The Linux Setup - Chris, Open Source Developer
Chris’ interview is interesting in that he’s considering the move to Gentoo, which seems to be a natural progression for many users as they get more comfortable with Linux. The thing about Linux is that there’s really not much in the intermediate experience space. Most things are either easy or expert. This very old Ask MetaFilter thread explores that idea a bit. I hope Chris checks in after he moves to Gentoo.
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Chris, a six-year veteran user of the Linux desktop and developer of open source software. I’m a freelance software developer/problem solver with a very free schedule, unfortunately! I live in Sweden with my girlfriend. I enjoy playful cleverness, which is what drives me to hack on software and play intellectually stimulating games like chess. I think that should be enough background by now!
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
Ubuntu 11.10 with an Xfce4 desktop. I like Ubuntu, but I’m thinking of changing to Gentoo now that I’m experienced enough to handle it. I’ve tried it out in VirtualBox a few times and am fairly confident I could install it on real hardware now. Over the years I’ve tried out: Gentoo, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, Knoppix (my cherry-popper, if anyone’s interested), DSL, Puppy, Mandrake/Mandriva, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, Haiku (recently), OpenSUSE, Debian, all the Ubuntu variants (Edubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, and Ubuntu Studio Edition), Arch, Slackware, CentOS, and a few more that have passed out of memory. I’m quite the adventurer! My favourite was probably Gentoo, although I am also partial to Arch. Ubuntu has long been my favourite but has passed somewhat from favour since the launch of the Unity interface.
What software do you depend upon with this distribution?
Web browser: Chrome
Email: Chrome also (Gmail)
Terminal emulator: xfce4-terminal
Text Editor: Kate
Development tools: make 3.8.1, gcc 4.6.1, gdb 7.3-2011.08, valgrind 3.6.1
What kind of hardware do you run it on?
An eMachines laptop with 1.7GB of RAM, an AMD V160 which apparently clocks at 0.8GHz (according to /proc/cpuinfo) and a 250GB HDD. It’s a bit of a donkey but it gets the job done and I feel a bit mean when I criticize it because it was a gift from a very caring father to his beloved daughter (my better half).
What is your ideal Linux setup?
Money is no object? This is where I could go a bit crazy, so bear with me!
Home compilation/rendering server: nVidia Tesla-powered personal supercomputer running Gentoo (not listed as a supported OS but I’d want Gentoo for its speed and development tools).
Desktop/workstation: Custom built with Intel Xeon 3.0 Quad, 16GB RAM, twin 500GB hard drives (RAID 0) and a 128GB SSD for the OSs and applications, dual-booted with Gentoo and Windows 7, with an even split of the SSD, twin 21” 4:3 displays and a Dell silver-framed keyboard (I don’t know the model name, but they’re the standard issue keyboards with modern Dells and I just love them) and a generic 2-button scroll-wheel mouse, because mice aren’t all that important. Oh, and I’d put an nVidia GTX 520 in the desktop machine for 3D modeling (and gaming, naturally).
Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Interview conducted May 28, 2012