Windows or Linux for Web Design?

In a recent thread on SitePoint (external link), the question of whether Windows or Linux was a better platform for web design came up. I thought this question would be interesting to address here.

First, I do believe that Macs are better for web design, simply because the virtualisation technology (Parallels (external link)) available on OSX is much better than on Windows or on Linux. The ability to run Windows and Linux right within OSX makes it extremely easy to browser test in the browsers not available on OSX.

However, since the question did not include Macs, I do think that Windows overall is better for web design. While I personally prefer Linux over Windows, there are some points that make Linux bad for web design:

  • Virtualisation technology is not as good.
  • Photoshop is not available.
  • Everything is harder to set up.

Now, there are virtualisation programmes on Linux that would allow you to run Photoshop and Internet Explorer, but setting all of that up is not easy for most people. Plus setting up the needed drivers and dealing with other hardware compatibility issues proves to be difficult for anyone new to Linux; although distros are improving. It is just easier and more practical to use Windows where the setup of your computer is not a huge chore.

If you really like Linux, then it is possible to run Photoshop and Internet Explorer with some work. You will also have access to better development tools and much more control over your computer. If you want to try out Linux, then I do suggest Ubuntu (external link).