Ubuntu Attracts Developers
Ubuntu Attracts Developers
Written by Mike James   
Friday, 05 September 2014

Have you ever wondered why you use the operating system you do to create programs, perhaps for other completely different operating systems? Canonical is making efforts to try to attract you to Ubuntu, even if you are targeting Android. 


To put it in the words of Ubuntu developer Didier Roche:

"Ubuntu loves developers and we are going to showcase it by making Ubuntu the best available developer platform!"

This raises the initial question of what would it take to make Ubuntu attractive to programmers? Clearly what we require are high quality IDEs and other tools and generally speaking these aren't necessarily operating system specific. So it seems unlikely that Canonical is going to provide resources to create a new IDE.

However things are not always simple to get setup. Consider Android Studio. To get this installed you need to download a tar file and upack it to a suitable location. If you want to launch it from the desktop you also have to edit the .desktop file to add the details - location, icon file etc. And of course none of this will work if you haven't got Java installed correctly. It takes about five commands and after that you can use Android Studio from Unity.

The first step to making Ubuntu attractive to programmers is to make Android Studio installable with a single command - well two if you also have to install the Ubuntu Developer Tools. The idea is that Ubuntu Developer Tools will be expanded to support other development environments - Eclipse and ADT and Go is also mentioned. 

At the moment things are a bit messy because the Developer Tools aren't included as standard and you have to use a Personal Package Archive provided by Didier. So at the moment the actual installation of Android Studio is only marginally easier. First add the PPA to you systeM 

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:didrocks/ubuntu-developer-tools-center
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-developer-tools-center

and finally to get and install Android Studio:

udtc android

Nice, but not a sea-change in difficulty level. When Ubuntu 14.1 is released the tools will be in the archive and installation really will be simpler. 



Ubuntu is already a favourite distribution for programmers as revealed by surveys. The reasons are that it is easy to install, mostly, and it already has installation options for many standard systems like Python, Ruby and so on. Add to this its support for Docker, VMs and the Cloud, and it already is about as attractive as it could be. Adding a Developer Tools utility isn't really going to make a great deal of difference.




While the sentiment is in the right place, it is difficult to see what more Canonical could do to attract developers.




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Last Updated ( Friday, 05 September 2014 )

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