Up until today, I have developed Dex on a Windows box sitting in my office. Why? Nothing technical. it just happened to be the closest box to where I was sitting at the time I started coding. Linux/Windows, I really don’t care, I am pretty comfortable with either. However, I just built a cheap-o Linux box today for about $450.00. It’s kind of interesting in the sense that it’s my first box that is solely SSD, and its my first experience with the Linux Mint distribution, more on that in a bit.
Initially I was going to go high end and build out a 16G monster box, but then I checked my wallet and finding it empty, I rethought things. First of all, it would distance my user experience from that of the typical users. Most users are probably running 4G or less. Running on a slower and memory constrained setup will force me to think more about performance. Nothing is worse than watching the hourglass wondering if it will return in seconds, minutes, or at all. Dex doesn’t do a good job with providing this kind of feedback. Someday I promise.
Next, I wanted to spend some time ensuring that my Linux brothers were well taken care of. Simply running a few litmus tests did not cut it. I needed to spend some quality time in Linux. So, the plan is that I will develop on Linux. Since I use Dex at my day job to solve issues. There, I run Windows, and will test it out on that platform. It’s the best of both worlds I think.
Next, I want to share a few things which are really unrelated to Dex, but very interesting. This is probably old-hat to most power-users, but the performance impact of shifting from regular hard-disk to SSD is staggering. In general, the bottleneck is no longer the CPU. If you want to spend some cost-effective bucks on improving performance, switch to SSD.
Secondly, Linux Mint is awesome. We have really come a long way since the 50 floppy disk slackware installs of the early 90’s. The installation literally went without a single hitch. I installed a live cd, and surfed the web while it installed Mint in the background. I read mail and watch videos. Fantastic!
Mint immediately recognized my 2nd 1920×1200 monitor and put both monitors into the highest resolution. In the past this could be rocket-surgery requiring X11Config magic and the risk of doing damage to your monitors. This installation was by far the best I have seen across any OS to date.
Next, there was a healthy array of supplementary packages, about 54,000 or so far each has installed without a hitch. However, I prefer to manually install a few key packages such as Java (since I typically have 6-7 versions available at a time). Eclipse is the other package i bypass package management features in Linux for. I like to ride the cutting edge on each of these and don’t want the extra lag time of waiting for distribution managers to package them up.
So, I hope to be able to serve the community better with this shift. I also wanted to praise SSD technology and Mint. Mint is awesome so far.