Wednesday, March 5, 2014 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Linux Setup - Scott Sealy, Pastor

Scott’s setup is great, not because it’s high-tech, but rather, because it’s high-concept. He knows he’s prone to distraction (like most of us), and use uses Linux to craft an experience that allows him to keep his focus. That’s the beauty of choice in software — it lets users create an experience that works for the individual, rather than something that’s supposed to work for everyone (and usually doesn’t…). Scott submitted his rig to me. I hope others will do the same.

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’m Scott Sealy, I’m pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Covington, TN.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I originally started using Linux because tinkering with getting wireless to work or deciding on the perfect GTK theme was a great way to procrastinate writing my thesis.

    I continue to use it because I like the control and choice I have. For example, it’s nice to install software without having browser toolbars or additional “features” added that I don’t want. Since I’ve had to be my own tech support I’ve found Linux to be transparent, so it’s easier to fix problems that arise. Also, as a leader of a non-profit, volunteer organization I feel an affinity for open-source projects and enjoy using software that feels like I’m more of a part of a community than a consumer. And it’s fun.

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

    My work laptop runs OpenSUSE. OpenSUSE strikes a good balance for me as far as being stable, yet providing up to date packages. My home desktop has FreeBSD and another drive I use to play with different distros.

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

    My work laptop has KDE. The defaults work the way I expect and I like the consistency between programs. I use different window managers or desktops for a change of scenery, but KDE is what I use most of the time for work.

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

    Vim, especially the vim outliner plugin. I use an outliner for several things: sermons, lessons, meeting agendas, and planning. And I do most of my writing in Vim before formatting it in LibreOffice. I’m a master at distracting myself with things like choosing the best font or what view of the document I should use. Plain text helps remove some of those distractions.

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

    A ThinkPad E530.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

Scott Sealy's desktop

Interview conducted September 10, 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.


Monday, August 19, 2013

The Linux Setup - Matt Hartley, Linux Action Show

A reader suggested Matt as an interview subject and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t reached out to him sooner. I’m most familiar with Matt’s work from Linux Action Show, but as you can see, he has his hands in a lot of projects. I’m most impressed by Matt’s ability to easily hop between both distributions and desktop environments. If I had Matt’s setups, I feel like I’d constantly be apt-getting in OpenSUSE and looking for pacman in Ubuntu. Also, Matt strongly recommends Synapse as an application launcher/file finder. It wasn’t on my radar but thanks to Matt, it now is (as is kupfer, another launcher that was recommended in the comments of this post).

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’m just a long-time Linux enthusiast, currently working a variety of gigs including Jupiter Broadcasting (Linux Action Show) and at Datamation.com.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    What started out as an adventure years ago became a matter of practicality today. It’s fast, stable and I control the environment I choose to run with.

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

    Currently Arch on my daily box, with OpenSUSE 12.3 on my portable. I have a newer workhorse running Ubuntu 13.04.

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

    Xfce on my daily box (due to resource usage), KDE on my portable (OpenSUSE does great things with KDE), and Unity on my Ubuntu box.

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

    The keyboard launcher known as Synapse. The collective hours it has saved me finding apps, docs and images is beyond measure. It’s the best application on Linux running under X, hands down.

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

    My main PC is an old Ratel Value (ATI graphics) from System76. The portable is the Eee 1005PEB (Intel graphics), and lastly, the Ubuntu rig is a System76 Wild Dog Performance (NVIDIA graphics). The first two rigs run with 2GB RAM, the latter with four. My main system runs with two monitors.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Dual-desktop (Samsung monitors),Linus to NVIDIA and Oscar the Grouch wallpapers.

Matt Hartley's desktop

Interview conducted June 17, 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.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Future of Fuduntu

I was pretty sad when I heard Fuduntu was going end-of-life. It seemed like a very promising distro was being mothballed just as it seemed to be gaining attention within the Linux community. I reached out to Lee Ward, who handles communication for Fuduntu, about the future of the distro, and he had some interesting details to reveal, including the idea that the future distro could be a rolling, curated version of OpenSUSE. It’ll be interesting to see what the new distro shapes up to be.

My Linux Rig: What are the plans for the post-Fuduntu distro? Any ideas what it’ll be based upon? Will it be rolling? What will the desktop environment (DE) be?

Lee Ward: Those of us moving on to the new distro have been discussing and evaluating our options. Right now, we are leaning heavily on going with an openSUSE base. Our devs have been working with openSUSE the last few days to see how viable it will be and things are going well. While a final decision has not been made, that is how we are all leaning at the moment. We do plan to continue with the rolling release in the same fashion we did with Fuduntu. That worked very well and we plan on continuing with that. As for the DE, no decision has been made. We’re looking at all the options to see what will fit best for our goal.

What we want to do is keep the same ideals that Fuduntu had alive. We want to be close to our community and be able to offer things that others have decided aren’t important. We want to help keep the low-end systems going and also to help with the gaming on Fuduntu. Many have said that bringing gaming to Linux would be huge. We were one of the first authorized by Valve to redistribute Steam and we think that was a huge step. We want to keep doing that. Keep bringing the community what it wants.

This Sunday (April 21), we will be having a public meeting on the future and the DE will be one of the things discussed. We are hoping to get participation and input from the community. The community was one of the things that made Fuduntu great and we want to include them as much as possible as we move forward. The meeting will be at 3 p.m., Eastern in #fuduntu on Freenode and we strongly encourage users to come in and help us in making this decision.

My Linux Rig: Did you look into keeping Fuduntu going using another DE, like Xfce?

LW: The real issue when it came to the DE was the underlying libraries. Several functions had been deprecated in glibc and glib2 without any consideration for backwards compatibility. In addition, Fedora decided to locate gtk2 headers in /usr/include/gtk-2.0 but left the sources default. This meant building GTK2 packages broke due to the header locations being different than they were installed.

Trying to fix these issues was too much for our small team. It just wasn’t sustainable. Our devs actually started working on it to see what all needed to be done and found that as they were fixing one thing, something else would break. The lack of backwards compatibility hurt us.

My Linux Rig: Do you regret sticking with GNOME 2 as long as you did?

LW: We do not. While, ultimately, we were not able to sustain it, we are glad that we were able to give something to the community that was wanted when everyone else had abandoned the wishes of a large part of the community. The popularity that Fuduntu began receiving and the rave reviews are, in part, because we were delivering what was requested. Unfortunately, upstream did not seem to care as much about that and, being a small distro, we were shut out and we had no chance to survive.

My Linux Rig: Fuduntu seemed to gaining popularity right as you announced it was going EOL — do you think it’ll be hard to regain that momentum with a new distro?

LW: This is a really hard one to answer since it all hinges on speculation. We’ve heard, in a few places, that people will be keeping an eye out for the new distro. We also have some time. We still have one more Fuduntu release and we still have five months before Fuduntu shuts down. We have an opportunity to say, “Fuduntu is closed, but we’ve got the first release of the new distro ready!” We’ll be able to work on trying to get the new system up as well as packages going and such to the point that we can try to smooth the process out as much as possible. Obviously, there may be some hiccups but we’re going to try to minimize that as much as possible.

One of the important things we want to remind people is we haven’t stopped supporting Fuduntu, yet. Our support team is still dedicated to working with people to get issues resolved and our developers and packagers are still dedicated to getting fixes out there as soon as possible. Asking people to reinstall will be rough, but many other distro users are used to reinstalling every time there’s a new release. We’ve been able to keep it as a rolling release for a long time and, even though this would be a new install, it’s the first time in a while where it’ll be required.

All this to say that I think we have the opportunity to get the momentum back. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but we’re dedicated. Andrew Wyatt brought the community a very stable distro that was what the people asked for. We want to keep that going and we think we can. While I do expect a small drop, I think we’ll be able to get it back and we’ll be able to show that the new distro is as dedicated to stability and the community as Fuduntu was.

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


Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Linux Setup - Brian Proffitt, Writer

I love Brian Proffitt’s setup for two reasons. First of all, it’s OpenSUSE, my current distro of choice, and I always love to see that represented here. But also, Brian’s setup is shockingly stock. And in more and more of these interviews, we’re seeing people who are able to get an impressive amount of work done without a lot of configuring or manipulating. It makes me appreciate what a great time it is for desktop Linux. And reading some of this week’s Windows 8 reviews, I wonder if a lot of Windows users might be jealous of just how easy Linux has become.

You can find more of The Linux Setup here.

You can follow us on Google+ here.

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

    My name is Brian Proffitt, a technology writer and analyst who contracts with a number of publications, including ITworld, ReadWriteWeb, Computerworld, and Linux Pro Magazine. The primary focus of my work deals with Linux and free and open source software, but lately my work at ReadWriteWeb has taken me in new directions, such as consumer and retail technology.

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

    My primary Linux distro is openSUSE 12.2, running GNOME out of the box. I’ve always come back to openSUSE, though I’ve certainly used Ubuntu and Fedora in the past. It’s hard to quantify why; less hassle, less politics, more work gets done, I suppose.

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

    My go-to apps are gedit, GIMP, and Firefox. 90% of my writing and research is done with these apps. I also have a LAMP stack running for when I need to load up Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress to conduct a review of those platforms or something that runs on them.

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

    Right now my production machine is a Lenovo G570 laptop, stock. I don’t need a lot of firepower in the processor or graphics for what I am doing right now. This is portable and travels well, but I can plug it into a 27-inch monitor and connect a wireless keyboard and mouse and I am good to go in the office.

  5. What is your ideal Linux setup?

    Basically the same setup I have now, with perhaps more disk space, memory, and graphics power so I could run multiple VMs on one machine so I can test applications and tools in different environments without switching machines.

  6. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Sure, but it’s rather plain. I am not a big one for fancying up my work machine, mostly because as a writer it’s not a good idea to put in a lot of eye candy to distract me.

desktop

Interview conducted 9/30/2012


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.

You can follow us on Google+ here and subscribe to our feed here.


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.

You can find more of The Linux Setup here.

You can follow us on Google+ here.

  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.

You can follow us on Google+ here and subscribe to our feed here.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Linux Setup - Michael Meeks, SUSE Labs

I’m a huge OpenSUSE fan so it’s great to have someone from SUSE labs. Michael’s work seems to require more power and processing than your average desktop Linux user. Hopefully, hardware will catch up with Michael’s work needs and the price points for organizations that don’t have insanely huge budgets. Especially since the work of Michael and his colleagues helps improve LibreOffice, which so many of us enjoy.

You can find more of The Linux Setup here.

You can follow us on Google+ here.

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

    I’m Michael Meeks, Christian, Husband, Hacker. I work inside SUSE labs, primarily on LibreOffice. I’m a board member of The Document Foundation, and do a diverse set of hacking and development tasks around our exciting and rapidly improving code-base.

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

    Primarily openSUSE 12.1. Normally I’d run SLES11, but I had to do some hackery recently for our LibreOffice online prototype, which uses the very latest gtk3 and infrastructure. It was easier to switch to 12.1 at that stage.

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

    For my daily work, I use Emacs, Firefox, Evolution, Xchat, gnome-terminal, VirtualBox (for our windows builds), and that’s about it. Of course, that is the end-user visible software - really I depend very heavily on the excellent work from the SUSE gcc/binutils team without which our lives would be very much harder: LibreOffice is a substantial piece of C++ software and tends to exercise the compiler quite hard. Similarly we like to link and use most Linux desktop infrastructure, so really a lot of dependencies.

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

    I have a Lenovo W500, which combines a rather nice big, wide screen for multiple side-by-side Emacs buffers with a reasonably fast Core 2 Duo CPU. I run a near identical backup setup on an 8 core desktop machine next to me that provides more compilation grunt. Using that to share compilation via icecream takes my from-clean build times down to 45 minutes from several hours before it arrived. Another nice feature of this setup is Intel’s kind provision of an SSD sample, which not only makes it perform excellently, but removes the fear of losing data by dropping a hard-disk that plagued me in the past.

  5. What is your ideal Linux setup?

    Working on one of the most challenging, and exciting projects out there in Free Software at the moment, and doing large scale code changes just now, I need speed. So, anything with a lot of parallel CPUs is great for me. There are lots of (lame, two disk) NAS boxes in the world, but really my ideal Linux seutp would be a (cheap) network attached CPU box with no disk that would run icecream, and provide a plug-and-play build accelerator. If we could specify and buy those cheaply, the Document Foundation would probably fund sending some to our best volunteers to improve their productivity. Unfortunately, it seems a cheap, disk-less, network-attached beefy CPU machine doesn’t exist. That’s a shame, since we can now build our software with a parallelism measured in the thousands of modules.

  6. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    My desktop generally looks quite boring — I tend to hide it behind lots of full-screen windows on a 3x4 virtual workspace grid, which I flick through fast, in a two dimensional/spatial way. This muscle memory (e.g., my mail-client is at the top-right) is one reason why I’ve not been able to move to the new GNOME 3 shell. So, you’ll notice I’m using the under-advertised fallback mode, which (if only more people knew about) might make the over-busy, power-user fringe a lot less annoyed with GNOME 3.

Michael Meeks' desktop

Interview conducted June 25, 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.

You can follow us on Google+ here and subscribe to our feed here.