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Tag Archive: Linux

The lonely PC

June 24th, 2013 Alina Guzman Tech, Web Development 1 Comment

I’m into Week 2 of Web Development Immersive! Most of what we covered was a review of the pre-course so it wasn’t as challenging as I know it will be in the weeks to come.

We covered the fundamental building blocks of Ruby- data types, arrays, hashes, methods, loops, iterations, and classes. Using just these essentials, we built a functioning stock and portfolio manager. I imagine it is important to master these basics as much as possible in order to be able to call on them without trouble once the course progresses and our applications become more complex. Throughout our work with Ruby, we also use the version control system, Git, and a hosting platform, Github, to be able to collaborate with others and open source our code. Git basically runs entirely from the command line. It’s quite fun to work from the CLI- makes things like creating files and directories must faster.

During orientation, I found out I was the only non-Mac user in the class! It was hard for me to imagine that Windows is so irrelevant in the Ruby community. I have long been aware of the stigma against Windows in the design world…but the development world too? As a graphic designer, I worked mainly on huge iMacs both at work and in my college’s design lab. I’m completely comfortable using Macs and have long passed the stage of googling ‘how to copy and paste on a mac’. Regardless, I still prefer using Windows as my main working computer OS. Running graphic design programs on Windows is no different than running them on Macs, so I must disagree when people try to make claims that graphic designers shouldn’t use it.

I say use what you want. If you want a PC- make sure it has killer specs and you’re fine.

Now that I’ve dipped into Ruby and had my fair share of work on the command line, I definitely see the value of the Linux inspired terminal on Mac OSX. Installing programs is as easy as typing out a line and hitting enter (once you download homebrew, that is). Need to create a ruby file and launch a text editor? Type it in the bash terminal. It’s not that I can’t find workarounds with Windows (because I can and have), it’s just a hassle following along a class that is instructed with Mac commands, tips and shortcuts. Because of that, the instructional team recommended on Day 1 that I partition or virtual machine a version of Linux onto my PC.

My father and I spent the next few days battling my machine trying to accomplish just that. The amount of errors we came across would discourage most. Eventually, we got a working copy of Ubuntu onto VirtualBox, but it was so far from optimal! It took anywhere from 30-60 seconds just to open up the terminal. I found a tutorial that changes the driver used in the new version to something faster (and not 3D). That did improve the copy a bit, but it was still far from the speed the computer should have.

We then installed a version of Mint, which is a lightweight version of Linux. While Mint was quite fast, it displayed a video driver error on the home screen at all times that I couldn’t figure out how to remove. Installing from the terminal was also more of a hassle than with Ubuntu because of how light it was.

Ultimately, I decided to keep Ubuntu and just deal with the slowness for when I need to use Linux (deploying my app to the servers, for example). Until that time, I’m sticking with Windows. That unfortunately means I have to listen to my instructional team lecturing in Mac terms. I try to write down what definitely doesn’t work with Windows and what I will need to use once I work on Linux. Some things I have to quickly figure out how to do on the Windows CLI – just like make a new file with ‘new-item’ as opposed to the Mac/Linux ‘touch’ command.

Next, I’ll write about my experience using RubyMine – an integrated development environment that, in my humble opinion, boosts coding productivity far more than anything else I’ve tried! Having my IDE completely obliterates any disadvantages I might have with Windows.

 

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