joviyach wrote:
> Developing using things like MySQL, PHP, and Ruby has been an absolute
> nightmare on my Windows XP environment. I was wondering if Ubuntu, or
> some other flavour of Linux would be much better? I like what I have
> seen from Ubuntu, so far, but wonder how "RoR friendly" it is?
> 
> <RANT>With Windows, I seem to spend more time trying to make the
> development environment actually work, than doing any development.
> It's really quite aggravating.</RANT>
> 
> Any advice appreciated.
> 
> Thanks,
> 
> Jim

Some *general* advice:

1. Develop with portability in mind. That is, if you are building
something that must be cross-platform, make sure your actually *have*
the platforms and you test religiously on them.

2. Conversely, if you are *never* going to go to another platform, make
sure your marketing folks understand that. Yes, even open-source
projects have marketing folks. :)

Now a couple of specifics:

1. It isn't clear at all what your user base is from what you've said.
If your user base is Windows users (or even potentially includes them)
then you must not only be comfortable developing and testing on a
Windows platform, but *fluent* in it. In short, get over it -- learn how
to do it and quit bitching about what a pain in the ass it is!

2. Linux users tend to have their favorite distros and think nearly all
others (and Windows) are demon spawn. Linux *customers*, on the other
hand, tend to prefer stability, security and ease of use, and thus
gravitate to Red Hat and the commercially-supported version of SuSE from
Novell. Ubuntu is clearly making inroads into this market, as evidenced
by the deal with Dell. Money talks, you know. :)

My own *personal* preference in distros for working with Ruby in
general, as it is for other open source applications, is Gentoo. Because
it's compiled from source, you get more recent versions of the major
packages in the *stable* distribution than you would in most other
stable distributions, and you get the most recent versions for testing
within a few days of their release for the small popular ones, and as
soon as the more adventurous are willing to test them for the large
popular ones.

In addition, they have nearly all the major Ruby packages and gems in
the Portage repository already, including, of course, Rails, rake, and
rubygems itself, but *also* including RSpec, ZenTest and all of the
other goodies out of the Seattle genius pool, Nitro, Camping, etc.
(Which reminds me -- I need to file a bug to get them to package Ruport.)

But if your target user base is running Red Hat or Ubuntu or Etch RoR
servers, *that's* what you need to be developing on, not Gentoo. Sorry
about that. :)