Developers love Linux. Yes, I know I’m being Captain Obvious when making this statement, but I promise I have a point.
Plenty has been written about the superiority of Linux when it comes to providing an optimal environment for software development. I’ll repeat some of those reasons here, but I’ll also make the case for why your Linux-based system should be hosted on the cloud, rather than on a local endpoint.
In this piece, I’ll reiterate some of the most emphatic reasons why developers prefer Linux. I’ll also outline a solution in which you can access a fully-functional Linux OS on the cloud. And finally, I’ll discuss why this is a superior alternative to coding/testing/deploying via the resources available at your workstation alone.
Why Devs love Linux (the main reasons)
Unlike Windows or macOS, Linux is fully customizable. The user has manipulated every last aspect of the OS to align with their specific needs. It’s quite common, for example, to create a lightweight version of the OS that would be compatible with an older computer or one designed for high-res gaming.
Linux also offers an impressive range of GUIs (called “desktops”), each carrying unique features and aesthetics. This level of customization is unmatched in any other OS, primarily because Linux is open-source with full access to its codebase. Consequently, it offers an unmatched flexibility that devs cannot help but utilize for easier and more sophisticated development or usage.
Better resource usage
Compared to Linux, Windows and Mac tend to hog computing resources. These OSes come with in-built features that most users do not eliminate/disable. These end up consuming significant memory, space and processing power.
The OSes also have UI elements set in stone, i.e., they cannot be customized the way Linux UI can. Therefore, simply rendering the UI eats into resources.
Windows and Mac apps are also usually heavier and once again, resource-intensive. Check a typical text editor on Linux and you’ll see that it's usually a few KBs while the same app on Windows will go into MBs.
Platform Independence + Interoperability
You can run Linux for most hardware configurations – legacy PC, mobile devices, super computers…anything. The Linux kernel and software can be porter to any architecture that a dev sees fit.
Linux also works well with other systems like Windows and Mac OS X. You can install them alongside Linux, share files and work with both in tandem. No multi booting drama like the kind Windows makes you deal with (choosing between Windows 7 and Vista, remember?)
The Linux architecture includes something called “security by design” – build security into every layer of the OS, including the core. It is fundamentally more protected against hackers; there are less vulnerabilities to exploit. No prizes for guessing why devs love this.
Bash scripts (a form of shell scripts used to run tasks in Linux) are an especial perk. They are flexible, can be added to existing programs, quickly understand user needs and map them to the Linux live terminal.
Bash scripts are largely easy to pick up and it's easier to identify performance errors when you’re debugging. Needless to say, these advantages go a long way.
Open source applications
Not only is the OS open-source, you also get a range of open-source applications compatible with Linux. Think of editors like LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice, graphic design/photo editing/illustration software like GIMP and Inkscape and dev tools like Eclipse and NetBeans.
Free OS + free applications = free or much cheaper cost of development.
Now think about Linux on the cloud….
Take every advantage Linux gives you as a development tool, and imagine that you can access all of them without expending the resources of your own device.
You get exactly that with a cloud-based PC/virtual desktop provider like Neverinstall.
For now, let’s peruse the advantages of having your Linux OS on the cloud:
Limitless, location-agnostic access
Access and use your Linux OS from literally anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet-enabled device. Your work is no longer tied to any one location, since you don’t need high-powered equipment or super-fast internet connections (more on that below).
Optimized resource usage on your device
With an option like Neverinstall, devs do not need high-end devices or 5G internet to get started with their work. They could even code, compile and deploy on a Chromebook, because all computing tasks are handled by remote servers. The user’s physical device only needs to be capable enough to run a single browser and connect to the internet.
Vendors like Neverinstall actually offer access to servers located in the USA, UK and Europe, so that you can use the improved internet speeds available in those regions. Consequently, you don’t have to depend on the internet speed available in your location. It just needs to be strong enough to sustain a browser’s activity. Everything else is handled by the cloud.
No need to consistently update devices
The Neverinstall cloud OS comes with pre-installed, pre-configured applications, including devtools. The metaphorical heavy lifting of running these applications (mostly resource-heavy ones) is entirely the responsibility of the cloud, not the end-user device.
Consequently, your personal device doesn’t suffer much of the wear-and-tear of daily development. Naturally, they don’t degrade as fast, and you won’t have to keep updating/replacing them to keep up with industry-best practices. A vendor like Neverinstall will update and optimize the cloud OS to align with current development standards and customer preferences.
All you do is sit back, log in, run code and worry less about when your laptop will give up on you.
When your Linux OS is on the cloud, you pay only for what you use. If your team has 5 folks, you pay for 5 desktops. If your team has 50 devs, you pay for 50 desktops. You scale the number up and down as required with a couple of clicks. So, if you’re an engineering manager, you’ll bring effective, optimized expenditure to the table, save the higher-ups a lot of money and never have to compromise on actual development practices.
Better security implementation
The conversation around data security is ubiquitous these days. Everyone from junior devs to CTOs are hyper-aware of how vulnerable their data is, especially confidential, corporate data. Major cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and AWS are hyper-aware of security concerns, and constantly optimizing their ecosystem for maximum security. This is also true for Neverinstall.
So you get a cloud PC that provides uninterrupted data security – without you having to do any work to ensure said security.
No dependence on device state
As mentioned before, you could accomplish your entire development pipeline with a Chromebook. No need for Macbooks to run VSCode, Android Studio, Neovim, IntelliJ, Pycharm, Jupyter, Eclipse and a plethora of devtools; you can have a seamless development experience on any device you choose.
Since all the resource usage and processing is confined to the cloud, you don’t have to worry about acquiring enough RAM and GPU to get the job done without lagging and random restarts/shutdowns.
Again, you get ALL the advantages of using a Linux OS to develop software, as well as the added advantages of running all computing operations on the cloud. Not to mention, you get these additional benefits at a much lower price because you’re saving on device cost, maintenance costs, the economic fallout of data theft and the like.
Linux + The Cloud = A Developer’s Utopia
While local development does have its merits, especially for developers working with companies that have protocols insisting on the same, crafting your code on the cloud is undoubtedly the future-forward way. Don’t take my word for it. A little bit of Googling will provide all the evidence to validate this statement.
With Neverinstall in particular, you get the following features, all accessible via a single login:
- A functional Linux-backed desktop that anyone can use on any device with an internet connection. The experience is like working on a personal device, but access to the workspace is through a browser.
- No downloads, setups, or configurations are necessary. All apps are pre-installed and pre-configured every time you launch a workspace.
- Multiple popular applications to choose from
- Spaces optimized for mobile devices - responsive design, single-touch and multi-touch interactions across device classes, and a virtual keyboard.
- Users can launch their cloud desktop to browse at higher internet speeds or use the platform as a VPN by launching in Europe or the USA.
- Low latency application streaming thanks to our use of the WebRTC streaming protocol.
- Hassle-free usage of input devices like keyboard and mouse.
- A globally distributed server network that continues to expand. Current server clusters are in the US, England, Singapore, and India. New server clusters are coming up in Japan, Australia, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands, and more locations in the US.