to go through Windows, and in the end it is a waste of time.
If you are a programmer, and you want to have everything, do not decide between one system or another. Thanks to the Windows Subsystem for Linux it is possible to use Windows as the main system and use this subsystem, as if it were a second installed operating system, to carry out programming tasks in the purest Linux style.