Wednesday, April 2, 2014 Monday, August 27, 2012

The Linux Setup - Jos Poortvliet, openSUSE

I targeted Jos Poortvliet for an interview because I’ve been hitting up a bunch of openSUSE people. The 12.1 release is so fantastic, I’ve become very curious about the people who work on openSUSE. Jos’ interview doesn’t disappoint, with tricked-out hardware and a KDE-centric workflow that includes vertical and horizontal monitors. People who love KDE really love it, but it seems like a tough desktop to learn. I’ve tried to work with it a few times, but the barrier to entry was too high for me. Jos explains it well, describing KDE as about workflow and GNOME Shell as about ease-of-use. It’s an interesting distinction.

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  1. Who are you, and what do you do?

    I’m Jos Poortvliet, openSUSE Community Manager for SUSE Linux. My job description boils down to “help openSUSE be successful.” As my skills are mostly in marketing and people stuff, I focus on those: helping the openSUSE developers get the word out on what they do and helping in social and organizational matters. I travel a fair bit — to conferences, talking about openSUSE. And I (help) organize events, get ‘cool stuff’ to openSUSE ambassadors who represent us at events and discuss such vague things as ‘strategy’ and ‘guiding principles’ within our community.

  2. What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?

    On my desktop I have, of course, openSUSE with KDE’s Plasma Desktop. My laptop also runs openSUSE with GNOME Shell. And my wife insists on running Arch Linux, also with KDE Plasma Desktop ;-) .

  3. What software do you depend upon with this distribution?

    With my work, which is mostly writing and talking, communication software is invaluable. I can work with only one mail client: Kontact. Despite its recent stability issues due to the re-architecture, it is still miles ahead of any competition in terms of workflow efficiency. That is also why I run KDE’s Plasma Desktop: I have a lot of work to do and want my desktop set up to be as efficient as possible, fitting my workflow. On my laptop, I often value ease-of-use more than efficiency or smooth workflow and thus I use GNOME Shell there.

    I also use Konversation for IRC, Kate for handling lots of documents I’m working on/with and Dropbox (soon to be replaced by ownCloud) to share these documents between my laptop and my desktop. Inkscape, Gwenview and GIMP for working with images, Dolphin for working with remote and local files as well as git and SVN repositories and I mix Chromium, Konqueror and Firefox for browsing. Chromium is the fastest and most convenient but very memory hungry; Firefox handles thus more ‘background’ tabs. And Konqi is the fastest for quickly viewing things and has some unique features you sometimes crave, like the powerful screen splitting.

  4. What kind of hardware do you run it on?

    My desktop has a decent Core i5 (quadcore) with 8GB RAM and a few drives totaling up 2TB including a 60GB SSD to boot up fast. My laptop is an old Sony Vaio TZ — ultraportable before the Ultrabook fad (also ultra-expensive back then). It has taken the IT world an annoying five years to almost catch up to that kind of portable power: only now can you buy Ultrabooks with a similar combination of portability, performance and battery life. Hence, I have ordered a Samsung Series 9 13” laptop (awesome stuff, really) to replace my Sony as it’s literally falling apart.

  5. What is your ideal Linux setup?

    The one on my desktop: two full-HD screens, one horizontal, the other vertical. The vertical for notes, mail & IRC (on all desktops in the same position) and the horizontal for ‘the work,’ which I almost always do full-screen. The flexibility of Plasma means that I can actually have this setup exactly how I want it — I wouldn’t take any desktop project seriously that can’t do something like that…

  6. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

Jos Poortvliet's desktop

Interview conducted July 30, 2012


The Linux Setup is a feature where I interview people about their Linux setups. The concept is borrowed, if not outright stolen, from this site. If you’d like to participate, drop me a line.

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