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Keisni

Shoud I learn Linux?

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I know little about linux, just like human know little about UFO. All my programming knowledge applies to the windows platform, WIN32 API, MFC, WINSock, DirectX... Suddenly, I think i will be an idiot if Microsoft disappears. Then, what does Linux mean for a programmer? Is it really cool?

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Linux isn't really that different. As far as libraries go, most Linux-based libraries like SDL, Qt and so on have Windows versions as well, so you don't need to switch OSes just to learn them.

The one major Linux development thing I would suggest learning is to compile from the command line with makefiles. Many languages don't have decent IDE's so this can be a very powerful development method.

Another thing about developing on Linux is that all of the command line utilities can be strung together to make many problems easier. This can be done on Windows as well, but it rarely is.

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Hi Keisni,

well it depends what you want to achieve. With Linux you will get a wealth of free software, but you will also spend very much time on technical details and it may distract you from whatever you want to achieve.

Learning Linux will not help you make a game. I suggest that this is what you want to do. You may download a linux live-cd and have a look if you like it. Major IDEs under linux are K-Develop (linux only) and somehow the counterpart to Visual Studio, Eclipse and Netbeans (both java but not limited to the language java).

I would definatly not miss the opportunities of open source software - blender and gimp are great for gamedev.

Knowing the WINAPI is not a bad thing - it is not likely to leave anytime soon. This is probably a better investment than learning the SDL. You could write an abstraction interface to your WINAPI code and write an implementation for XLib (This is the Unix way of creating windows). Then you could invest some time in OpenGL, abstract your renderer also if you like and you are well out and independent, while staying on windows.

The conclusion is: moving to linux will probably not make you more productive or creative, although supporting it is always a good idea, adopt it if you like it ;-)

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May as well. Doesn't hurt to be familiar with more technologies.
Quote:
Then, what does Linux mean for a programmer? Is it really cool?
It's about as cool as your average mace. It's not pretty or elegant or brilliant, but it gets the job done.

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I would recommend giving it a go. I've been using Fedora 8 now for a couple of months and I actually prefer the development tools it has to windows, so I tend to do all my programming in Linux, and then boot into windows to compile for the windows platform. It really isn't that hard to make your code run on both OS's as long as you plan a little before you start writing. I've got a couple of abstracted away classes with all the same functions for Windows and Linux, then depending on which platform you are compiling for it implements the class with the one that calls windows functions or the one that calls Linux functions.

It is good fun to have a project that works in exactly the same way on both platforms.

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If Microsoft were to suddenly disappear it would be because we were swallowed up by the sun or a black hole and even then I think Microsoft would have a backup plan.

Learning Linus is not a bad idea. This is how I kind of view the situation. Microsoft is kind of like owning a car and being able to drive it. Linux is being able to work on the car, rebuild the engine and even if you are feeling motivated make your car. But how many people really NEED to be able to do this? Very few.

theTroll

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If you want to earn money, learn Windows technologies.
If you want to earn money writing proprietary desktop applications, maybe.

If you want to earn money writing server-side stuff, not really.

If you want to earn money writing/researching distributed systems, not really.

I didn't see many windows machines over at google, and they seem to be doing fine...

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Windows is fine as a hobby system -- I have a Windows system at home and putter around on it from time to time but I find it difficult to be particularly productive.

We use Linux exclusively at my place of employment. My kids run Linux on their laptops (although mostly just for games).

You will find that once you're used to working on Linux, Windows will feel very clunky and extemely limiting. The only advantage it seems to have is the availability of commercial games, and even that seems to be dwindling as the console market takes over.

Also, Linux and the Mac have very much in common, and jumping between those two platforms is a small step.

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