[olug] development distro

Tony Gies tony.gies at gruppe86.net
Thu Dec 5 00:52:30 UTC 2013

(tl;dr: the "best" distribution for development is the one you intend
to run your code on and/or the one you are most comfortable using.)

In my experience, Debian sid is usually not too terribly buggy unless
you are using packages that are completely new or trying out
bleeding-edge graphics drivers and X stuff, and due to Debian's weird
release schedule, serious bugs in sid actually get fixed faster than
in the semi-stable testing release. You will, however, be developing
against system libraries etc. that are probably not widely deployed,
which is something to keep in mind if you want to distribute your

I doubt that any particular distribution is better than any other for
development; you are going to be working with the same tools and
roughly the same versions on any popular distro. You should choose the
distro that is most like the environment on which you'll run your
software; if you're just playing around/learning/writing software for
personal use, use your favorite distro and don't worry too much about
whether it is the "best" for development.

I'd suggest you consider carefully your reasoning for wanting the
latest GCC -- it's usually better to target the most widely deployed
GCC, which is typically going to be whatever's in the current Ubuntu
LTS/Debian stable release. In my personal experience, the cutting-edge
branch of GCC always has weird bugs going on and what compiled one
week might not compile the next, etc. You won't be missing anything by
not using the latest GCC unless you are deliberately experimenting
with new features.

In choosing which distro to develop on, if you're planning to
distribute your software, you should consider to whom you want to
distribute. I usually do my development on the latest Debian stable or
Ubuntu LTS, and target/test on/package for at least the following:

- current Debian stable
- current Ubuntu
- last Ubuntu LTS release (currently 12.04)

That's just me, though; I'm a Debian guy and I don't give too much
thought to any of the Red Hat-derived distros. Depending on your
experience, you might be more comfortable with something like Fedora.
I will say that most of the big projects that I am aware of that
distribute their own packages seem to do the same thing as me.

Tony Gies <tony.gies at gruppe86.net>
Technical Projects Director
gruppe86 | IT Consulting, Software Development, Systems Integration

On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 5:54 PM, Jay Bendon <jaybocc2 at gmail.com> wrote:
> if you want latest GCC ubuntu is probably the easiest and most stable way
> to stay up to date.
> you could always run debian sid but it would be buggy at best.
> --Jay
> On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 3:02 PM, Jay Hannah <jay at jays.net> wrote:
>> On Dec 4, 2013, at 4:47 PM, Kelly Williams <kellywilliams81 at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> > What is a good distro that is best for development in C++ and has to
>> have the latest gcc.
>> We default to Ubuntu for workstations, Debian for servers nowadays.
>> HTH,
>> j
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