When comparing GNU/Linux vs Plan 9, the Slant community recommends GNU/Linux for most people. In the question“What is the best operating system for a developer?” GNU/Linux is ranked 1st while Plan 9 is ranked 9th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Access to really powerful terminals
Pro Lots of development tools available
Pro Most likely also your deployment target
Makes testing while developing easier. According to a September 2014 study by W3 Techs, *nix based servers are used on over 2/3 of websites.
Pro Most software is open source
Pro Package managers
You can install any library or package that you need (gcc, php, node) with just a couple of commands in the terminal.
Pro Large percentage of Linux users are developers
Pro Most Linux distributions are free
Pro A wide variety of distributions available
With a lot of variety, one can use the distribution that fits the type of work best because of the many choices that are given, instead of just one.
Pro Follows the UNIX philosophy
The UNIX philosophy: 'Write programs that do one thing and do it well'. Since Linux itself follows this philosophy then it's very easy to start creating scripts and programs.
Pro Familiarity with Linux is often required from a developer
Many university computer science programs are based on Linux and in any case, you will inevitably be dealing with a Linux box of one flavor or another someday, be it a server (most likely) or a workstation. The languages and methods used in the Linux/Unix environment (e.g., bash, C, C++, Make, etc.) are very commonplace among developers and are to the computer side of the discipline what the English language is to the human side of it: the common language.
Nice, developer-friendly environment.
GNU/Linux handles desktop sessions differently than Windows. Users may customize their own sessions; in fact, a single user may use different desktop environments for different login sessions.
Pro Choose any type of desktop environment (or none)
Most Linux distributions support a range of desktop environments, be it plain old X, a tiling window manager or a fully fledged mammoth desktop like GNOME or KDE.
Pro Works great on older hardware
7-10-year-old Dell laptops can run Unix or Unix-like OSes very well, where Windows would grind/drag/vomit.
Pro No telemetry, unlike Windows
Pro Hardly ever crashes
And if it does you can often drop into console and fix the error before returning to desktop.
Pro Extremely fast
Can be made even faster by going GUI-free or using a lightweight window manager.
Pro Lower chance of data loss
Linux has very few viruses. So there's almost no chance of getting infected by a virus and thus losing your data including your important programming files.
Pro Sometimes it "just works"
Sometimes Linux tends to just work with little to no effort or troubleshooting required. Most of the times it doesn't, though.
Pro Designed to allow for multiple computers to work as if they were one
With Plan 9, computers are turned into terminals where you can access files and processing units which can be located elsewhere. Data storage is handled by another external server. This means that instead of each person having their own individual computer with all the required parts, all of the computing and storage is done in a central area and everything is networked in together.
Pro Well designed
Plan 9's design is very orthogonal and well done.
Con Issues with drivers if your hardware is not officially supported
Con Maintenance can be time-consuming
Con Steep learning curve
Con Too much customization
To get features on par with OS X, you need to research packages, install them and configure them. Even then, it may not be as good as OS X.
Con HiDPI support sucks
Many developers work on apps that should work on HiDPI monitors. In most distros, HiDPI simply suck on Linux, and making that work is a nightmare.
Con A wide variety of distributions available
With a lot of variety, one cannot deploy to a single system and has to prepare for a bundle of distributions, instead of just one.
Con Less and worse professional software is developed, due to the low user base
Depending on what type of work you are doing, you may find Linux software lacking compared to their Win/Mac counterparts.
For example in game development, tools, like Unreal Engine or Unity, usually lack in quality or novelty compared with Windows. Having crashes or bugs that aren't fixed for a while.
Con Low user base to develop to
Linux can develop to any system with the right tools. Mono allows development to Windows. Python and Ruby too. C and C++ can be developed to Windows.
Con Difficult to use software made for other systems
Plan 9 is very different from most other operating systems, and as such it's extremely difficult to bring in software designed for other operating systems ('porting').
Con Not supported by most tools
Not supported by most dev tools beyond text editors.
Con No fully featured web browser
As indicated on the official Bell Labs webpage, there is no full featured web browser currently working on Plan 9.