Thanks to its open-source nature and versatility, Linux has long been the preferred operating system for developers.
However, the very fact that Linux is open source means that there are several Linux versions (known as distros) vying for the title of the best Linux distro for developers.
Choosing the right Linux distribution is more than just selecting an OS. The right distribution offers a dependable platform for all your development tools and workflows.
This article will explore some of the top Linux distributions for developers, emphasizing their strengths and distinguishing features that make them such an excellent choice.
However, before that, let’s explore the idea of the best Linux distribution for developers in a bit more detail.
Why Selecting the Right Distribution is Critical for Developers?
Developing software products is an involved process that uses several tools such as compilers, interpreters, debugging and linting tools, and a wide range of libraries and packages.
That’s why determining the best fit between the developers’ requirements and the features offered by various Linux distributions is an essential step.
In general, a great Linux distribution for developers provides a reliable and secure platform that includes native support for a variety of software packages and programming languages. Furthermore, the distribution should be easy to use and adaptable to developer’s requirements.
Table Of Content
- How to Choose the Best Linux Distro for Developers
- Hardware Requirements
- The Best Linux Distro for Developers
How to Choose the Best Linux Distro for Developers
- Programming Languages: Think about the programming languages you use the most and ensure the Linux distribution you chose supports them. The good part is that most Linux distros support popular programming languages, including Python, Ruby, and Java. However, you should double-check language support in the official documentation.
- Stability and Security: If you work on vital projects, the best Linux distribution for your requirements should prioritize security over all else. That’s what you should look for in a Linux distribution with a solid reputation for dependability and security. Popular choices include Debian or CentOS.
- Ease of use: If you’re new to Linux, look for a distro with an easy-to-use interface (Ubuntu is a great fit here). If you want a more minimalist approach and wish to customize your system, a distro such as Arch Linux may be a better option.
- Software packages: Linux supports an amazing range of software packages. However, if you need to use an uncommon or very new library in your work, you should check the documentation to ensure the distro fits your requirements. For instance, if you require a specific text editor or database management system, you should find out whether your chosen Linux distro supports the package.
- Consider the size and quality of the community surrounding the Linux distribution. An extensive and active community is a great help when you run into trouble and need to resolve an issue.
- Finally, the Linux distribution you opt for should be compatible with your hardware. All distributions don’t offer the same level of hardware compatibility. If you’re using specialized hardware, you need to find the Linux distribution that works well with your equipment.
Linux Distributions Have Specific Hardware Requirements
You need to conform to the hardware requirements for the Linux distribution that you’re planning to use. Most Linux distributions need to ensure a minimum level of hardware compatibility. Here’s what you should consider:
- CPU: For software development, you need a multi-core CPU, such as an Intel Core i5 or i7 or an AMD Ryzen 5 or 7. If your project involves working with virtual machines or containerized applications, you may need a more powerful CPU.
- RAM: Software development requires a lot of RAM because of the several software layers running in parallel. Experts recommend having a minimum of 8GB of RAM, with 16GB being an optimal choice.Software development requires a lot of RAM because of the several software layers running in parallel. Experts recommend having a minimum of 8GB of RAM, with 16GB being an optimal choice.
- Storage: A solid-state drive (SSD) has now become an essential requirement for delivering faster read and write rates. You should start with 256GB of storage for storing the development tools and project codes.
- Graphics: For most programming tasks, you don’t need a specialized graphics card because the integrated graphics card often suffices for most tasks. However, developers who work with graphics-intensive programs may benefit from a dedicated graphics card.
- Monitor: Developers often have multiple windows open at a time. A high-quality monitor with at least 1080p resolution is often enough for most developers.
It’s crucial to remember that these hardware requirements are only a starting point; certain Linux distributions may have different needs or recommendations. Furthermore, you may require more powerful hardware for specialized game development or machine learning tasks.
That’s why before selecting a Linux distribution for development work, evaluate your hardware and software requirements and then find a Linux distro that fits those requirements.
The Best Linux Distro for Developers
By now, you know that selecting the Linux distribution that fits your requirements significantly impacts your productivity and efficiency.
Now choosing the best Linux distro for developers is not something trivial because most Linux distros come very close to hitting the mark.
The following list of Linux distributions is meant to give you a head start in the selection process.
CentOS is a Red Hat-sponsored community-driven Linux distribution. It is well-known for its stability and security, making it an excellent choice for developers who want a dependable working environment.
The vast user and contributor community is perhaps an important point in CentOS’s favor. You can find several great resources for troubleshooting the issues.
CentOS supports a huge range of software, including all popular programming languages and libraries. You can install CentOS and get right into your development workflows without worrying about incompatibility and dependencies.
Debian is one of the most well-known and dependable Linux distributions. It is famous for its stability and security, which makes it a good choice for developers looking for a Linux-based working environment.
Debian has been around for a few decades, and as such, you’ll find a huge volume of training material for users of all skill sets.
Many developers find Debian a perfect fit for their requirements because of its support for programming languages and popular libraries.
Fedora is a Red Hat-sponsored community-driven Linux distribution. It is well-known for its cutting-edge capabilities and is an excellent choice for developers who want to work with the most up-to-date tools and technology. Fedora also has a very friendly community that has created many training and support resources for developers. It also has a relatively fast release cycle, so you can rapidly acquire the most recent changes and features.
5. Arch Linux
Arch Linux is a lightweight and adaptable Linux system noted for its ease of use and customizability. It is an excellent solution for developers that want total control over their environment and wish to customize their dev environment from scratch. Arch Linux has a rolling release cycle, so you can always obtain the most recent upgrades and features.
Ultimately, selecting the best Linux distribution for developers is subjective and depends on individual preferences and specific project requirements. We mentioned a couple of popular Linux distributions that developers prefer because of their great support for programming languages.
Developers need a Linux distro that’s easy to use and supports all the tools and libraries they use in their work. We highly recommend Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Arch Linux, and CentOS as exceptional options that provide a reliable foundation for developing and deploying applications.
Q: What’s the recommended hardware configuration for running the best Linux distribution for developers?
A: The exact hardware requirements for operating the best Linux distro for developers vary by distribution, but in general, you will need a computer with at least 2GB of RAM, a dual-core CPU, and at least 20GB of accessible hard drive space.
Q: Is it possible to run Linux distributions for developers on an older computer?
A: Some Linux distributions are purpose-built to work on outdated hardware. However, performance may be subpar, and you may need to utilize lightweight software and disable some functions to optimize performance.
Q: What programming languages does the best Linux distribution for developers support?
A: The best Linux distribution for developers usually supports various programming languages, such as Python, Java, C++, Ruby, and PHP.
Q: Can I use the finest Linux distribution for developers with my current operating system?
A: Most Linux distributions enable dual-boot installs, which allow you to install Linux alongside your current operating system.
Q: Is the finest Linux distribution for developers available for free?
A: Almost all Linux distributions are free and open-source software. Some distributions, however, may provide paid support services or corporate editions with additional functionality.
Q: What software tools come with the best Linux distribution for developers?
A: Depending on the distribution, the software tools provided with the best Linux distro for developers may differ, but most include a text editor, a terminal emulator, a package manager, and development tools for several programming languages.
Q: How do I decide on the best Linux distribution for developers?
A: Your unique demands and preferences determine the ideal Linux distribution for developers. Consider the programming languages you use, your hardware, the amount of technical skill necessary, and the accessible community assistance. You should experiment with different distributions to find the best for you.