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A few weeks ago I came up with an idea to develop a mobile app which will direct students in my university to the nearest printer availiable. The whole thing is part of my final project.
The Android based app will need to perform the following tasks:

  1. The user's location in the campus is sent to the server. Assume this part works just fine.
  2. The server sends an SNMP request to the printers in the user's vicinity. I'll probably use PHP or Python for that part.
  3. The data requested by SNMP is processed and sent back to the client

My question concerns the server. The university's IT manager offered me a designated server for development, which sounds great. Now I need to choose which OS I want installed on the server - Windows server or Linux (don't know which versions). I don't have any server programming/operating experince, but generally speaking I feel more comfortable in Windows enviroment (just because that has always been my OS).

I don't have much time for learning a new OS, but when does it make sense generally to host or develop server side applications on a Windows environment versus a Linux environment?

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closed as too localized by GlenH7, Walter, Dynamic, Robert Harvey, Glenn Nelson Dec 12 '12 at 0:34

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Why don't you just keep track of every printer that can be used, there is what, 2-3 dozen printers? These avoids sending a SNMP request since you can do everything else on the client side through python. The only thing you have to figure out is where the client is and determine which stored location is closest. –  Ramhound Dec 12 '12 at 17:07
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

In this case it probably doesn't matter so go with Windows.

But as soon as you have time, learn Linux or a Unix for your own sake.

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1  
I would echo that since you are familiar w/ Windows, just use that. This will give you more time to focus on the actual project instead of getting absorbed in the details of learning linux. When you can, learn linux - but this will likely become a distraction from your goal of completing the project with as many features as possible. Also, cool idea! –  bunglestink Dec 11 '12 at 21:52
    
Thank you, I guess I'll stick with windows for this project. –  user1433490 Dec 11 '12 at 22:05
    
Learning Linux or Unix for no reason is not helpful. If you never use it, then learning it, doesn't serve a purpose. –  Ramhound Dec 12 '12 at 17:07
    
@Ramhound It gives you the perspective you need to make an informed decision about whether to use it or not. It gives you more options and more confidence. And honestly - who in their right mind wouldn't use it after learning it? –  Minthos Dec 12 '12 at 18:09
    
@Minthos - I didn't use my Unix knowledge for 5 years after college. The only reason I even use it is because of who my employer is. Unless you are placed into a job which uses it, most people won't use Linux or Unix, so learning it just to experience it isn't always helpful. Besides if you do use it unless you are brain dead you will pick it up everything you need over time. –  Ramhound Dec 12 '12 at 23:52
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It doesn't really matter, neither stack is really better than the other especially at this level. Your best bet is to install whatever is most used in your university's server infrastructure, especially if this is something that is intended to be available and offered to students after you complete your class.

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+1 for this; interoperability between different OSs is likely to be the biggest headache otherwise. –  Jimmy Shelter Dec 12 '12 at 0:56
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In general, for better job opportunities I believe that you should use unix. For implementation details for getting the project done, they are both decent environments.

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University class project details should not be decided based upon "job opportunities." Also, which OS will have better job prospects really isn't an answerable question, as there are far too many other variables to consider; many companies use a mix of Windows & UNIX, and there are plenty of opportunities in both realms. A good curriculum in CS or software engineering should be OS-agnostic. –  alroc Dec 11 '12 at 21:30
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Please cite a source showing backing up your assumption that unix provides "better job opportunities". –  Walter Dec 11 '12 at 22:27
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