Linux desktop for developers movement

2024-06-12 16:15:00 +07:00 by Mark Smith

The main discussion in the Chefs Choice Ubuntu episode Ep#566 on the latest Linux Unplugged podcast, is super interesting, especially given my recent article about what digital collaboration looks like in the VFX industries. Such synchronicity. It was all brought about by the recent announcement over at 37signals that they are moving to Linux as the standard workstation for developers. DHH is somewhat of a major OG internet pioneer, so folks really listen to what he had to say when it comes to developing online businesses.

His thesis is that although Apple does have some nice hardware and software, it's been apparent for some time that their interests are not as well aligned with developer interests as they once were. So he decided to take the plunge and move all his developers to Linux which he feels is more spiritually aligned with his interests. It's somewhat of a bold move in an industry where most, or at least many, developers use Apple hardware and software. The cool thing is he's decided to channel his enthusiasm of the transition into a project, called Omakub, to help rapidly configure Ubuntu into a generalised workstation for software developers. Of course the project is open source and aims to help other small businesses and solo devs make a similar move towards Linux.

The Linux Unplugged guys, who themselves are extremely experienced running and maintaining Linux systems in a variety of contexts, go deep on the whole idea, and it makes for a tremendous episode. It's a subject I'm really interested in, and have been since my time working in VFX, where the default OS for engineers and artists was often Linux, in my case it was Fedora Linux. It was awesome, but it did take quite a bit of customisation to get things looking good and being functionally optimum. I was part of the engineering team that systematized that, but many folks don't have the luxury of an in-house engineering team, hence the need for the project.

Some of the key take aways:

Some of the additional topics discussed:

It's great to see such a project take flight, especially since it stands a pretty good chance of being around for a while as they are using it in their day to day business activities. Could be an awesome combo with one of those modular Framework laptops. In fact I believe I read somewhere that DHH is equiping many of the 37Signal devs with such devices. This has all the hallmarks of the maker / hacker movement. Really hope this project succeeds, I've seen something similar with my own eyes in VFX, so I know it's possible, and I'm almost certain something similar could be created for developer environments across the wider economy. Digital collaboration on Linux might be the next big thing.

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