I take what some might call a perverse pleasure in interviewing distro hoppers, because they tend to be much more clinical about their setups. These questions can seem kind of strange if you’re using a new distribution every week. It was interesting to see how Gary makes a distinction between quick-booting distros, like Arch and CrunchBang, versus something bigger like Linux Mint, which Gary also seems to enjoy quite a bit. One skill distro hopping seems to cultivate is the ability to evaluate software by feature, rather than as a whole. As you read the interview, you’ll notice Gary comes at everything from a features perspective, rather than a distribution-centric one.
- Who are you, and what do you do?
I am Gary Newell. I am a software developer living in Aberdeen, Scotland specialising in software for the oil and gas industry.
I am also the author of www.everydaylinuxuser.com.
- What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
I am really bad for distro hopping. I also use different machines for different purposes. On my most powerful PC, which is a Toshiba Satellite Pro, I run a 64-bit version of Linux Mint 14 with the Cinnamon desktop (see screenshot).
On my netbook I am currently running SolusOS. I have another laptop that currently has Arch Linux on it. On another partition on the same laptop I had OpenSUSE up until last week, but now it is running Debian. I have been using Debian mainly for the past week in order to write a review later on this week.
I find Linux Mint works really well on modern hardware.
- What software do you depend upon with this distribution?
Well I don’t really use all that much software. I don’t really do much software development at home. All I need in life is a decent browser and I find Chromium serves that purpose. A good screenshot tool is required for the blog. I do use Unetbootin wherever possible to create the bootable USB drives. GParted gets used quite a bit as well.
My favourite piece of software is actually the FUSE Spectrum Emulator. I love retro gaming and the Spectrum holds a lot of nostalgia from my childhood.
- What kind of hardware do you run it on?
Linux Mint is running on a Toshiba Satellite Pro with an Intel I5 processor, 64 bit, 16GB RAM,
- What is your ideal Linux setup?
As I mentioned before I am a bit of a distro hopper. To be honest it depends on what I am doing at the time. If I want comfort, I use Linux Mint, but I am finding that to boot into something quickly, the Arch install is working really well. It really depends on the distributions that I have available at any given time. When I had Crunchbang installed, I used to go to that quite a bit if I wanted instant access to the internet without having to wait for my computer to boot.
- Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Interview conducted April 14, 2013