Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Linux Setup - Alex J. Reissig, Writer

Alex is great because he’s a real distro-hopper. By practice, but also by vocation. So his setup has lots of tweaks, no doubt based upon things he’s seen in lots of other distros. I myself distro-hop much less than I used to. Part of it is a need for stability. But another part is knowing (or thinking I know) what I like. Like I’m fairly certain I’ll never be a KDE guy. It’s nothing against KDE — it just doesn’t quite click for me. But Alex reminds us it’s good to kick the tires on new distros, just to see if there’s something we can steal for use in our distro of choice.

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 Alex J. Reissig, although online you’ll see my pen name…AJ Reissig (AJ being a nickname from my childhood). My background is in chemistry, and my day job is as an analyst at Zimmer PowerStation in Moscow, Ohio (USA). Since there is no rest for the wicked, I also keep myself busy by producing YouTube videos about all things Linux (my channel is https://www.youtube.com/user/freedomredux). I also write novels: political fiction and science fiction (my SciFi blog is ariaprime.com). It is my hope that one day the writing and videos can become my full-time profession, but we’re not there…yet.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    There’s a few reasons why I’m a Linux user. First, I’m not a follow-the-herd kind of person; I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum. I also like to try new distributions and play with the latest/greatest software, something you can’t do with Windows or Mac. And while I’m not an anti-closed source person, I’m not a particular fan of Microsoft’s business practices, so using Linux is my little way of giving Microsoft (and Apple) the middle finger. And of course there is the cost factor…why run Windows when you can get a more flexible OS for free?

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

    I’m a self professed distro-hopper, and since I produce YouTube review of Linux distros, I typically have 4-5 different operating systems on my desktop at any given time. My current OS of choice is Ubuntu GNOME 14.04, which is my main driver on my desktop computer. On my laptop, I have a highly modified Xubuntu 14.04 setup. I’ve switched the Window manager to Gala (from Elementary OS), swapped out the Thunar file manager for Nemo (from Cinnamon), and a host of other changes.

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

    The GNOME 3 desktop is my favorite environment. While it is a radical departure from traditional desktop layout, once you get used to it, you realize this is a desktop made for people who want to get work done. No icons cluttering up the desktop, tons of extensions to customize it just the way you want it, and you can hotkey to your heart’s content (I love hotkeys!). Some of the extension I use are:

    • Appindicator support
    • Caffeine
    • Clipboard indicator
    • Coverflow alt-tab
    • Drop down terminal
    • Gno-Menu
    • Native window placement
    • Put windows
    • Top icons

    My number two desktop has to be Xfce because it is rock-solid and so versatile.

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

    There’s lots of Linux software that I love, but hands down my can’t-live-without software is Kdenlive. It’s an open source video editor that can perform just as well as editors that cost hundreds of dollars…what’s not to like? Of course, there’s other Linux software that I use on a daily basis, and it would be hard to find suitable replacements. Here are my favorites:

    • Evolution email
    • LibreOffice Writer
    • Simple Screen Recorder
    • GIMP
  6. What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?

    My desktop is an Acer running a quad core AMD processor @3.1GHz and 16GB RAM. Graphics and sound cards are stock, baseline units. I have three hard drives on this unit, one being an SSD for my OS. My laptop is a ThinkPad Edge E430, with i3 processor @2.2GHz and 8GB RAM. It has a 320GB hard drive (standard 5400 RPM) along with a 64GB mSATA, which is where my OS resides.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Here’s a shot from my desktop. The background is one-of-a-kind (created in GIMP), and if you’re interested in the theming, I use:

    • Window Borders: Dorian 3.10
    • GTK Theme: Gnomish-Gray
    • Icons: Square
    • GNOME Shell Theme: Zukitwo-Cupertino

Alex Reissig's desktop

Interview conducted June 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.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Linux Setup - Kyle Riedemann, Android Developer/Student

Kyle’s interview recaps a lot of the ideas that have been expressed here the past few weeks. One is that Linux is a great development environment—perhaps better than OS X for certain users (like Kyle). Kyle also uses and enjoys Unity, although like every Unity user, he seems to feel guilty about it. Canonical should really consider changing the name to Unity: It’s OK. Don’t Feel Bad.

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 student at Oklahoma State University (OSU). I’m a Management Science and Computer Systems major and a Google Developer Group organizer for the OSU-Stillwater chapter. I’m a beginning Android developer, and I’m focusing my studies on database management.

    I have two apps on the Play Store and hopefully a lot more to come, too. This is my developer profile on Google Play.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I use Linux because I was tired of using OS X, and I don’t like Windows. I’ve found that setting up my development environment is easier on a Linux install, and I love the fact that I can make a live USB drive with Android Studio and Oracle Java, so I can work on any computer at a moment’s notice.

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

    I use Ubuntu 14.04 on my laptop currently, but I’m very interested in Arch. I love the Arch Wiki and I’m planning on installing it after my summer class is over. I like Ubuntu for the easy compatibility with Steam.

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

    I use Unity. I know, I know, Unity sucks. But it does what I need as a desktop environment, and I love the way it handles multiple monitors. I’m a big fan of GNOME 3, but I’m sticking with Unity for now.

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

    I mostly depend on Chrome, to be honest. Chrome and Android Studio are always my first installs. I love Chrome because it automatically downloads the LastPass extension when I log in, and syncs tabs with my Android devices.

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

    I’m using a Galago UltraPro from System76. I’ve found it to be a solid piece of hardware so far, and you can see more of my impressions of the hardware at my blog. It does everything I need it to, and it handles games well in Windows and still maintains decent battery life.

    My review can be found here for those interested.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Here’s a screenshot.

Kyle Riedemann's desktop

Interview conducted June 21, 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, July 29, 2014

The Linux Setup - Rafael Lino, Security Officer

Rafael is another Xfce/Xubuntu user. Xfce sometimes doesn’t get a lot of love or respect, which always surprises me. I think the issue with it is that it’s very plain and simple. But for people like Rafael (and myself), that’s the strength of it. Rafael also uses Linux because it’s the best operating system for his purposes. It’s not a political statement, though. And that’s an interesting thing to consider. Linux is mature and functional enough that using it isn’t just about making a political point. A lot of people use it because it’s their best option.

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 Rafael Lino, I live in Lisbon, a sunny city in Portugal, with my wife and two small kids.

    I’m a private security officer so I can’t talk much about my job in public, because I would put my clients, family and friends at risk. Anyway, it’s a typical job with army-style rules.

    With a job like that, my escape is writing about audiophile and DIY stuff on my blog. I was very active in some online Portuguese communities as a moderator and sometimes administrator, but I got tired of all the futility behind it, so these days I usually lurk or help in small-but-warm Facebook groups. Besides my online activities, I also enjoy working with audio-related electronics, and doing some woodworking.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I use Linux because it works for me and not the other way around. I’m a father and work by the shift, so I don’t have time for maintenance headaches or software malfunctions. When I was a Windows user I spent a lot of time handling that and it was boring. Now with Linux, stuff gets updated daily, so there are no boring reboots or other nags.

    Also, Linux is a secure environment. Working in security I see the headaches system administrators have with Microsoft PCs.

    Besides those things, my machine was getting old and I didn’t want to spend more money on new hardware, so I went the easy route and installed a fast, lightweight Linux distro.

    I must admit I’m not into Linux for the community. I believe Linux has some amazing communities, but the ‘My distro is better than yours’ way of doing things in those communities fragments what could be a powerful game-changer in the software industry.

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

    Xubuntu 14.04 64-bit on both desktop and laptop.

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

    I use the Xfce4 packaged with Xubuntu mostly because its beautiful and doesn’t need many resources to run fast and stable.

    I wanted a solid, fast, simple desktop environment that didn’t distract me from enjoying music, reading and writing stuff. My wife also needs to use the desktop, so Xfce was a better choice because of its easy learning curve for people coming from a Windows machine.

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

    I’ll pick two. Chrome, because besides the usual web surfing, I actually write most of my blog posts on it. I tried minimalist text editors, office suites, and all in-between, but nothing beats having the internet a click away—especially when you write about technology.

    I also really need the amazing music player DeaDBeaF. It reads almost all audio files, converts them, and was the reason I finally could drop Windows and the amazing foobar2000. Like the latter, it might look simple, but its an amazing player made for audio enthusiasts, so it does away with the pretty interface and goes for a practical approach.

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

    This old computer is based on a Asus P5QL PRO motherboard, Intel Core2Duo at 2.40GHz, 4GB of 667 MHz DDR2 RAM, a Nvidia GT440 card, four SATA2 HDDs and my only indulgence, a dual-bay I use to swap my collection of 2.5” HDDs.

    The PSU is a 750W NOX and all case fans are low-noise ones. My laptop is an ancient Intel Mobile Celeron by a Portuguese company called Tsunami and it’s my backup, if the desktop bites the dust.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Yeah, no problem!

Rafael Lino's desktop

Interview conducted June 15, 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, July 22, 2014

The Linux Setup - Jack Wallen, Novelist/Journalist

Another interview, another subject who appreciates Linux because of its ability to stay out of the users’ way. It doesn’t seem like ‘letting people work’ should be that big a deal for a desktop operating system, but as Microsoft and Apple move to creating operating systems for devices, rather than for people, desktop usability has become a rarer situation for many. Jack is also a big Unity fan, which feels like the norm more and more. It’s especially interesting given that Unity is built for desktops and devices. But there seems to be more consensus that Unity happens to work well for serious desktop work.

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 Jack Wallen. I am an author of fiction (check me out on Amazon.com and getjackd.net) and a tech journalist for Techrepublic.com, Linux.com, and other sites. I’ve been covering open source for nearly 20 years.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    In 1996 I was using my first PC with Windows 95. After enough blue screens o’ death, I’d had enough and decided to find an alternative. That led me to Caldera Open Linux 1.0…which led me to Red Hat Linux. Since then, I haven’t looked back. I use Linux because it allows me to get my work done exactly how I want. With Linux I don’t suffer the constraints that either Apple or Windows places on their users. That freedom allows me to work more efficiently and more reliably.

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

    I currently use Ubuntu 14.04. There are a lot of reasons I find Ubuntu to be one of the best desktops available. One such reason is Canonical’s drive to get Ubuntu on as many devices as possible. With the power of Debian under the foundation, Ubuntu is simply one of the most reliable distributions available. I have, however, been looking at Linux Deepin a great deal. I really love what they’ve done with the desktop interface.

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

    Personally, I like the Unity interface. I find it one of the most efficient and powerful desktops available. Between the Dash search and the launcher, it’s an amazingly friendly way to interact with your system. Outside of its efficiency, it’s also one of the most modern looking desktops the Linux community has to offer.

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

    That’s a tough one. Outside of the standard-issue software (web browser, email client, office suite), I’d have to say Audacity. I do a weekly podcast and cannot imagine doing it without the help of Audacity. It’s one of the finest pieces of open source audio software available for recording podcasts.

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

    I have a System76 Leopard Extreme. It’s, without a doubt, the most powerful computer I have ever laid my hands on.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

Jack Wallen's desktop

Interview conducted June 11, 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, July 15, 2014

The Linux Setup - Scott Nesbitt, Writer

I’m a big fan of Scott’s writing, which has a technological bent, but is usually more about working effectively, rather than how tools can make you effective, which is a key distinction. Scott’s setup reflects his focus on production rather than tweaking. He has his work tools and everything else is pretty much white noise. Which is why LXDE/Lubuntu probably makes a lot of sense for his workflow. It’s simple and it stays out of his way. Scott also gets bonus points for moving his family to Linux. That’s a tough move, but given that his wife stole his ZaReason laptop, the conversion seems to have taken.

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 Scott Nesbitt, and I’m writer, blogger (here and here, too), and technology coach based in Auckland, New Zealand.

    I’m not a developer or techie, even though I am a recovering technical communicator. My goal with using Linux isn’t to hack—although I do write the occasional shell, Perl, or Python script. Instead, my goal is to do my work, which mainly is writing and publishing.

    Which leads us to…

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    The short answer: It works for me.

    The longer answer: back in late 1999, I was a reluctant and disgruntled Windows user. The incident that finally drove me away from Windows came late one evening that year. I was working on a report for a freelance writing client and Windows crashed. I lost most of my work. Frustration and anger don’t reflect what I was feeling at the time.

    A couple of days later, I was whiling away some time between meetings at an office supply store when I noticed a boxed copy of Caldera OpenLinux Base on sale for $20. On a whim, I bought it and installed OpenLinux on the Pentium 300 system my wife had recently moved on from. Except for some initial weirdness with the size of the display (which I quickly corrected), installing and using OpenLinux was smoother than I expected.

    Over the years, I moved from that desktop to a series of laptops running Debian, Xandros, JoliOS, Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Peppermint OS, Linux Mint, Linux Lite, and Lubuntu. I’ve also tested a number of other distros using a live CD or a live USB. With the distros that I wound up using, I was always pleasantly surprised at how easy they were to install and how each detected my hardware.

    My household now uses Linux exclusively. In fact, I run most of my life on free and open source software. I converted my daughter to Linux about four years ago, and my wife jumped on the Linux Mint bandwagon in 2012.

    For what I need to do—writing and publishing, and a bit more—Linux just works. I keep repeating that, but it’s true. Linux works for me. I really don’t care what Linux does or doesn’t do for other people. I only care about what it does for me and what it lets me do. And that’s pretty much everything.

    While I’d been using free software since the mid 1990s, switching to Linux got me deeper into free/libre/open source world. I went from using it to writing and speaking about it. On top of that, I’ve met a number of wonderful and interesting people who work on various FLOSS projects.

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

    Right now, I use Lubuntu 14.04. I moved to Lubuntu after testing it for a blog post I was writing. It grew on me quite quickly. I also like that Lubuntu is fast, fairly lean, functional, and easy to use. It also looks pretty good (not that I’m overly hung up on looks!).

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

    LXDE. That’s the stock desktop environment in Lubuntu. It works fine, and I see no reason to change it. To be honest, I’m not really a desktop environment partisan. I’ve used several and they all have their good and not-so-good points. It’s just a matter of adapting.

    In case you’re wondering, I do like Unity.

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

    There’s no one piece of software that I depend upon above all others. Instead, there are specific applications that I depend on for certain tasks. Here are a few examples:

    Don’t get me wrong: I don’t overload my system with software. But I prefer my apps to be very focused—they should do one or two things well, and I don’t worry about so-called “missing” functionality (whatever that term means).

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

    My laptop is an Acer Aspire 5742Z with a 15.6” LED LCD screen, 6GB DDR3 memory, and a 500GB hard drive. I know there are some who would consider those specs to be underwhelming, but they’re more than good enough for what I need to do.

    This laptop is a hand-me-down from my wife. Over the last couple of years, she somehow managed to serial kill three hard drives on that computer. I don’t know how, either… Earlier this year, I had to decide whether to sell the laptop for parts or take one more shot at bringing it back to life. I took the latter route, and it worked. The laptop has been humming along nicely ever since.

    In case you’re wondering, while the Acer machine was out of action, my wife hijacked my ZaReason Alto laptop running Linux Mint. The Alto isn’t my laptop anymore, and I suspect that I’ll be prying it from her cold, dead hands.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Sure. Prepared to be bored! I aim for a very clean desktop—no icons. Although I do change the wallpaper every so often. I usually launch applications by clicking one of the (few) icons on the task bar or using Kupfer (a nifty app launcher).

Scott Nesbitt's desktop

Interview conducted May 26, 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, July 8, 2014

The Linux Setup - Julien Palard, meltygroup CTO

Julien’s interview is a love letter to tiling window managers. And he makes the fascinating argument that smartphones and tablets all use full-screen tiling. Julien is the CTO of meltygroup, a Gawker-esque collection of news sites, so it’s especially cool to see that Debian is not only powering his servers, but also his work computer.

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?

    https://www.google.fr/search?q=julien+palard

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Hint

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    You mean versus Windows? I think I started using Linux because I needed to understand what was wrong when something went wrong. But now I find it far faster to work with bash than a graphical interface (you know, the kind of interface where one searches for an icon on a whole screen of icons).

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

    Debian — Stable for my servers, Testing for my laptop (to work), and Testing on my desktop (shared with family at home, with a media player, etc…)

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

    I started around 10 years ago with Window Maker. A few years later I switched to Openbox. I loved the scriptable menus big time, but now I use i3. Why i3? Why a tiling window manager? Because it saves time. I used to only work with windows in full screen (a full-screen terminal, a full-screen Firefox, etc…) so not having to resize them saves time. You think I’m an extremist and that normal people HAVE to get resizable and movable windows? You’re wrong. Take a look at your smartphone and your tablet—tiling window managers are now the norm.

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

    I don’t think I’m Debian-dependent, but I depend on a huge amount of software for everything. I use bash, emacs, echo, grep, sed, awk, find, ls, cut, ping, dig, git, cal, date, cat, and so many, many others…

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

    Actually I’m on my desktop. It’s a fanless 8GB, Core i3, 128GB SSD because I don’t want to hear a fan while listening music. My work laptop is a Samsung Series 9. I had hard time finding a QWERTY one in France. I finally found an American shop that would ship one to France. I can’t work on an AZERTY keyboard because symbols are not paired, which is odd. I used to have an Eee PC, with an AZERTY keyboard, but QWERTY mapping. As long as I didn’t look at my keyboard, it worked.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    It’s an almost unconfigured i3wm with a black background, so there’s nothing to see here—only the i3status on the bottom.

Julien Palard's desktop

Interview conducted May 4, 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, July 1, 2014

The Linux Setup - David Wickes, Software Developer

I was psyched to get David for this because at the time of the interview he was a brand new Linux user. It’s very cool to see someone at the beginning of their Linux journey. Now keep in mind, David is transitioning into software development, so he’s kind of a technical guy and his move into Linux is probably smoother than most. But it’s great that someone who wants a professional operating system and is priced out of the Mac market has a way to get easy access to the command line and a UNIX-like environment. I went to a GitHub workshop a few weeks ago and the facilitator was using OS X, which seems to be the norm at these kinds of things. I opened up the terminal on my Linux machine and I was able to use all of her commands. The Windows people had some issues, though. So in terms of quickly getting up-and-running in a development environment, David definitely made the right call.

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 David Wickes. I currently work as a digital marketer, but at the beginning of the year I decided I was going to retrain as a software developer. So that’s what I’m up to at the moment, learning a lot about Ruby (on Rails or otherwise), writing bad code and making it better.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I’ve been using Linux for about three days now. The decision was based on the cumulative effect of reading many, many books and online courses on learning to program. Each of them had a section on how to get started, installing Ruby on your system — Windows, OS X, and Linux — and how to start setting up your ‘developer environment,’ which I guess is just a fancy way of describing the use of the command line in combination with the text editor of your choice to write code.

    My laptop came with Windows 7, so those are the instructions I went with. I kept bumping into little problems — a lot of the Windows-based software couldn’t be run from the command line without some modification, the command line was hard to bring up, it was all just a little bit awkward. The final straw came when the Ruby on Rails tutorial I was following essentially went “Windows is funny. Here. Run this package installer. Now, everyone else do this…” and went on to describe how each individual part of the Rails setup was installed. I didn’t want to miss out.

    Friends had said Macs were great for development, but I don’t have that kind of free money. So Linux it was!

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

    I’d used Ubuntu once before (I bought an Asus EEE way back when and tried a few different distros), so I thought that would make a good starting point. I was amazed at how much easier it was to install than my first tries about eight years ago. I had it up and going within an evening. It’s Ubuntu 14.04.

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

    Um…you see, it’s questions like this that both excite and scare me a little. I had to read through earlier responses to My Linux Rig just to begin to understand it. So I can use Ubuntu but change the way the front (the desktop environment) acts and behaves? Sweet — all that power! But knowing me, I’d be in danger of spending a few weeks trying them all.

    For now I’m sticking with Unity (for now — that’s three days in mind you), and I’m finding it great. I already reckon I’m faster with it than with the Windows 7 desktop, so I’m really not complaining. And I think it’s good looking too.

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

    I’m going to pick two, only one of which I’m sure about. Sublime Text 3 is a great text editor, and I sometimes think it’s reading my mind. I find myself writing everything on it: code, blog posts, letters, shopping lists, this. It’s a pleasure to use and since I’ve synced its settings folder using Dropbox, it’s exactly the same setup as I have in the office (on a Windows Vista machine…let’s not talk about that).

    The second is Guake Terminal. Hit F12 and bang! The terminal drops down from the top (just like in Doom! Or Quake! Am I showing my age?). This is great when working with a limited screen space and reading a tutorial and writing a file while I’m also running it from the terminal.

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

    It’s a Packard Bell laptop, 4GB RAM and an Intel i5.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Yes — although it’s a bit boring…

David Wickes' desktop

Interview conducted April 30, 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, June 24, 2014

The Linux Setup - Morgan Phillips, Software Engineer/Poet

I found Morgan through Linux Poetry, which is an amazing site (this poem is one of my favorites). Reading her thoughts on Linux, you can hear her poetry skills: “working in Linux is like swimming in water that’s crystal clear.” Her setup is fairly standard for an engineer — pretty much anything that gives her access to a terminal.

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 Morgan, aka mrrrgn. I studied physics at Western Kentucky University, worked for the Army Research Laboratory and a small defense contractor writing network security software, then spent time at Facebook in an ops role where I was sort of a… data janitor, helping to maintain their Hadoop/Hive-based analytics infrastructure. These days I’m a software engineer at a startup in Nashville, Tennessee called Artist Growth where I get to do a bit of everything (which I love). I also write poetry about the Linux kernel at linux-poetry.com and maintain a small galaxy of other side projects. :)

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    Well, I’m going to gush a bit. On a philosophical level Linux has always appealed to me because I feel that it represents a sort of freedom: to share knowledge and understand how the tools I depend on work. Working in Linux is like swimming in water that’s crystal clear; proprietary operating systems, where I can’t see the source, feel murky and make me feel a bit uneasy.

    In a practical sense, I feel that Linux’s sensible implementation and infinite flexibility make it the best tool for nearly any job. It’s easy for me to write scripts that automate tedious tasks and customize my environment to the hilt. I also believe using Linux has made me a better programmer since it makes the layers underneath my own code so transparent.

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

    I generally run Mint these days, although I’ve used openSUSE and Ubuntu in the past.

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

    Cinnamon. I started using this after I switched to Mint. I spend most of my time in the terminal so I’m not too picky.

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

    Honestly, I don’t depend on anything that’s specific to Mint. That said, I think Mint (like Ubuntu) is awesome for its stability and ease-of-use for arch nerds and computer novices alike. I installed it for my not-at-all-computer-savvy father a few years ago and noticed a significant drop in the number of “support” calls I got from him as compared to when he used Windows.

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

    A Clevo W230ST. It’s a beast of a laptop!

    • i7-4700MQ Processor (2.40GHz), 6MB L3 Cache
    • GTX 765M
    • 16GB DDR3
    • 256GB SSD
  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    I don’t keep anything interesting on the desktop; but you might notice that I <3 tmux, vim, and orange text!

Morgan Phillips' desktop

Interview conducted April 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.