Anyone using Linux as their primary workstation?

Thanks to the job of Network Admin falling back onto my shoulders in the past few weeks, I’ve been able to get back into mucking about with computers, not just software, on a daily basis. Earlier this week I set up a NAS server using Ubuntu 8.10 desktop edition. (Desktop instead of Server because I’m not a masochistic nutjob that needs to do everything from a command line.)

Our previous NetAdmin had been a big fan of proliferating USB drives on workstations all over the building, none of which were getting backed-up each night. We’ve got a fully-switched gigabit backbone, so the NAS server is my attempt to get those drives off of desktops and into the server room where I can administer and maintain them properly.

The last time I mucked around with Linux seriously was pre-Fedora, and before that I think it was in the days of RH5. Holy crap has Linux come a long way since then.

Thanks to Likewise, joining our Active Directory took about 30 seconds. Almost everything else I’ve needed has been available through Synaptic. Sure, I’ve had to drop into a terminal every now and then, but not nearly as much as I used to. Working with sudo is a little wierd, but I like the fact that I don’t have to keep open two terminal windows to do root and non-root tasks.

The experience was so painless, in fact, that I decided to throw Ubuntu on the laptop that I’ll be using for the next few weeks. So far, the only thing I’ve had to drop to a terminal for on the laptop has been to fix PPTP VPN issues. Wireless works. Video plays. Banshee beats the beast that is iTunes. I’m totally digging Gnome-Do. And, of course, I’ve been using OpenOffice for years anyway.

I’ll give it a month or so, but if it continues to be this painless then I’ll seriously consider waxing my workstation and switching.

Are there any web developers out there using Linux as their primary workstation? Is there anything that you miss about Windows and wish you had back?

By Rick Osborne

I am a web geek who has been doing this sort of thing entirely too long. I rant, I muse, I whine. That is, I am not at all atypical for my breed.