The Linux Setup - Clement Lefebvre, Linux Mint
Clement Lefebvre probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. As the founder of Linux Mint, he’s seeing more and more users flock to the various flavors of his distribution. Linux Mint began with a reputation for being a nicer, easier to use take on Ubuntu. Now, it often seems poised to replace Ubuntu as the go-to Linux distribution for new and experienced users.
It’s very interesting seeing the hardware and software that goes into maintaining a huge distro, like Linux Mint.
Who are you, and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Clement Lefebvre. I’m the leader/founder of the Linux Mint project.
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
Linux Mint, main edition.
What software do you depend upon with this distribution?
The software I absolutely need installed is mintMenu, Firefox, Thunderbird, bash, ssh, nano, apt, Geany, Dropbox, mintupload, GIMP, XChat, Pidgin, Transmission, LibreOffice, Glade, Python, VirtualBox. I also really enjoy Giver, Banshee and minitube, though I don’t need them as much.
What kind of hardware do you run it on?
I use two separate desktops, one for 32-bit and one for 64-bit so I can easily perform the same tasks at the same time across both architectures. There are two monitors, two mice and two keyboards on the desk for that specific reason. That’s key for me. The rest isn’t as important :)
My data is on external hard drives and I’ve got three laptops as well for testing purpose or when I travel away. All of the computers come with large hard drives and are all using multi-boot with a variety of systems installed.
My main 64-bit box is an assembled 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Quad-core Intel CPU computer. The 32-bit box is a Dell desktop with an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 500GB HDD and 2GB RAM. There’s also a 17” Dell laptop, a Sony W Series netbook and my personal favorite: a Sony Vaio T2XP with a 10” screen, 600MHz CPU and 512MB RAM. It was my main computer for quite a while, a machine I adored and on which Linux Mint was initially built. Quite a few releases came out of that little thing, and nowadays it’s getting a second life with LMDE :)
What is your ideal Linux setup?
Linux Mint with a few additional installs (Geany, Dropbox, VirtualBox, Glade, minitube). I rarely keep the same system installed for more than a few month. Soon or later I need to tinker with it, upgrade it to another base, replace it with something else or simply start using another partition. I usually play around with 10GB partitions, access my data externally and replicate my configuration. It’s quite easy to do nowadays. It takes more or less 20 minutes for a new system to feel like home so I’m constantly swapping between systems. In the end it doesn’t matter much whether I’m using Mint on /dev/sda6 or another Mint on /dev/sda9, missing apps can be quickly installed and the data is easily accessible. Still, now and then, I wouldn’t mind my music to sit neatly in ~/Music, or to have the whole 1TB for myself when editing videos… With 2 desktops and 3 laptops you’d think I’d be able to dedicate one of the computers to myself and give it the full hard drive and keep development and testing away from it? I guess I’m just not organized enough, but if there was an ideal setup, that would be it: one computer that has all my personal things, using all the space available and which wouldn’t be wiped every 2 months :)
I did buy one of the laptops for the specific purpose of using it as my own personal box, but it quickly became yet another testing ground. I guess I’ll never enjoy a “personal” computer, but I’m working fast and having fun with all these and that’s the main thing really isn’t it? :)
Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Sure. It’s typical… a brand new system and my external data drive (White Pass Ext3) plugged-in. This one is based on Mint 11 RC and sitting on a small partition, so it’s not going to last :)
Interview conducted May 22, 2011