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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Interview conducted September 30, 2012