Best Linux Tools for Enterprise Developers and Systems Administrators


It’s a testament to Linux’s ubiquity and versatility today that so many “best of” lists are published focusing on the free and open source operating system.

Just in the past few months here on, for example, we’ve looked at the “best servers for Linux in 2013” and the “2013 top 7 best Linux distributions for you.”

It should come as no great surprise, then, that enterprise IT folk should have their turn in the spotlight. Specifically, it’s time to zero in on the best Linux applications and tools for enterprise sysadmins and developers.

Three Logical Areas

Google+ survey

We began by posting a short, informal poll on Google+: What are the best Linux apps and tools in this class? We were greeted with a multitude of nominations. Among those named by commentators were the following:

  • Qt Creator
  • KVM
  • Puppet
  • Red Hat Satellite
  • Nagios
  • Archipel
  • Terminator
  • Samba
  • Cobbler
  • Git/Subversion
  • Perl
  • mrepo
  • Python
  • SaltStack
  • Wireshark
  • Clonezilla

“The items on there make sense,” Stephen O’Grady, co-founder and principal analyst at RedMonk, told “The logical areas are continuous build (Hudson/Jenkins), configuration management/provisioning (Chef/Puppet) and version control (Git, primarily).”

‘Always Growing and Changing’

Indeed, “the primary software technologies and communities I think of when it comes to tools for Linux sysadmins and developers, which are DevOps tools, are: Chef, Puppet, CFEngine, Juju and Salt, all backed commercially by Opscode, Puppet Labs, CFEngine and SaltStack, respectively,” agreed Jay Lyman, senior analyst for enterprise software at 451 Research.

“There are also some other tools and frameworks, such as Apache Web and application servers, Git, Jenkins, node.js, PHP, Python, RabbitMQ, Ruby and others that we see used frequently with Linux in the enterprise,” Lyman told “Additionally, there are a host of data and ‘big data’ tools that are commonly used with Linux, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, NoSQL databases such as MongoDB and Riak, and data management technologies such as Cassandra and Hadoop.”

Of course, “as part of the polyglot programming trend, the list of popular and useful tools is always growing and changing, so this list is by no means exhaustive,” he added.

It does, however, highlight how today’s enterprise developers and systems administrators “tend to leverage a variety of resources and are more adept and empowered to use the best tools for the appropriate jobs, which is a main driver of polyglot programming,” Lyman concluded.