Sumana’s setup is simple, which is something I always appreciate. Linux isn’t necessarily about reinventing desktop computing. For most users, it’s about surfing the web and checking email (and, in Sumana’s case, programming). And Linux is a great tool for that. A lot of times when I reach out to people — especially non-admins — about being interviewed, the first thing they say is that their setup isn’t anything interesting. Yet, because Linux is so customizable and because so much software is in play, everyone’s setup is interesting, because everyone’s setup is different in some way. So, as always, if you’re running desktop Linux, I’d love to hear from you.
- Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Sumana Harihareswara, the Engineering Community Manager for the Wikimedia Foundation. I nurture the open source community behind Wikipedia.
- Why do you use Linux?
Freedom is really important to me. And it’s great for when I want to noodle around with random bits of programming.
- What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
I run Ubuntu, although I keep meaning to switch to Debian or openSUSE and see what it’s like to run those for a while.
- What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
I use GNOME; I’ve been a part of the GNOME community for a while and I’m used to it.
- What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?
Thunderbird. I use offline email a LOT so web-based email interfaces just aren’t as great. And the Enigmail and Undigestify plugins help with privacy and workflow.
- What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
A Lenovo Thinkpad X220 for work, and recently (and again—soon—in the future) a ZaReason Hoverboard for my personal laptop. Super light!
Interview conducted May 22, 2013