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Linux for student and compilers

  1. May 11, 2010 #1
    Hi, I'm a undergrad Physics students (starting junior level mechanics and E&M next semester). I've just taken a course in basic computation, so I know more about using a linux terminal. Currently I use Mac OS X and I was wondering if it was advisable that I run and learn how to use Linux too (using parallels probably). If so, which version would be recommended? I was thinking about Ubuntu since it seems the most basic, but I don't know if its worth the time or if theres something else better suited for science students.

    On an unrelated note, does anyone know a good fortran or C++ compiler for a Mac? I don't have the latest one (snow leapord) and my computer doesn't seem to come with one. Are there any compilers anyone can recommend. Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2010 #2
    The OS X terminal uses mostly the same commands as a linux shell, so you may want to start there.
  4. May 16, 2010 #3
    Maybe this is a little late, but as story645 says, if you just want to use basic Linux terminal commands and command-line compilation of c++ and fortran code, there's really no need to install Linux. Most common Linux commands should already be there by default. I believe a c++ compiler (g++) is included with Mac OS X, although you may have to install XCode (or some thing similar--I forget the exact name of the developer tools). Google for "gfortran" if you want a fortran compiler. I got mine from Fink (basically an open source package manager), but you can probably find stand-alone binary if that's all you want. If you do go with Fink (or similarly you can choose Macports), you can also install most other software available for Linux, so there's little need to actually install Linux.

    If you do have a bit of extra time and hard drive space (as well as enough RAM) and want to play around with an actual Linux distribution, I would suggest installing it in a virtual machine using VirtualBox (like Parallels, but free, and works perfectly well. Parallels probably works well too, but it costs money and I've never tried it). Any mainstream distribution like Ubuntu or OpenSUSE should be very easy to use. In fact, it's possible you'll find this easier than using Fink or Macports to install open source software in Mac OS.
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