Best Computing Practices: Ecosystem

This is Part 3 of “Best Computing Practices for Ecologists.” If you’ve been following the other parts, I’m going to focus on an “Arctic ecosystem” here: your Linux install on your P.C. Let’s say you have that Linux dual boot (or full boot). What are/should be the features of your ecosystem?

  • bash: this is your default shell when you open the terminal, and you should really learn how to script in it.
  • R + RStudio: I’m willing to hear arguments for other editors, but this is such a nice IDE. I think the reason a lot of people like R is because there’s such a nice environment available to work in, and it makes it easy to learn/use. My favorite part of RStudio is that you can run scripts line-by-line (which would otherwise be known as debugging mode, and often isn’t as simple in other languages as RStudio makes it). If you like, you can even view the values of variables in panes, and painlessly access the help pages in the same pane where you generate plots. It’s a readable, high-level scripting language, which also makes it easy to learn.

I don’t have much else to say here, because there are so many nice built-ins that come with your Linux install that make life so much easier than in Windows (e.g. ssh, scp). There are also plenty of options specific to your needs. I might add to this list as I go, but I also might just address some ideas that come to mind in future posts.

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