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Discussion on: Linux, the right choice?

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John McCabe

Sadly, the choice of Linux distros is, in my opinion, its downfall. The fact you can find applications that only work, or are only supported, on specific distros is a nightmare.

For example, the Xilinx Petalinux tools only work/supported on Ubuntu, RHE and CentOS, but other tools I use are only supported on, e.g. Ubuntu and Fedora etc. This essentially means that, if you want to do real work on Linux where you depend on a vendor's support, you need to decide what distros to use based on what your vendors are happy with, it's not a free choice.

Then, of course, there are the FOSS packages that have instructions to build on certain distros but, if you're using something else, you're on your own.

A further irony, perhaps caused by the arrogant attitude that the command line is king, is the difficulty in finding a good, free graphical git client. On Windows you have TortoiseGit (as well as very similar TortoiseCVS and TortoiseSVN for CVS and SVN respectively) and Source Tree; if you want the same power on Linux, you have to pay for it!

If the Linux world really wants to compete with Microsoft on the desktop, it needs to rationalise. A distro designed to appeal to beginners or to try to entice Windows users away is, in my experience (having first started looking at Linux with Mandrake in ~1996), unlikely to be well enough supported for professional software developers so, at some point, you'd have to bite the bullet and move to a different distro, with then costs of potentially re-learning how to do all the things you already knew, but in a different way.