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I would like to gather some ideas what are the Pros and Cons in using Linux in Web Development,

And would like to know what Linux platform would you be recommending and why.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Pros:

  • SSH - Remotely log in to your server using your favorite terminal emulator.
  • In GNOME - Built in FTP/SFTP file browsing out of the box using gvfs
  • The ability to run your own web server locally for fast testing if you're feeling adventurous
  • Multiple desktops to pan and divide your work space
  • Great web-oriented editors such as SCiTE, Geany, Screem, gedit and MonoDevelop (if you want .NET).
  • Firefox pre-installed on most distros and firebug available on most repositories.
  • Opera available for Linux
  • epiphany-webkit or Midori available to test Safari/Chrome compatibility

Cons:

  • Need a windows VM to test on IE, or WINE to use ie4linux
  • May be difficult if you are working with Microsoft technologies
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If you work with PHP, you'll find things generally better on Linux. Apache is faster, PHP extensions easily installed and compiled. –  David Caunt Oct 20 '09 at 22:29
    
The ability to run a local web server for testing is not unique to Linux. –  Nathaniel Oct 20 '09 at 22:33
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Additional cons - no photoshop, flash or dreamweaver if you use those tools. –  Bob Weber Oct 20 '09 at 22:36
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The GIMP is a perfectly capable substitute for Photoshop, though. –  David Z Oct 21 '09 at 2:28
    
@Nathaniel: strictly, you're correct. However, given that most commercial OSes charge extra for the server versions, and that server OSes are quite different in some ways from non-server OSes**, it's true that you have more potential for setting up development servers with Linux. ** For instance, if you developed a TV schedule webapp on Windows 7, you might be shocked to find that the more expensive Windows Server 2008 simply doesn't allow the use of DVB hardware. @David: Sorry, but GIMP doesn't compare to photoshop. GIMP+Krita maybe. There are film industry graphics apps for linux though. –  Lee B Oct 22 '09 at 15:25

From my point of view the major advantage of developing under Linux is that I can re-create the live environment locally as my development environment without the added expense of OS licensing for a development environment, and by copying .conf files backwards and forwards.

Capistrano is also a god-send for deployments, and not available for Windows (AFAIK).

The same advantages hold true for any of the BSDs but they're not so easy to find hosting for.

The cons are, as mentioned by LiraNuna, you still need a Windows environment available for testing. Although I find multiple Windows environments (with different versions of IE) running under VMware works well as a compromise.

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Without the additional licences - I understand just about, but the fact is, I can do the same in Windows with IIS or even load up Apache. I really don't think you have listed anything that is a real benefit in Linux over Windows... Even with the licences, pretty much most decent devs have got a MSDN licence or can use a trial of Windows. –  William Hilsum Oct 20 '09 at 22:46

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