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Discussion on: What type of computer do Linux Developers use?

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Dave Cridland

I've used Linux as my primary development desktop since THE LAST CENTURY™, which makes me feel very old indeed. Back then, "IDE" was a hardware interface for hard disks, and so we only had "editors". Javascript hadn't been invented yet, and I was cutting-edge by programming in that fancy ANSI C. And I had, I kid you not, almost a whole Gigabyte of disk space, and 40 MEGABYTES of RAM - this was at a time most people had perhaps 4 - my parent's machine had a 40M disk...

Obviously I've upgraded a few times since, but always to a hand-crafted behemoth, hewn from stone, with chips I made myself from the finest potato, and microcode inserted using deft gestures whilst holding a hand-wound electromagnetic wand.

Well, that's half-true, anyway - my current Linux development desktop is actually a 6-core Haswell i7, with 64G of RAM and a sort of random collection of SSDs. I bought the machine about 6 or 7 years back, and I had a single 2.5K screen (bought at the same time) and a pair of 1600x1200 Dells in portrait on either side - all driven by a pair of 660Ti's which were linked in SLI mode for when the machine (called Jekyll) is dual-booted into Windows 10 to play games (whence it becomes Hyde).

It's got a water-cooler, because, you know, it's a frigging water cooler. How cool is that? Real reason: It's quieter, which is why it's built around a Fractal Design sound-proofed case, too.

Since then I've upgraded the monitors to three 2.5Ks (Two Dell U2715H's and the original Dell U2713HM, now in portrait), powered by a nVidia 2060 - one of the 660 Ti's lurks within the machine, perhaps used for PhysX, I don't know. Maybe it's the thing that randomly slows the games down?

For several years, I've used clamp-to-the-desk monitor stands rather than the stands the monitors came on, because it gives me a lot more desk space and put the screens at the right height.

I also have a work laptop for when I'm on the road (like, going into the actual office), but I use Windows 10 on there, with WSL2 for the Linuxy stuff, because the hardware was much better supported. Don't tell anyone.

andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden Author

Thats an impressive setup by the sounds of it do you have a picture to share 😁

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Dave Cridland

Well, obviously if they were 4K screens it'd be more impressive.

dwd Home Office

Visible on screen, LTR:

  • Android emulator (I'm not an Android dev, but I can manage a few bits)
  • Slack (work "corporate" IM)
  • Gajim for Open Standard IM
  • A terminal.

  • Cinnamon desktop panel, for new-style old-school Linux desktop.

  • Another terminal.

  • Datagrip, the JetBrains IDE for databases.

  • JetBrains Toolbox.

  • Chrome, showing gmail.

Physical, LTR:

  • "Comms" screen, with webcam on top, on a gas-lift arm so I can move it about.
  • Headset (Logitech gaming one, comfortable for long calls with good sound and microphone).
  • Roccat Isku keyboard. Slightly worn.
  • A Leap Motion controller, in case I want to feel like I'm in a late '80's cyberpunk thriller.
  • Logitech speakers.
  • A note in binary from my wife.
  • "Work" screens, one landscape one portrait, on a fixed dual-screen stand.
  • Wacom graphics tablet, great for scribbling stuff on calls with whiteboarding.
  • Roccat Tyon mouse. All the buttons.
  • The access card for the actual office, which shares a keyring on a retractable cable with a Yubikey, because hardware crypto and U2F FTW.
  • The blue light is a Bluetooth adapter. Mostly its there because people genuinely think it's a security alarm or something, because it blinks blue.

The portrait screen for web browsing is an acquired taste - once you try it you acquire it - but what you can't make out is that the IDE, like all my programming editors, runs with a proportional font because I don't hate my eyes.

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jpeltonstroud profile image
Joshua Pelton-Stroud

A note in binary from my wife.

This makes me happy inside.

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dwd profile image
Dave Cridland

Me too.