Recently I’ve started trying to learn a newer web programming technology.. Ruby on Rails. It’s a little different than when I’m used to.. Microsoft’s .NET, but from what I’ve been reading and playing with so far I’m impressed. The materials I’ve been reading, however, seem to be geared for Mac users. This makes it a little more difficult to follow along on my XP machines so I’ve been eyeballing the Macs. If they weren’t so darned expensive I would have surely made the jump, but I just cannot justify the purchase just to learn Ruby!
Late in the night a few days ago, as I laid in bed pondering my dilemma, I had a breakthrough. What’s so special about the Mac? Prior to OSX, Macs were pretty much only used by Artists and Video Editors.. now however, it seems to be the web development platform of choice. While recently at a Flex User Group meeting, it was quickly pointed out that only 1 of the 15 or so laptops there was a non-apple! What happened?
Apple switched their OS to a customized blend of Unix and, of course, the move from Motorola processors to Intel processors doesn’t hurt either. Unix is known for its stability, community, security, and more.. which led me to the question “What else is like that??” ..duh! Linux!!!
Years ago I played with a nifty version of Linux known as Ubuntu.. it was touted as being the easiest version of Linux for non-daylight-fearing geeks, such as myself. Ubuntu, like most Linux versions, is Free to download and use. I tried it back then and was impressed by it.. but it still needed some time to ripen before I would switch to it. So, that night I hopped out of bed and decided to try the latest version.
Ubuntu has grown up and filled in nicely in all the right places. I’m very impressed. It is so pretty to look at, easy to use, and smart! Drivers are almost as easy to set up as they are on my Windows machine.. not quite, but close. Adding programs is a breeze.. for those not comfortable with apt-get, there’s a nifty little “add/remove programs” utility that’s actually pleasant to use to find new apps to install from the web.. really nice!
Within minutes I had Ruby, Rails, mySQL, and even the Aptana IDE installed with no issues.. even a nice little trillian-like IM app!
People all over the world are finding Ubuntu to be as user-friendly and easy to use as I did.. heck, even Dell sells PC’s with it pre-loaded! If you’re feeling adventurous, go to ubuntu.com and download a CD image to play with. You can burn the image to a CD and just boot into it.. you don’t even have to install it to give it a test run!!!
I highly recommend it!