Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Linux Setup - Saleem Khan, Physician

Saleem’s interview is great because he’s a medical doctor, so he provides a slightly different perspective than we usually see here. I’m constantly shocked by how many doctors’ offices use Windows. I’ve even seen some running XP virtually. That always makes me feel very confident in the privacy of my medical records. Saleem is a KDE fan, but he’s also a fan of inexpensive hardware, and the combination of the two seems to work for him.

You can find more of The Linux Setup here.

You can follow My Linux Rig on Google+ here and follow me on Twitter here.

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

    I am a medical doctor, trained in adult psychiatry and currently working at Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad, Pakistan. I have previously worked as a sitting supervisor at the computer lab and e-library at Ayub Medical College.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    That’s a bit of a complicated question. I started using Linux back in 2003 as a hobby and as an escape. I was looking for something different from Windows. The hobby turned into a habit and the habit later turned into a necessity. Now I use Linux on every computer I can get my hands on for all kinds of computing, both at home and work. I still use Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1, as mutiboot options, but mainly I use Linux.

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

    I was, and still am, an obsessional distro-hopper (that’s why I always keep one “test” partition handy for satisfying my distro-hopping), but since 2009 I have used Arch Linux as my main OS, both on my laptops and desktops, for all of my work . For my test drives, I only install and check distros that attract me for a while. Along with Arch Linux, I am multibooting PCLinuxOS (I am a faithful user of it since version 92; I like it because it can be remastered, which I like to do for my friends and for installations on different computers). I am also a big fan of Debian stable (I also remaster it). I can’t forget to mention Kubuntu LTS (also remastered). But basically I am an Archian ever since I installed it for the first time. Pacman and AUR are my best best friends after Google.

  4. What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?

    I am a KDE fan and use KDE as my main desktop. I was, and am, a big fan of GNOME 2, and now MATE. I also like Openbox and Fluxbox because I like to manually tweak my working environment.

  5. What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?

    Not one but three. Firefox and LibreOffice, because all my work is either through the Internet or using office software. The third one is Terminal, which I need since I am always doing something with pacman. So I can’t live without a terminal.

  6. What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?

    Frankly, I am not a hardware fan. I don’t think software should run at the cost of hardware. My computers are mostly old and are the type most people would have discarded. They range from Intel Centrino Duo to Core2 DUO to Dual core. My desktop PC is an AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5000+. I am using a maximum of 4GB RAM on all my computers. If I had any extra money, I would buy a new AMD computer, but that looks impossible at the present. It is worth mentioning my smart phone and tablet, which are from MTK processors. I manage to install all kinds of custom ROMs which do things like get me extra virtual memory. This is better than spending money on new a smart phone with so-called “extra smart” hardware or new features.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    I will but it won’t be of much interest since I am not an eye-candy lover. It’s yet another plain KDE desktop.

Saleem Khan's desktop

Interview conducted July 29, 2014


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.

You can follow My Linux Rig on Google+ here, follow me on Twitter here, and subscribe to the feed here.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Linux Setup - Eric Mesa, Programmer/Blogger

Eric’s a KDE user who makes use of Activities to create virtual desktops for different kinds of work. Like a lot of KDE users, Eric likes that desktop environment because of the granular control it gives him over his system. KDE isn’t for everyone, but people who know how to use it seem to really stick with it. I’ve never been able to really solve KDE for myself, but I remain ever hopeful that one day I might figure it out.

You can find more of The Linux Setup here.

You can follow My Linux Rig on Google+ here and follow me on Twitter here.

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

    My name is Eric Mesa. My day job is to program and manage programmers, but I’m also a blogger and I cover the comics industry. I’ll be attending Baltimore Comic-Con as press again this year.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I first came to Linux in 2003 when I was trying to figure out how to run my own server. I did some research and saw that you could do that with Linux. So I went to the local bookstore (I think it was a Borders) and found a book on Fedora Core 1 (as it was known back then). I installed it on an old computer I bought for like $25 and was off.

    Nowadays I use Linux because I believe in the principles of free software. To me, Linux is the DRM-free OS. I don’t buy DRM-encumbered movies, music, or books. Why should I buy DRM-encumbered operating systems? I want to make my computer do whatever I want it to do, not what some corporation wants it to do. Also, I love that a Linux desktop is fully functional without spending money. I have spent or donated money for software, but I’m glad you don’t have to. As the world becomes more dependent upon computing, I think it’s important for those with less access to money to still have access to up-to-date and world-class operating systems.

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

    I use Fedora—been there since the beginning—on my desktop and laptop. My wife’s computer and laptop run Kubuntu because Ubuntu’s traditionally been a lot easier for in-place upgrades.

  4. What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?

    I use KDE 4.x on all the computers in my house (Fedora or Kubuntu). I use it because it is infinitely configurable. GNOME 3 is when I stopped using GNOME and went back to KDE. I also make HUGE use of the Activities to have sets of virtual desktops. I just love how KDE respects the user’s vision—it is the most Linux of desktop environments.

  5. What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?

    A while ago I would have said Blender, when I was really active in 3D animation. Now it’s Amarok. I LOVE the Amarok music player. I’ve written over and over about everything I love about the way it allows me to create dynamic playlists and the way it presents the music.

  6. What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?

    My desktop is a 6 Core AMD computer with 8GB RAM and an nVidia graphics card.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Because I use so many Activities, I’m not sure how many screenshots you’d like. You can start at https://www.flickr.com/photos/ericsbinaryworld/13961741879/in/photostream/ and then go (left arrow) until the desktop screenshots end.

Eric Mesa's desktop

Interview conducted July 28, 2014


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.

You can follow My Linux Rig on Google+ here, follow me on Twitter here, and subscribe to the feed here.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014 Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Linux Setup - Liam Dawe, GamingOnLinux.com

Another interview, another person from Linux Voice. Liam is their gaming columnist and also runs his own Linux gaming site. One of the more common reasons people have given for not using Linux full-time is gaming, so it’s always nice to see projects that help people see how that’s changing. I’m also curious to check out SimpleScreenRecorder, since I know screencasting on Linux isn’t always straight-forward.

You can find more of The Linux Setup here.

You can follow My Linux Rig on Google+ here and follow me on Twitter here.

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

    My name is Liam Dawe and I own and run GamingOnLinux.com. I have run it for a few years now and it’s getting quite big. I also write the gaming section for Linux Voice magazine.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I use Linux because it’s free and I never have to worry about paying for the next version. I also love the customization; the fact that I can switch to a completely different user interface when one annoys me is fantastic.

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

    Currently I use Manjaro Linux 64-bit. I switched from Ubuntu as I can’t stand the direction they are going with it. They seem to have lost the plot a bit. Sure they are popular, but I don’t think it will last forever.

  4. What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?

    I currently use KDE, as it offers the best feature set while also being a more traditional type of desktop.

  5. What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?

    Well there is no one program I depend on. SimpleScreenRecorder is probably one of the most important, though. It is the only program I have found that manages to actually keep the audio in sync with the video when recording videos of games. No other application has done that for me.

  6. What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?

    I currently have a [home-built machine with] AMD A10 5800K APU, 8GB DDR3 RAM, Nvidia 560ti graphics.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Attached is my rather nice and plain dual screen desktop!

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This screenshot is Linux Mint Cinnamon. I had some photo/email drama and had to ask Liam to re-send while he was using a new distro. I’m the worst. My apologizes to everyone.

Liam Dawe's desktop

Interview conducted February 23, 2014


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.

You can follow My Linux Rig on Google+ here, follow me on Twitter here, and subscribe to the feed here.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Linux Setup - Graham Morrison, Linux Voice

It’s no secret I’ve been pretty excited about Linux Voice, a brand new Linux magazine. Issue 1 came out last week and as expected, it’s great, exhaustively (and humorously) covering desktop Linux like no other publication. This week, I got to interview Graham, the magazine’s editor. He’s a KDE guy with some interesting ideas about how to make that desktop less intimidating to new users. He’s also a big fan of Arch, which when factored in with the KDE usage, pretty much says everything about his Linux chops.

You can find more of The Linux Setup here.

You can follow My Linux Rig on Google+ here and follow me on Twitter here.

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

    Hello! My name is Graham Morrison and I’m the editor of Linux Voice, the new crowdfunded Linux magazine and podcast. In truth, the magazine is an equal partnership between the four of us, so it’s more of an honorary title. I get the unenviable task of trying to coerce everyone into some sort of schedule, as well as sneaking in as many Blade Runner references as I can. But I get to spend every day playing with Linux, which is awesome.

    Outside of putting the magazine together, I’ve recently got into homebrewing beer, thanks to the BrewPi, and I spend far too much time playing Galaga on an old arcade machine. I bought it for £200 and replaced the PCB with an ancient PC running Manjaro Linux connected via J-PAC and JAMMA interfaces to the original controls. If I ever have the time, I also tinker with my own multi-layered, polyphonic, polyrhythmic MIDI step sequencer called ‘meeq.’

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I used to love an Amiga music sequencer called ‘Bars & Pipes’ (this is about 1991). It was unique because it allowed you to pipe music data through various modules that manipulated the sound in some way. You could send every third note through an octave transposition, for example, or send minor chords into a random arpeggiator. It was the MIDI equivalent of Bash. But Bars & Pipes was bought by Microsoft who subsequently ceased development and rolled the technology into Direct Music. To Microsoft’s credit, it eventually released the source code. But it was many years too late and it wasn’t open source.

    Later, around 1998, I was trying to learn C++ and using Visual Studio on Windows. I was shocked to discover I couldn’t freely share my code or build on what other people had done. It just seemed counterintuitive. I’m a pragmatist. I don’t want to invest my time and effort into technology that can be held ransom. All of which led to what I consider simply the best option: Linux and Free Software.

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

    I’ve run Arch for a couple of years. I like its minimalism and the way you end up knowing every installed component. I’m not massively keen on having to check the Arch website before upgrades (because things break), or the way you have to start from scratch with every fresh install. Getting hold of the latest releases is one of the most important parts of my job, and the Arch User Repository is the best way I’ve found of getting hold of software that more often than not installs. I love the way it bundles the source code, and the way you can rollback packages. It’s also relatively straightforward to modify packages yourself, which I’ve occasionally found useful. At the moment, I’ve also got Mageia 4, Fedora 20 and Mint 16 installed on the same machine.

  4. What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?

    To continue my C++ programming adventures, I switched to Linux. My only real options for development were Qt and KDE, and that resulted in a photo management app called ‘Kalbum’, which I released in 2003, along with a lifelong love of KDE. KDE can be made to look awesome, and I like having all that configurability. Dolphin is a great file manager (although I still prefer Konqueror), and I don’t think any other desktop is so well integrated with a core suite of applications: Digikam, Konsole, Kate, K3b, Kopete, Amarok, KMail, Calligra and Gwenview all combine to create a great user experience. But that’s only after you’ve spent time making the desktop how you like it. I do think KDE’s default configuration puts off a lot of new users. The blue glow around windows, for example, should be replaced by a default drop-shadow and the whole locking/unlocking widgets idea seems convoluted.

  5. What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?

    Is pacman a fair response? It’s a great package manager. Other than that, there’s the humble text editor: Kate is very useful, and its JavaScript snippets are very powerful for text processing, although a little bug-ridden. Also, there’s no on-screen word count. My favorite text editor, however, is FocusWriter. It’s a distraction free environment that’s brilliant for writing words. If I could only turn the Internet off, I’d be 1000% more productive.

  6. What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?

    My desktop PC is a 3.3Ghz Core i5 with 16GB RAM, five hard drives of varying capacity, and an Nvidia Geforce GTX570 GPU w/1280MB of DDR5 RAM. It’s connected to a 27” 2560x1440 IPS LCD screen I bought directly from South Korea on eBay (it needs an injected EDID file though xorg.conf to work, which is a pain). My keyboard is a backlit Logitech K800, which is awesome, along with a Logitech MX Lazer mouse.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

Graham Morrison's desktop

Interview conducted February 8, 2014


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.

You can follow My Linux Rig on Google+ here, follow me on Twitter here, and subscribe to the feed here.


Thursday, February 13, 2014 Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Linux Setup - Niki Kovacs, Microlinux

I found Niki through Steven Rosenberg. Niki is a dedicated Slackware user, who makes a compelling case for using it here. As you might expect from a Slackware user, Niki’s setup is hardcore, including a hand-built KDE implementation. But what’s great is that despite his considerable skills, Niki says he uses Linux because it’s fun. When people ask me about Linux, my knee-jerk reaction is to go into the technology and the politics, but the real reason I spend so much time with Linux is that it’s just a lot of fun to work with. So I’m grateful to Niki for the reminder about the joy of Linux.

You can find more of The Linux Setup here.

You can follow My Linux Rig on Google+ here and follow me on Twitter here.

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

    My name is Niki Kovacs. I’m the manager of Microlinux, a small IT company in South France focusing 100% on GNU/Linux. I’m providing Linux-based solutions for professional clients like small town halls, public libraries, schools and local radio stations.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I discovered Linux in 2001, when I was doing some PHP development for a small book editor. The EasyPHP setup on my Windows box wasn’t working very well, and someone in a PHP developer forum suggested I “just install Linux.” I went to the local bookstore in Montpellier and bought a Slackware Linux 7.1 CD. I had a hard time installing it and figuring it out, so I joined the now-defunct basiclinux.net mailing list with a strong determination to get a serious grasp on all of this. In retrospect, this now seems like wanting to work out a bit and joining the Foreign Legion paratroopers. I’ve been 100% GNU/Linux since that time. And I’m still using Linux for a host of reasons. Because of the freedom. The transparency. The flexibility. The community. The robustness of the system. And last but not least, because it’s fun.

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

    I’m running Slackware Linux on all of my desktops, servers and laptops. I’ve used all kinds of distributions over the years, from Mandrake to Debian to CentOS and RHEL. For the last couple of years, I’ve simply stopped looking at other distributions. I know Slackware quite well and the distribution feels like “Linux done right” to me.

  4. What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?

    I’m using my personal blend of KDE 4.10.5, built from scratch. I’m running a heavily-modded Xfce 4.10 on my old Panasonic Toughbook.

  5. What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?

    I don’t use anything distro-specific. In my day-to-day work, I have a few Konsole terminals open with SSH sessions on remote servers. I’m using Vim for pretty much everything, from writing shell scripts to editing configuration files to web development with PHP, XHTML and CSS. I’ve been managing office documents with OpenOffice since version 0.99 (which had that horrible “East German” look), and now I’m still with Apache OpenOffice, version 4.0.1. On servers I rely upon Apache, PHP, MySQL, Postfix, Dovecot, Postgrey, Icecast, MPD — the list can get quite long.

  6. What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?

    I have half a dozen boxes quietly humming in my office. My main workhorse PC is a battered workstation with an AMD Phenom Quad-Core processor, 4GB RAM, 2 x 750GB hard disks configured in a RAID 1 array and a dual monitor. All of my data resides on an HP Proliant Microserver with 4 x 250GB disks in a RAID 5 array. I’m typing these lines on my latest acquisition, a Logitech Illuminated Keyboard.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

Niki Kovacs' desktop

Interview conducted November 29, 2013


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.

You can follow My Linux Rig on Google+ here, follow me on Twitter here, and subscribe to the feed here.


Thursday, January 9, 2014