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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.

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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.