The Best Linux Applications: Sys Admin & Development


This is the penultimate entry in our week long series of posts asking you to nominate your favourite Linux applications.

Today, we want to know what tools you use to create new software and ease the management of your systems. Puppet or Eucalyptus; Tripwire, Nessus or SELinux; Eclipse, Emacs or Vi? You tell us... so go ahead and get commenting.

You should follow us on or Twitter

Your comments

It has to be Vim.

It has to be Vim.

Boring, but obvious ...

It is boring, but obvious, that all the most stable, most versatile and most durable software was written with a text editor - probably Vim, although I prefer Gedit.

There is no harm in playing sandcastles with fancy gui-builders, but sandcastles are not durable or stable. Almost all the eye-candy on current desktops will be long gone next year, or next decade, while software built with solid design principles outlasts many developers. (There are copyright notices in FOSS source code that are older than most developers).

And there are some great plugins for Gedit and the like to simplify the make / debug / deliver cycle.


I have never liked vi/vim. I am a fan of the pico/nano persuasion ;)

Don't like vi(m) me

However I love nano.

And I think we might be overlooking ssh! (or does that not count as an application?)

Then there is also Eclipse for development

I also like nagios and I have just discovered nagvis which is also great!

SSH definitely counts!

SSH definitely counts - what an excellent, indispensable little tool!


I've been writing python code in gedit and using git to track revisions. I find git easier to use than subversion.

A git tutorial would go down well in the future...

vim and ssh

without vim life would be grey


i know its more of a tool than an app but my vote is for grep/egrep. if it doesn't count then Vim.

KDevelop, mercurial, gcc,

KDevelop, mercurial, gcc, possibly emacs.

Pacman and yaourt with the AUR

ARCH love K.I.S.S. at its best
the simmple but powerful package management in ARCH is my favorite, APT, and YUM ar the next in line.

ssh is my die withoout tool as far as dev work nano for simple hacks and then nedit/gedit/kedit and eric IDE for python

Not a developer so...

Admin tools? I'll use whatever package manager the distro provides, without too many problems. I often find the CLI version gives quicker results for some purposes.
Is Midnight Commander an admin tool? It's certainly good for remote machines and having a text editor built in allows for editing config files, when necessary.

I've used checkinstall a fair bit in the past, but haven't needed it much lately. Also, it doesn't work for all package builds, I certainly couldn't see how to get it work with building Unison when I updated all my machines to the same version.

Oh there you go, Unison for backing up and synch-ing.

I use BleachBit on my NetBook (the one with the SSD HD) to keep the filesystem as uncluttered as possible. I'm also rather fond of the Gnome Disk Utilty, good for checking up on a drive's features and performance, plus the odd bit of formatting and partitioning.

lovely cuppa

ssh and GNU screen
htop/iotop and various other *top
and of course su

Eclipse + vrapper

-Eclipse is one of the best IDEs.
-Vrapper is a plug-in for Eclipse that supports most vi/vim commands and at the same time doesn't interfere with the Eclipse editor. So you can use vi's visual mode to select text and then press Ctrl+1 for Eclipse's suggested operations, or Ctrl+l to extract a variable etc. etc. This allows for really fast programming :)

I don't use many "admin" tools. Mostly I use:
-grep (is probably the command-line tool I use the most)

Almost missed it

Chromium Developer Tools

mcollective and puppet

Great tools that make my job easier.

Does remastersys count?

Remastersys..dead easy to use great for making an up and running installation image, especially for those new to Linux (Shakira for example).

Whatever blocks users from using sudo.

Whatever blocks users from using sudo and that wonderful text editor they call geany.

Server admin

My favourites: ssh (and pac to administer all the various logins), lazy backup and for CL copying of files between servers, scp.

My bag

vi (all round editing/development)
nmon (performance monitoring)
openvpn (virtual networking)
deadbeef (music player)
etherape (network monitoring)
mercurial (source control)
komodo edit (lazy python development)
google desktop (finding my docs fast)
rsync/rsnapshot (file syncs)

I use the following fairly

I use the following fairly regularly:



'screen' is one of the most useful applications. Gotta love having a "window manager" on a remote ssh session.

Yes, my VIM-iean brothers!

The fundamental tools I would have mentioned first have already been well recognized- vi/vim, ssh, git, dpkg, wget, ... absolutely!

Then I would like to mentioned "readline". This is not an application that we obviously interface with, but all you vi/vim fans should know (if you don't already) that you can get your vi/vim key-bindings throughout almost all of your terminal application interfaces. The quick way to try this out is to use "> set -o vi", but the better way is to configure your .inputrc file.

If there weren't already enough reasons to abhor the sessions we must occasionally spend in Windows (helping friends or maybe certain scenarios at work)... not having my vi/vim key-bindings seamlessly integrated into my application interfaces... once you are used to it, then it is maddening when it is missing. (BTW: there are ways to get close, almost reasonable readline-like functionality, on Windows; alas, it is not as simple to set up nor as robust as it should be. It just makes me curse Bill's name.

Is "ssh-agent" included in the votes for "ssh"? If not, it deserves a mention.

How about "puppet", "nagios", "ethereal/wireshark", or "openvpn" for some admin applications.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Username:   Password: