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migrating to linux

Rema Remulta
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 51
Hi everyone,
Just wanna hear your thoughts, opinions, hints, experiences :-)or just anything you would like to share regarding the issue we have here on migrating to Linux from Windows...We've been developing java apps for 3 years now using Windows platform since our end users are into Windows as well. The development team is indeed pretty much oriented of Windows on IDE, version control and other development tools. But as the company grows, license issue has become a problem financially and we cannot afford anymore of license fees . So here comes the awareness of the open source software and the impact of Linux as the operating system has provide us a best alternative that we might be migrating the OS from Windows. I heard about Linux basically but my worries are on the part of the development since the developers here aren't knowledgeable of developing Linux which might paralyze the whole production much longer, how long does the transition period take for the development team on learning Linux coming from Windows OS? Are there available development tools for Linux such as the version control, IDE, web development tools (like dreamweaver )etc.. ?
Cheers,
Rem
Frank Carver
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 07, 1999
Posts: 6920
I'm a big fan of Linux, but the most important thing for you is to do what is most effecive in your organization.
I can't believe that you have so many developers, for example, that the cost of the actual Windows OS is a major issue. Most likely it's the cost of the rest of the software you currently use in development.
I suggest you would get bigger immediate cost savings by considering alternative free/open-source/low-cost software to replace the expensive stuff but still run on your familiar Windows desktop platforms. If necessary you could easily move server functions (mail, version control, database, web server etc.) to Linux systems without impacting most developers at all.
For example: Eclipse is a good, reliable, high-quality, free IDE. Free version control systems such as CVS are in use by huge amounts of successful teams. The free Apache web server is themost popular server on the internet. OpenOffice.org is developing into a creditable, free, Microsoft Office replacement Etc. Etc.
I'm sure we could offer more specific advice about indivisual needs if you can give more information about what software you are currently paying (too much) for.


Read about me at frankcarver.me ~ Raspberry Alpha Omega ~ Frank's Punchbarrel Blog
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16145
    
  21

If you're primarily developing Java apps, the only real issue is going to be a switch on programmer tools. That's asusming you haven't been "cheating" and doing a lot of JNI, anyway.
Actually, Linux (and the various other Unix) OS's are a lot better than Windows for software development. The 2 areas where Unix started out were in the preparation and management of documentation and in programming. Most of the major software tools such as grep, touch, awk, make, and so forth were designed in whole or in part with software development in mind for the Unix platform. Most of them proved so useful that there are now Windows ports of them. However, enough aren't common enough on Windows that it would be a real pain for me to go back.
Of course, these are geek tools. A lot of people just want an IDE. Borland's is well thought of. Sun provides one, and then there's IBM's Eclipse, which is the foundation for their commercial Wesphere Application Designer, but it's very powerful in its own right.
Or, if you're cheap and can live without the slick UI stuff, you can use Emacs and the JDE plugin. I'm so perverse that I do most of my Java development on an 200 MHz Pentium system just because it's the one with the most comfortable chair next to it. Emacs works just fine on that, but you don't want to run the specialized Java IDE's on a box that slow!


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Rema Remulta
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 51
Thanks for the inputs! :-)
Is there something like a package on linux where i can download comprising the basic tools i need in the development? As i can see it seems like there are lots of tools available but it's kinda hard to find one which one best suits for another...I would be glad to know if there something such one that i can start playing on...
Frank Carver
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 07, 1999
Posts: 6920
I think we need to know a bit more about either what tools you use now (and what you like or don't like about them) or what sort of things you want to develop (and what sort of development process you use).
You mention version control, for example. What sort of version control do you use at the moment? Do you already have some sort of version control server software, and if so, what is it and how do you access it? Do you use a "locked for edit" or "concurrent and merge" approach to version control?
You mention about an IDE. What IDE do you use at the moment? What features of your current IDE do you use, and what sort of things do you develop with it? Do you use diagrams for modelling (UML, or whatever?) Do you need support for JSPs or other semi-Java code formats? Do you use/need a Swing/AWT GUI designer?
What build software do you use? What unit-testing software do you use? What acceptance testing software do you use? What bug tracking software do you use? Do you use any pre-processors, code-generators or other tools?
The answers to all these questions can affect the recommendation and choice of alternative systems.
I look forward to more details.
Rema Remulta
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 51
Currently, we use the following tools:
Version Control: MS Visual SourceSafe 6.0
IDE: VisualCafe Expert Edition 4.1
Build soft/unit testing/bug tracking: none but we're seeking for that
Database: MS SQL Server, MS Access
HTML tools: Micromedia Dreamweaver
We used to develop smart card applications then moved to applet and recently working on jsp/applet/servlet projects. We haven't used yet diagrams for modelling like UML but i think it'd be good to have a feature such that on IDE.
Hope this gives you enough details.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16145
    
  21

Red Hat's CDs contain the following development tools. Most of them are installed by default when you select a workstation installation:
Version Control: CVS (switching to Subversion in RH9). CVS can be accessed from existing Windows systems, BTW.
Database: PostgreSQL, MySQL
IDE/HTML tools: Emacs (includes editing modes for XML/SGML/HTML, C/C++/Java, etc.)
You'll want to download the latest Java SDK. It's not included.
You'll also probably want to download and evaluate Java-specific IDEs such as Eclipse and/or whatever Sun's calling its Forte system this month. Emacs is OK, but it's not potent as the Java-oriented IDEs.
Additional Java goodies are available from http://jakarta.apache.org, though in many cases, Jakarta projects have been bundled in with other products like Eclipse.
Frank Carver
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 07, 1999
Posts: 6920
Version Control: MS Visual SourceSafe 6.0
IDE: VisualCafe Expert Edition 4.1
Build soft/unit testing/bug tracking: none but we're seeking for that
Database: MS SQL Server, MS Access
HTML tools: Micromedia Dreamweaver

OK. I'd suggest
  • Version Control: CVS (maybe Subversion, but I've not used it myself)
  • IDE: Eclipse
  • Build soft: Ant
  • Unit testing: JUnit
  • Bug tracking: A lot of people use Bugzilla, but I haven't got personal experience
  • Database: PostgreSQL (larger, more "features"), MySQL (neater, quicker, less "features")
  • HTML tools: Stuck here, Can't think of much to touch Dreamweaver


  • I'd probably add a continuous integration server such as Anthill to build direct from CVS
    The interesting things about the tools I recommend above is that (a) they are all free and (b) there are versions for both Windows and Linux.
    This means that you can implement a staged migration. Start by moving to the Windows version of Eclipse, for example. Then set up a Linux box on your network running Samba for Windows connectivity, CVS, PostgreSQL and Bugzilla. Then move up to using Ant for building and JUnit for unit testing - Eclipse integrates so well with these that they feel like part of the IDE.
    Finally, any developer who wants to can move over to Linux from Windows, and still carry on using the tools he or she has become familiar with.
    We used to develop smart card applications then moved to applet and recently working on jsp/applet/servlet projects.
    Sounds reasonable. Do you use automated generation of UI code for you applets? If so you may find that free IDEs either don't offer this, or do it in quite a different way. Personally I steer clear of such things anyway. What web server/application server do you use for your JSP/Servlet work ?
    We haven't used yet diagrams for modelling like UML but i think it'd be good to have a feature such that on IDE.
    My main reason for asking this was to see if your current use of diagrams locks you in to some expensive single source product. It looks like you are free of that, at least. I'd suggest that you steer clear of diagramming in a development IDE. If you need UML diagrams there are plenty of free/low-cost UML drawing tools available, and if you don't like one you can easily try another.
     
    I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
     
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