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Do You Get a UNIX Workstation at Work? 290

Posted by Cliff
from the heterogenous-workflow dept.
Fished asks: "This may be a selfish question, but so far as I can tell it hasn't been asked before. I'm currently a Solaris System Engineer in a Very Large Company. This Very Large Company has predictably standardized on Windows as their corporate desktop. However, they are also of the opinion that nobody needs anything -but- Windows on their desktop. If you're a UNIX/Linux systems engineer/administrator in a large company, do they give you a desktop for the platform you manage? Do you have any tips on justifying your need for a second, UNIX-based desktop to the powers that be?"
"While Windows may be a truth for most employees, as a System Engineer I find that my productivity is much lower when I am forced to use Windows on my desktop. I spend way too much time overcoming the ways in which Windows is just different from UNIX, and not enough time getting my job done. Loading Solaris X86 is not an option, since we are required to use a bunch of software that is Windows only (much of it sloppily written, IE only internal websites, with fun things like ActiveX controls.) VmWare works, but is certainly less than ideal."
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Do You Get a UNIX Workstation at Work?

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  • Does Linux Count? (Score:3, Informative)

    by bheer (633842) <rbheer@@@gmail...com> on Saturday March 31, 2007 @02:50AM (#18553605)
    Google, HP, Oracle, Sun, IBM -- all use Linux desktops at work. But if IT is unwilling to make a special case and allow you a Linux desktop, just get PuTTY, run it full-screen, you won't even know you're on Windows. There are even some X emulators for Windows (Hummingbird?) but it's been a while since I used any and <elitist>the command line is all you need anyway</elitist>.
    • Re:Does Linux Count? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rhythmx (744978) * on Saturday March 31, 2007 @03:06AM (#18553675) Homepage Journal
      The parent is right, Hummingbird 's Exceed [hummingbird.com] is definitely what you want. CygwinX is a joke IMHO for professional work, it crashes endlessly and the performance is horrible. Exceed has got good performance (even though it is Java, hehe), and a very thorough implementation of the X11 standard. It even has the GL extensions! It's expensive, but probably easier to requisition than a non-windows desktop.

      For the whole package, you can kill explorer.exe in Windows, and set Exceed up to route "root mouse actions to X" and you can even fire up your favorite window manager. I used to run Fluxbox full screen over SSH from our development server all the time. So, in a way, I just made the dev server my Unix workstation.

      Keep in mind that people in large companies would usually rather do things by the book than cater to the exception. Unless you are buddies with the CTO, it's not likely you're going to convince anyone to brush aside any long-standing policies.
      • Odd (Score:3, Informative)

        by WindBourne (631190)
        I am a *nix guy. But about 2-3 years ago, I was forced on a windows workstation (the last prior to that was a BRAND new OS called win95). I have tried Exceed and found it flaky and just so-so. OTH, I currently run cygwin and have NO intention of ever going back to hummingbird. Cygwin has been rock solid. Now there are times where it is SLOW. In addition, it has issues when I move the laptop to a docking station, move to monster monitor, start cygwin, then move back to the smaller res (it stops and waits). B
      • by NekoXP (67564)
        I'd also heartily recommend Exceed.

        But you should also get a box on your desk running Solaris.. it would be easy to convince them to buy you another $800 box to sit under your desk (the Ultra 20 is hardly expensive) for development work. Development work is the key; if you want to make any crazy changes to the server, you don't want to do it live and screw up. Maybe you want to test out some configurations or so and are happy to trash the box under your desk. That's a great justification. And for the meagre
      • by spinfire (148920)
        I use Exceed at work. Mostly it works OK, but it seems that the mouse scroll wheel does not. Since I do use the scroll wheel, for better or worse, it would be nice if it did. Anybody know how to fix this?
      • by bsharitt (580506)
        We used to use Exceed to administer our Unix server running OpenView, and I found it to be quite sluggish even over a fast network.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ElectricRook (264648)

        I work at a the worlds largest computer manufacturer. Of course all our design/validation happens in UNIX land. We have about 20K UNIX hosts at my site, and probably 100K worldwide.

        At my site, except for about 30 UNIX hosts dedicated to running testers. All of our UNIX is in data centers. We all carry XP laptops for email, office tools, and browser. And of course it really sucks, as you would imagine, there are more admins for XP mail alone, than for all of UNIX land software.

        The one upside we have, is

    • by croddy (659025)

      Putty is a poor imitation of Xterm, and an even worse simulation of a Linux VT. The X servers are alright, but are not in the same league as Xorg.

      Sure, these tools are what I'd need to just barely do my job from a Windows workstation, but what you've suggested is similar to telling a Windows admin to "just use Rdesktop, it's close enough". Although I'd happily provide a copy in an emergency, I'd never presume to tell a Windows admin that the wrong OS is good enough for him to do his job. One should not ha

      • Putty is a poor imitation of Xterm, and an even worse simulation of a Linux VT.

        Nice to see someone actually come out and say that. Personally, I think the vast majority of Putty users belong the Don't Know Any Different category. If there's a compromise to be made along those lines, the better choice would be Cygwin, but that brings us close to your rdesktop comparison.
    • by Fweeky (41046)
      Xming [straightrunning.com] seems pretty good; X.org + patches compiled with MinGW. I've not had any problems with it so far. Exceed I found rather clunky, but the last time I used it was several years ago.
    • Another approach might be KVM (the kernel module, not the hardware switch) and Qemu. Then the OP could, in theory anyway, run Win32 and Linux side by side on the same box and switch between them at need.

      As I understand it, the KVM works a lot like Xen, except it doesn't need a modified version of windows like Xen does. And apparently the in-kernel support clears up Qemu's performance issues.

      That said: I haven't got around to trying this myself yet. Still it might be a better solution than VMWare, whic

      • Oops. I meant to include a link [qumranet.com]

        ... poxy rotten slow down cowboy, mutter mutter mutter ...

      • by walt-sjc (145127)
        Or if you are in an enterprise environment that requires Windows as the base (meaning "host OS",) run VMWare Workstation. Just get yourself a nice big dualcore dualcpu workstation with at least 4G of ram, and it's quite snappy!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by allenw (33234)
      Sun employees generally get Solaris as a desktop via SunRay. The folks who install Linux, in general, are a) working on cross-platform products and b) do it outside IT's support services.
    • Software you request:

      1. Microsoft Services for Unix (if your computer has hardware NX support enabled, skip down to 'Or:'
      2. Xming X-server for Windows
      3. the Interopsys GNU software distribution for SFU (www.interopsystems.com/tools)

      Or:
      1. VMware Workstation
      2. Solaris 10 free DVDs.

      Or:
      1. Cygwin

      Or:
      1. the win32 gnu utils (unxutils.sourceforg.net / gnuwin32.sourceforge.net)
      2. Activestate Perl
      3. putty/pscp/psftp

      You really don't need a unix workstation. With ssh and perl, what CAN'T you do? does 'ls : command not f
  • and reboot one of them with Knoppix in the CD drive.
    • by dhasenan (758719)
      Yeah, Knoppix will work wonderfully to test Solaris applications.</sarcasm>
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      If VMware isn't ideal, then this probably won't be either. Knoppix and all the live CDs tend to be painfully slow at times when compared to the real deal. Unless there is some dos cdrom emulator and way to load it so you could boot from the hard drive, I don't think it would work. But if that is the case, then getting an external drive and loading a fully blown install on it then placing the bootloader on a floppy or something would be a better choice.

      Of course, making the case for a unix/linux install even
    • Don't they make an x86 version of Solaris? Just set up one of your Windows machines to dual boot, and you're all set.

      Even the most frugal corporations have old hardware lying around in a storage room somewhere. It shouldn't be all that hard to get a hold of another system if you're friends with an IT guy or a server admin.
    • by BobPaul (710574) *
      Bootable CDs don't work on password protected BIOSes set to boot only from the main HD. Not to mention Knoppix takes 3 days to boot. If you CAN boot another CD, just install Unix over the windows machine they give you. Most IT in large companies use things like AD to push out fixes, so at worst yours will just show up as never having installed the fix. Once you have a Unix machine, it's harder for them to take it away from you as you can clearly show lost productivity with it gone.

      The difficult part will be
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sirket (60694)
      I just bought my own computer for $400, brought the damned thing in to work and use that. If they have a problem with it then they can supply me with a computer to use. I have a company laptop that I access via rdesktop from my Unix desktop (FreeBSD running straight sawfish). It helps that I have 8 - 19" LCD's connected to this one computer (all via DVI which is nice) via 2 quad Matrox G450 cards.

      -sirket
  • I am in somewhat the same position, but it is recognised here that our Unix servers are a necessity. So everyone in our department gets WRQ Reflection as a standard application, and we run Samba on one of the Unix servers.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @03:01AM (#18553647)
    Why would you need it? Where I work we've got a ton of Solaris boxes, and they are a lot of the core servers (LDAP, DNS, e-mail, web, among others). Our Solaris admin is quite good, and a fairly hardcore UNIX type. Not a Windows fan by any stretch of the imagination. However, his laptop that he uses to manage everything is Windows. Why? Well because that gives him Windows when he needs it and it doesn't restrict him in any way. Between Teraterm and the ssh.com client I've never seen him have any problems. After all, it's UNIX sever administration. It's all done remote, and through a text window. He could probably use a C64 and do just fine other than being slowed by having only a single window at a time.

    So you need to first come up with a good reason or reasons as to why a Windows desktop doesn't work for you. Not liking it isn't a good reason, there's plenty about work I don't like, but then they are paying me so I'll do what I'm told. If you can't come up with a good technical reason, then probably you really don't need one. Pride and/or personal preference aren't a good reason when it comes to a work environment.

    Also, since they are standardised on Windows desktops, you presumably have Windows support people. Get them to maintain your desktop and don't worry about it.
    • by paeanblack (191171) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @04:53AM (#18554029)
      So you need to first come up with a good reason or reasons as to why a Windows desktop doesn't work for you.

      That's a very backwards approach to getting work done.

      Let your users list the tools with which they work most effectively. Then you cross tools off the list if and only if you have a very good reason or reasons to not provide those tools.

      "We provide Windows because we are a Windows shop" really is the tail wagging the dog.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by RevDobbs (313888)

        "We provide Windows because we are a Windows shop" really is the tail wagging the dog.

        Phrased that way yes, to does seem like circular logic. But try asking why the are a windows shop... the phrase ends up looking more like "We provide one operating system because it allows us to standarize our support costs, personnel training, security procedures, and software licences".

      • by sarathmenon (751376) <srm.sarathmenon@com> on Saturday March 31, 2007 @05:06PM (#18558905) Homepage Journal
        I am a linux/unix admin at work, and have a linux system, which I _will_ not trade for a windows system. The IT policy in our place is simple - support will be available if you load windows. If you are on *nix, and have a problem, then STFU. It works fine because as a linux power user, I certainly can manage my system.

        And yes, having windows on the desktop != having a unix. You can't manage ssh keys and custom ssh configs as easily with ssh.com and securecrt as with openssh. There is nothing like bash or perl that ships standard with windows. Ever tried setting up X forwarding on windows for that occasional unix gui application? Ever had to keep custom scripts that login to various servers for routine tasks? Ever had to script an ssh authentication script that logs into the new server just setup and copies over your ssh keys, vimrc, bashrc etc? Ever had to deal with antivirus hogging your CPU and memory? The list can be endless, but it definitely helps as an admin to have the OS of your choice.
    • by jlarocco (851450)

      Why would you need it?

      The way I see it, my employer can let me use a *nix and work to my full potential, or they can pay me to be less productive with Windows. Either way is fine by me. But Debian is free and having me waste time figuring out Windows is really expensive. If that's not a good enough reason, they won't be convinced.

      • by jimicus (737525)
        Debian is free until such time as you discover that the PC on your desk was built with some strange graphics card and it takes you two days wrestling to get X up and running.

        The company doesn't care, they buy whatever PC Dell/HP/IBM are shipping this month in the knowledge that it'll work in Windows. They're not going to spend weeks ensuring that they're getting something for which Linux drivers exist.

        Also, the IT department has a limited budget. Training someone up so they can offer support to the 3 peop
        • by Ash-Fox (726320)

          Debian is free until such time as you discover that the PC on your desk was built with some strange graphics card and it takes you two days wrestling to get X up and running.

          Uhm, maybe if you want 3d acceleration, for 2d acceleration -- no, this is definitely not the case, perhaps five minutes at most.

          The company doesn't care, they buy whatever PC Dell/HP/IBM are shipping this month in the knowledge that it'll work in Windows.

          Those companies DO provide Linux supported hardware.

          Also, the IT department has a

          • by Sancho (17056)

            Also, the IT department has a limited budget. Training someone up so they can offer support to the 3 people who want Unix desktops is hard to justify.

            The person in question is already a tech, no point in doing such a thing.

            Uh, how about so that he can do his actual job instead of fixing problems with his workstation when they occur?

            The great thing about having centrally managed setups (like you see so often with Windows) is that you can basically swap out workstations and have your complete environment right there. If something breaks on your workstation, you call IT, they bring you a new computer, swap it for your old one, and you continue working.

            If you have a different OS, this no longer works. You can either manage it

            • by Ash-Fox (726320)

              Uh, how about so that he can do his actual job instead of fixing problems with his workstation when they occur?

              Yes, it would be nice if he could just do his job properly, but apparently he's having trouble under windows.

              Why haven't the 'trained' techs fixed that?

              The great thing about having centrally managed setups (like you see so often with Windows) is that you can basically swap out workstations and have your complete environment right there.

              Yes, and?

              If something breaks on your workstation, you call IT,

              • by Sancho (17056)
                But why is he having so much trouble using SSH from Windows? sounds like there may be HR problems here, too.
                • by Ash-Fox (726320)

                  But why is he having so much trouble using SSH from Windows?
                  Personally, I've used much more than just SSH to manage complex Linux services from Windows.

                  So I'm just going to assume you have no experience with attempting to manage such systems from Windows.
        • This is dumb.

          You're somehow implying that Windows doesn't have problems that extend into several day shitfests. Show me a video that works in the default install of XP, and I'll show you two that do not. Show me one that doesn't in linux, and I'll show you two that do. You'll get nowhere with your strawmans about hypothetical video cards. There are lists of cards that do not work with linux. There are lists of cards that do work with linux. If you step out of those bounds, you have no ground to stand on.

          The company doesn't care, they buy whatever PC Dell/HP/IBM are shipping this month in the knowledge that it'll work in Windows. They're not going to spend weeks ensuring that they're getting something for which Linux drivers exist.

          Y

        • by jlarocco (851450)

          Debian is free until such time as you discover that the PC on your desk was built with some strange graphics card and it takes you two days wrestling to get X up and running.

          The company doesn't care, they buy whatever PC Dell/HP/IBM are shipping this month in the knowledge that it'll work in Windows. They're not going to spend weeks ensuring that they're getting something for which Linux drivers exist.

          So which graphics card would that be? I hear people spout this shit all the time, but they never give

      • by Sancho (17056)
        It depends upon the job. If the job is managing a number of remote systems over SSH, I don't understand why the OS on your workstation matters. Is Firefox/IE really so different that you can't use it as effectively as your preferred browser on Linux? Is ssh that different from Putty? The biggest difference I can imagine is e-mail, where Outlook is pretty hard to work with compared to Mutt (IMO), but if you're spending that much time on e-mail, there are probably other problems that your employer should
    • by BokLM (550487) *
      After all, it's UNIX sever administration. It's all done remote, and through a text window.

      Yes, you do a lot of things remotly, but there's also a few things you might want to do locally. And doing it on Windows is not efficient at all when you're used to Unix.

      So you need to first come up with a good reason or reasons as to why a Windows desktop doesn't work for you. Not liking it isn't a good reason, there's plenty about work I don't like, but then they are paying me so I'll do what I'm told.

      Not liking it
    • by GreggBz (777373) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @07:36AM (#18554617) Homepage

      Not liking it isn't a good reason, there's plenty about work I don't like,


      I don't like it because it makes me less productive and I feel crippled when there is a fire to put out.

      Don't take my awk and perl and even gedit and vi. I work as a Unix admin for a small ISP and the Linux on the desktop is invaluable.
      For auditing e-mail directories, writing scripts to parse the output of a mysql script, using scp to bounce files all over the place, working with tarballs, wget to see what
      a web page is really made of in an instant... making expect scripts for the few ancient internal Cisco things, snmptools to fetch all kinds of things
      and use them in scripts. I could go on and on.. Ohh... and I use dig and whois all the time!

      All in all, I am much more productive when I can do all these things quickly on the command line in 6 terminals at once rather then use Putty, WinSCP, Teraterm even Cygwin. I've tried this and I like Windows right. Just not for being a sysadmin.

      but then they are paying me so I'll do what I'm told.

      Well, it's funny, the corporation prohibits you from installing and using FREE software in an area where you really won't be affecting any one else.
      It's not like they have to support it. I guess that would irk me. But still, you do have a point, you do what you are told and roll with the changes. I guess I'm just lucky.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by vogon jeltz (257131)
        If you connect to another computer remotely, it doesn't really matter whether your system is windows or *nix. Under *nix you use ssh, under win you use putty. For graphics you use Exceed or xming under win, xdmcp under *nix.
        Lots of people don't know a VERY handy tool called "screen" ("man screen") which is available for most any *nix. You log onto a *nix box (be it via ssh or putty) and start screen. Screen allows you to easily open, and switch between as many shell instances you need/want. Check it out, it
    • Also, since they are standardised on Windows desktops, you presumably have Windows support people. Get them to maintain your desktop and don't worry about it.
      You can't possibly be serious. All I've seen or heard is tales of woe when you put your personal machine in the hands of the "support people", who, in my experience, basically tell you to make backups of the important stuff and wipe your disk and copy over the standard disk image if you complain about problems.
  • I work at an Even Larger Company and the answer is absolutely not. Never in a million years. It's got nothing to do with Linux, Unix, or Windows. It's got everything to do with a corporate consistency. The thinking is that if everyone has the same tools and only those tools, then it's easier to manage the IT environment from a central ivory tower. Which is true. But for anyone in a technical position, it also makes the job considerably more difficult.
    • Hard to Believe (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ReidMaynard (161608) *
      I too am a mild mannered *NIX Engineer at a huge multinational. It's easy to baffle IT into coughing up a spare PC, then throw linux on it. Now I have a Corporate approved XP PC, and my Linux box. I can't remember a single shop where something like this hasn't worked work.
    • by superwiz (655733)
      Wow. That's the stupidest thinking I've ever heard. Even though I tend to think that people lable things as "stupid" out of their ignorance, in this case it is absolutely deserved. What makes us humans different from animals is that we invent tools. So when better tools are available for doing our job, denying access to them is intentionally hindering work progress. How is that not "stupid"? What happened to "the right tool for the job" approach?
    • I did some contract work on a miltary base a while back where it was "windows-only" desktops, etc. I needed to do a lot of text parsing, a job best left to PERL. I got permission to have activestate perl installed without much trouble at all. While this is slightly off-topic, having a few unixy tools around can make win32 a much more tolerable environment. PERL tops this list.
      -Michael
    • That sounds like PHB talk and they likely don't have clue about what work the IT people even do.
  • by Dahamma (304068)
    That's it. ssh! Don't want to hear any more complaints from a supposed "UNIX server" admin. ssh!

  • This is a complaint from 1996 :) I find it hard to believe this is still happening. Doesn't the OP have any way to write a business case for a last generation PC to run Linux or Solaris x86 and a KVM switch. I'd even write it up as a UNIX AV scanner...something the Windows guys would be all in favour of.

  • I last used it about a year ago, but remember it being appreciably better than I thought it would be. It even has an almost debian like (gui) packaging thing that ... works. Functioning X server too, but not rootless IIRC.

    Dave
    • by Kadin2048 (468275)
      My major objection to cygwin (and this may be minor compared to others' objections, but I don't do that much serious work with it) is that you, at least to my knowledge, have to install new software through the GUI; you can't do it from the commandline.

      So if you have cygwin open and want to install openssl, you can't just type apt-get install openssl, you need to find the installer program (in Windows), and run it, and select the new packages.

      It would be nice to be able to do all that stuff, aside from inst
      • by Paul Crowley (837)
        Debian GNU/Win32 would be a great blessing for sure. It's been considered but never got very far AFAIK.
  • Install http://www.colinux.org/> or http://www.virtualbox.com/>
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You're in charge of them, make it happen and stop being a little girl about it.
  • At my ~auto parts~ second job, the "computer" I use most frequently is an AS400 dumb terminal, with one of those indestructible mechanical keyboards that go *KLOP* with every stroke, hence yanking a magic invisible electron-riddled cable in a secret room far, far across the complex. Yup, I get something other than Windows alright, with all the brilliance that green monochrome can offer.

    Other machines have keyboards that were manufactured post-AT, and run RedHat with a slick emulation of the dumb terminal
  • I work in a very small company (10 workstations) but in my lunchbreak boot DamnSmallLinux off my USBstick and turn my dreary XP - experience into a sleek Unix-terminal.

  • Current Job - Unix desktop, Windows laptop
    Previous Job (HP) - Unix desktop, two windows laptops (two networks, each laptop was only allowed on one)
    Previous Job (EDS) - Unix desktop, windows laptop
    Previous Job - Unix desktops (Two SGI workstations!)

    That takes me back to 1998 or so. I've pretty much always been on a Unix (like) workstation, with a Windows laptop for the odd cases that require it.

    Even with EDS, who is very strongly partnered with Microsoft, I still had a Sun on my desk.
  • If you can get them to set up a Windows terminal server somewhere (which could be as simple as XP Pro or a sufficiently high-end copy of Vista), connect to it with rdesktop and use it for the IE stuff. That's assuming you don't have to spend a lot of time on it.

    Another possibility would be running IE in Linux, under Wine -- there is actually a script (ies4linux, I think?) which does that very well.

    Also, complain to whoever did the sloppy stuff. I don't mean pitch a fit, call the CEO, nothing like that -- ju
  • Simple (Score:3, Funny)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @04:05AM (#18553895) Homepage Journal
    Plug the keyboard and monitor into the company's mainframe and use it as your desktop :P
  • Test Box (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Snook (872473) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @04:07AM (#18553901)
    You don't need a "Workstation", you need a "Test Box". A workstation is an overpriced desktop used to make trouble. A test box is an inexpensive server used to prevent trouble. Aside from the label, they are identical, but it makes all the difference to the bureaucrats.
    • You are right, but it goes beyond that.

      A test box is a box that techs use to test and try things on. A UN*X workstation is a techs personal playground. In many cases they actually _are_ a lot of trouble. Especially is the test box is shared most professionals will have some dicipline in not using it for things hey shouldn't.

      I;ve seen too many times a tech leaing a company and all kind of things going wrong when he workstation was shut down. ALso the opposite case I've seen happen, all of he sudden all kinds
  • Well, I am a UNIX admin at a large company and I have a lot of machines in my cube:

    * One laptop running Windows
    * One laptop running Linux
    * One x86 workstation running Linux
    * One x86 workstation running Solaris
    * Two Sun Fire V120s (these will be moved into my lab racks eventually)

    Unfortunately the budget's a bit tight these days, otherwise I'd be asking for an Ultra 45 to replace my older Dell.

    The trick is to be good at what you do, and then say you can do better with more hardware (and prove it once you get
  • Dream on, slashdot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amyhughes (569088) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @04:45AM (#18554011) Homepage
    Perhaps it's the same Very Large Company that I recently left. The engineers currently have both a Windows PC for office apps and email and a Unix workstation (Sun or HP) for actual work, but the current mandate is that all engineering apps are to be ported. This year. Most legacy X apps will be done using that Hummingbird thingy.


    What slashdotters don't seem to realize is you can't "just install such-n-such" or "ssh into such-n-such" or "boot from such-n-such" in a controlled corporate environment. If they say Windows, then it's Windows, and don't even think about installing something not in the standard load.

    Say hello to Clippy.

  • We get to run the operating system of our choice, though these days everyone runs either Debian, Ubuntu or Windows. When I do Windows development, I run VMWare - one virtual machine to compile the app, another to install and run it. I would hate to sit at a Windows machine for the most part - I know how to make my Linux box do what I want it to.

    If I were forced to use Windows, I'd just VNC into a nearby Unix box and use that as my full-time desktop.
  • UNIX desktops (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Simon Garlick (104721) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @06:32AM (#18554401)
    All the alpha geeks at my workplace run UNIX workstations.

    We all have Macs.
    • by jtshaw (398319)
      I do development for UNIX at my office too. We have a bunch of development servers of different flavors and a Mac Pro sits on my desk. As far as UNIX development goes, it is wonderful.
  • When I got hired, they said "What kind of desktop and laptop do you want?" I opted for a linux desktop and laptop, though the linux laptop image wasn't ready yet. So I got a Thinkpad with XP. I need to correct that, as it's been a couple years.

    They ask this because they realize that people are more productive when they use an OS they are familiar with. Supporting linux isn't that hard, since the OS is everwhere at work (indeed, there are people on the payroll who get paid to hack the linux kernel).

  • Luckily, I work in the department that is responsible for dolling out PC's, and I keep a large farm of machines all around my desk, which if equipped with installation media, can be running whatever I choose. Right now, I've got a Win2k box (all our corporate certified stuff runs there) a WinXP box (for playing games with the office mates) and a SuSE 9.0 box (for running the servers that said games are played from) In the past I've had Ubuntu running, various versions of SuSE, DSL and I think there have ev
  • I just discovered this little gadget and let me tell you, it is the most transparent X Server on Windows I've seen. It just gives you a full-screen-with-windows-border X server that contains a desktop ran by your remote Unix machine. Short of having to do direct hardware configurations you won't see any difference between it and having an actual Solaris/Linux desktop. I hope I sound like a mouth-piece for the company because I am not. I am just glad there is a solution out there now that is this simple
  • by Phrack (9361)
    Does my MacBook Pro count? I have all the Unix tools and office apps that I need, plus the occasional Windows-only app (via Parallels) all in one portable platform.
  • All they need is PuTTY and they are off coding up a storm.
  • But then again, I am a geek. Not many people run 2 Sun servers at home. But that is where I have my ftp server, mysql database, and apache running... Starting to experiment with bind, but it is so security vulnerable that I havn't left it on much (same reason why sendmail is disabled). My next real project will be Solaris zones.
  • Currently, I'm allowed to have my Gentoo workstation. Next month I'm off to a new employer and they said: 'Ok. So long as you can run outlook for your agenda.'. I'd figure it would run under wine, and most of the people on the net seem to agree. I'd like to ask this question to the /. crowd, though - does an install of outlook under wine come with any conditions, caveats or things that you can plainly have not that windows users have ? Thanks.
    • by RocketJeff (46275)
      I'm not sure if it'd work or not - but a better option that'll cause you fewer headaches in the long run is to run both Linux and Windows on the same machine. Pick the one you want to be the host OS and then install the other as a guest OS using VMware or Virtual PC (depending on the host OS).

      If you do use wine, even if it works great for Outlook, sooner or later the company is going to want you to run Word/Excel/Project or probably some home-grown time-tracking app that won't run with wine.

      I'd have the co
    • by jabuzz (182671)
      As long as they have OWA running then use Evolution, much nicer than Outlook under Wine.
  • If the company doesn't care whether or not you have the tools to do your job, why should you? (And Quake runs better under Windows anyway...)

    But seriously,

    1. Go ahead and make the case for a Linux box. Not because they'll give it to you, but just so that you know that you've tried to fulfill your professional responsibility.
    2. If you can, snag an old PC via "midnight requisition" or whatever. Hide it in or behind a file cabinet. That's your main box.
    3. If that doesn't work, start looking for a new job.

    G

  • When new computers for the company came in, I asked to keep my old computer (works if they weren't leasing it, but even then they can usually get it for cheap) and then I installed Linux on it.
  • Up until about a week ago, I used a self-provided PowerBook G4 as my work machine.

    Not too long after starting at where I work, I was given the task of overseeing my employer's Linux boxes. Seeing as most users did their Office et al work via Windows terminal server, I loaded Linux onto my laptop and used rdesktop for the terminal servers. It was... okay, but the power management and various interface issues annoyed me. I ended up buying a PowerBook G4 for both work and personal use, and it worked beautif
  • Our corporate standard desktop is Windows + Outlook + a bunch of crap that lets infosec automatically monitor and update the machine. Fortunately, for those of us who can get managerial approval, exceptions are easy to get.

    The bottom line is that we can't do our work in Windows, therefore we run something we can get our work done in.

    It's your manager's job to make sure you have what you need to do your job. If you need Linux/Solaris/Whatever, talk to you manager.
  • by spaceyhackerlady (462530) on Monday April 02, 2007 @12:04AM (#18570415)

    If it will help you do your job better, your boss should be insisting that you have Unix on your desk. Demanding, even.

    Will it? Define "better". Make the case. Steal one, if you have to.

    I have Solaris and Linux in my cubicle for my real work. I read my email on the "company standard" Windows 2000 box, and run a few brain-damaged legacy apps on an XP box in the lab.

    I had the first Linux box in the company. We were a Solaris shop until the PHBs decided they preferred Windows. We have legacy products that are Solaris based, and still use Solaris for our new servers. I told my boss there was this whole new world out there, and if we didn't get with it, others would and we would lose. I was right, and our current flagship product is a direct result of that discussion.

    ...laura

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