The Linux Setup – Zack Lofgren, Developer/Student

Zack has a cool setup. I love that he’s using Lubuntu, because it’s such an underrated Ubuntu flavor (although maybe not for long). There’s also a real logic and cohesion to Zack’s tools that allows him to work between a few devices, including a Rasberry Pi.

Zack felt he wasn’t a big enough name in the Linux world to be interviewed, so he was a little gun-shy. But the beauty of Linux is that anyone can have something to contribute. This series is predicated on the idea that interesting people doing interesting things with interesting tools makes for a compelling read. Zack comes through in all three.

You can find more of The Linux Setup here.

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

    I’m Zack Lofgren, and I’m a Computer Science major at Colorado State University. I’m primarily a developer, Free Software advocate, and gamer. Most people know me as KatsumeBlisk on Twitter and various other sites. I usually talk about Linux or Android.

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

    I tend to stick to Ubuntu-based distros. It has polish and stability others don’t have. What I actually run changes regularly, though, because I distro hop. My laptop is running Lubuntu 12.10, and my desktop is running Windows 7 for gaming. My brand new Raspberry Pi is running Raspbian Wheezy. It’s what’s recommended, and I love Debian-based distros in general.

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

    Dropbox is the reason I can distro hop so easily. I don’t have to worry about lost data when installing another distro. I used to use Sublime Text as my main text editor (and still do on Windows), but I’m switching to Vim because of reasons I’ll specify later. Git is another tool that I can’t live without. I post my projects on GitHub, and git itself is sweet as a version control. My main web browser is Chromium, but I’m thinking about switching to Firefox. I just found out about what a sweet combination irssi and screen make. I run those on one of my servers.

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

    My laptop/main machine is an Acer Aspire One AO722 netbook. It has an AMD C-50 1Ghz dual core APU and has 2GB of RAM. This is quite peppy for a netbook. I think it’s because it’s got ATI graphics compared to the Atom’s Intel graphics. I’m thinking about putting a small SSD in here and upgrading the RAM.

    My desktop is a self-built gaming-only machine. It has an Intel Core i5 3570k quad core CPU, 16GB of RAM, and an nVidia GTX 560 Ti graphics card. I love this machine. It can run any game I throw at it at max settings with a 1920×1080 resolution. I hope to one day move it to Ubuntu instead of Windows for games, but most of my games are Windows-only right now.

    Raspberry Pi is awesome. It’s because of this I’m switching to Vim. The Pi can’t really run Sublime Text because it’s so low-powered, but I also wanted to use a free tool instead of a proprietary one. Plus, tons of programmers swear by it, and there’s got to be a reason for it. I’ve always used Vim for terminal editing. Now I want it for all my programming.

    I’ve got a Dell PowerEdge 1950 and a Dell Precision 4700 as servers in my house. The PowerEdge runs a Minecraft server that my family plays on, but it doesn’t have much space. Due to the lack of space, I also run the Precision 4700. I hope to turn it into my own Dropbox eventually because I don’t want to rely on something I can’t control. This is also where I run irssi and screen full time.

    I have a Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 running stock Android 4.2.1, and I use them quite a bit. I’ll switch them to CyanogenMod when 10.1, the version based on 4.2.x, goes stable.

    I hope to upgrade my netbook to a System76 or ZaReason laptop for my main workstation and use my netbook when I need something ultraportable. It doesn’t really cut it for what I need.

  5. What is your ideal Linux setup?

    Something fully compatible and stable. This is why I’m going with ZaReason or System76 for my main laptop. I want something where I know all of its components will work. I know what it’s like having incompatible hardware, and it’s not fun. Right now, it’s not a big problem, but it’s my primary concern.

    A Debian-based distro is my preference. It’s popular, so there are packages, and it’s stable. Debian is the go-to server distro for lots of people for a reason.

    I’ll have my ideal setup power-wise when I get a new laptop. My Aspire One is nice, but it can’t really handle a lot of work. My desktop has all the power I’ll need for years, and so will my laptop when I get it.

  6. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    It’s kind of boring because I run pretty much stock Lubuntu, but here you go:

Zack Lofgren's desktop

Interview conducted January 5, 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.

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