The Linux Setup – Dolores Portalatin, Admin/Designer

Dolores has an interesting setup, especially her window manager, but I’m really most impressed by the amount of outreach she does in the Linux and Free and Open Source communities. I found Dolores through Arch Linux Women, as I was trying to diversify the kind of people I interview here. Linux is an amazing concept that speaks to lots of different people, but the public face can be a bit homogenous. Dolores and her work helps to more accurately represent the typical Linux users, which seems to be getting less typical—both demographically and in terms of technical skill—all of the time.

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

    My name is Dolores Portalatin aka meskarune. I work for Linode LLC, a VPS hosting company and do some freelance work in graphic and web design. I first switched to Linux in 1998 (one guess why) and haven’t looked back. I spend my free time painting and contributing to various open source projects. My primary focus for the last seven years has been on Arch Linux. In 2012 I founded Arch Linux Women – an organization that aims to increase the contributions of women to Arch Linux and FOSS in general.

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

    I used to be a Debian user, but wanted something more updated. After distro-hopping for about a year, I found Arch and really loved it. I have Arch Linux installed on all of my computers and production servers. I occasionally play with FreeBSD and Haiku as well but don’t use them as my main OS.

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

    I use herbstluftwm (hlwm) as my window manager. Hlwm is a manual tiling window manager similar to i3. It’s very fast and flexible and you can write scripts for it in any language. I use urxvt as my terminal emulator and vim for text editing. I have some Python and bash scripts for server monitoring and use tools like Munin and AWstats. I use WeeChat for IRC, Pine for email, and newsbeuter for RSS feeds. Midori and ELinks are my primary web browsers (Midori has very low resource usage, which is great for netbooks). For graphic design, I use GIMP, Inkscape and ImageMagick. The great thing about using libre software is the lack of copyright and licensing concerns. I think more people should adopt these tools in their work.

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

    I have a home-built desktop computer I use as my work horse, a small computer with two HDTV’s for monitors as a media center/file server, some Linode VPSs and an ASUS Eee PC netbook that I use to ssh into my other boxes. I like having the netbook for mobility, so I can work at the coffee shop or in the park.

  5. What is your ideal Linux setup?

    I would love to have something like the MetroNap EnergyPod, with a huge overhead monitor, built-in speakers and a wireless split keyboard. I’d love a netbook with four cores and a 24-hour battery life too (I don’t think they exist yet). Having video glasses would also be fun, but I don’t know how practical they are.

  6. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?



Interview conducted January 22, 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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