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Should a programmer know Linux?

I've been wondering for a while now, since Linux is open sourced, and I can tinker with everything, will using Linux and tinkering with it make me a better programmer?

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marked as duplicate by Anna Lear Aug 5 '11 at 0:58

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4 Answers 4

Programming ability is pretty much orthogonal to the operating system you use.

However, learning to program under more than one OS will give you a broader perspective, which will certainly contribute to your growth as a programmer.

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No. Though it might make you better at understanding Linux-style operating system-level code. Whether or not that makes you "a better programmer" in general depends on a whole lot of other factors.

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It's been a while since I've used Linux, so I don't know how user friendly the most recent distros are. At any rate, it won't make you a better programmer. But in the past at least, the case could be made that it makes you a better systems administrator and generally more computer literate. Configuration had to be done at a very low level back in the days when I used Linux (like 10+ years ago now). For even fairly basic use you sometimes had to write scripts, for example. And you definitely had to be aware of what it means to be root (Administrator) as opposed to a normal user, etc etc.

Anyway, my point is, if Linux is anything like it used to be - it certainly stretches system admin and general computer literacy skills far more than Windows. But not specifically programming skills. So the benefit basically stops at a fairly low level in the scheme of things, and isn't applicable to programming almost at all.

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With your "Configuration had to be done at a very low level back in the day" comment, I just have to say that some people still think that low-level is the only way. I cringe every time I hear someone offer editing Xorg.conf as a solution to monitor troubles. –  TheLQ Aug 5 '11 at 1:27

Well... I have a friend and he acts like he's "Microsoft's spokesman". We have already majored. But, since we started studying you could have seen him walking around with a Windows OS book... He's only used linux in our classes. And you know what? He is the best programmer I've ever met. So, no, it will not make you a better programmer. But, maybe, it will make you a more patient person. If you know what I mean.

However, if you are a web developer, you may find this link interesting.

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