It was a little while since I had the change to play woth Ubuntu. I’ve now found it acts as a perfect test environment for the applications I’d like to deploy to my hosting provider. In essence, I’ve replicated my hoster’s configuration on my local Linux, so I can run/test opensource packages before simply FTP’ing them over and changing a few SQL records to reflect the move.
The response time is much better this way, I can even work disconnected (oh, the horror) which is a big plus. The Synaptics Package Manager makes it very easy to add stuff, and the integrated search engine is a godsend. Also, the Application Installer is fantastic, and the fact that it adds menu items automatically is so much closer to the Windows experience, in terms of providing an easy way to access applications.
While my choice of technologies for server-side is definitely PHP and MySQL these days (hey, one can only learn so much and starting with the basics makes sense), on the client side, for development, I’ve settled on Eclipse 3.x for all things development/editing and Nvu for WYSIWIG (because it’s so much easier for table layouts).
I make sure that anything I choose can run on my three platforms: Windows, Linux and OS X.
This way, I can connect to my online assets and edit them, regardless of my location or system in use.