So I updated one of my laptops to Ubuntu 8.04 pretty much as soon as it was available. I’ve been using my MacBook Pro laptop for everything for probably over a year now, because I grew tired of the hobby that *is* running Linux on a laptop and getting everything to work. I’ll note that I *do* run Linux on every server I maintain that I can think of 🙂
The first test for this laptop was wireless. I bought this laptop (Lenovo T61) specifically because it got rave reviews for its Linux compatibility. I was careful to order the laptop with the proper video and wireless chipsets that had the best support. However, 2 things annoyed me so much that I went back to the MacBook for everything:
- Wireless hung, and hung often, and in a way that it was unrecoverable.
- Lenovo put the Escape key in the worst place they could possibly put it, especially for a Vim user. Changing the key mapping caused issues with other apps, and configuring the key mapping inside .vimrc doesn’t help on the 30 other servers I use it on (ssh’d in from this laptop) :-/
Really, it was the wireless that did it. I work 100% remotely on everything I do. So, 8.04 seems to have fixed the wireless issues. The next thing I wanted to do was check out all of the Python IDE/editors I couldn’t use on the Mac (or, not easily). So I used Synaptic Package Manager to install all of the ones I could find. I’m sorry to say that I personally had Problems with most of them:
- DrPython launched fine, but using the file browser to open a file resulted in…. a no-op. I’m sorry, but an editor needs to be able to open a file.
- PyPE failed to launch altogether! It looks like it’s going to open, it spins for 5-10 seconds, and then just disappears. No window is ever shown, but a tab does appear in the bar on the bottom of the screen.
- Pida allows you to choose an external editor, so I chose Vim, and that kinda worked, but I really just want the key bindings, not the whole editor, and there’s no option to use some default built-in editor that has code folding and autocompletion and stuff. It appeared to me to be so close to gvim that I decided to skip it. I tried to stick around and give it a chance by reading the docs, but alas, the only thing under “Help” is “About”. Seems there are still a number of open source developers more concerned with getting credit than getting users.
- Stani’s Python Editor looked pretty nice, but I couldn’t find any easy way to change the syntax coloring, and while there is a manual, you have to donate to get your hands on it. This is nonsense. If you want to sell some kind of advanced documentation, fine, but you can’t expect me to donate to a project that I don’t even know if I want to use yet! “Please pay me so that you can see if this product fits your needs”…. it just doesn’t work that way. What you’ve done is given me a product that is complex enough that you pretty much need a manual just to get started, and then deprived me of that. Why not just give me the manual and a 30 day trial, after which I have to donate? I’d have no problem doing that if I planned on keeping it around. In fact, that’s how plenty of Mac applications work. I’ll pay for software that does what I need, but this game that’s being played is just offensive.
- Eclipse with PyDev, I can use this, but I don’t like it a whole lot. The good news is that there’s an SVN plugin (subclipse), and a plugin for vi keybindings if I want to pay for it (it’s only $20 – not bad if you use it a lot). The interface is a little clunky to me, and there’s no easy “change your syntax color scheme to this” type functionality. If you want a dark background and light colored text, you actually have to go to one place to change the background color, the color of the line numbering area, etc., and then go to another place to change the colors associated with the different elements of your particular language. That’s annoying for two reasons: first, it’ll take forever to get things the way I want, and second, if I installed this on another machine, I couldn’t just move over some kind of theme file and have my settings ready to go (as far as I know).
In the end, it looks like my three favorite editors are still Komodo Editor, JEdit, and Vim. What’s your favorite Python editor for Linux?