Maybe 2013 won’t be the year of the Linux desktop (unless it is…), but it might be the year of Arch variants. Manjaro is climbing the DistroWatch charts, as are Chakra and Antergos. These are all built upon Arch, trying to provide a quicker, easier installation experience for users who want a bleeding-edge, rolling release distribution. Alexandre is a part of that movement as the person behind Antergos, formerly known as Cinnarch. These Arch variants, like Antergos, fill a need for people who want to quickly try a distro without spending a lot of time setting things up. It’s not The Arch Way to opt-out of certain configuration decisions, but it is The Convenient Way. People like Alexandre are making Arch more accessible to a wider user base, and while there’s a fair amount of online debate about if that’s a good idea, if the DistroWatch numbers are any indication, it does seem to speak to a fair number of users. Alexandre’s work is all the more impressive when you see his setup, which is simple, yet well thought-out.
- Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Alexandre Filgueira, or faidoc on the Internet. I’m a Spanish system administrator currently teaching kids and older people how to use a computer and basic office/HTML/Internet, waiting for September to come so I can move to Lima, Peru with my girlfriend.
I’m also the founder of a GNU/Linux distribution called Antergos (aka Cinnarch), based on Arch Linux and focusing on a more user-friendly experience since the beginning. I’m also an Arch Linux Trusted User, maintaining Cinnamon-related packages there.
- Why do you use Linux?
I use Linux because I think it’s the best OS on the market to suit my needs. The freedom Linux gives me is what I always wanted. I always had curiosity about how things work, so I couldn’t find a better choice than Linux.
I began with Ubuntu 5.04 when I was 15 years old, just to see what Linux was about. I switched to Linux from Windows that year. I found Arch Linux when I was 18 years old and fell in love with it.
- What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
Since 2008 I’ve had pure Arch on each of my machines. Now I use Antergos, my own project, as my main distro, so I haven’t actually abandoned Arch Linux.
- What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
I was using Cinnamon until GNOME 3.8 came out. Now I’m happy with GNOME and its improvements. I thought I would never come back when I saw how GNOME 3.4 was shaping up. It still has some things that I dislike, but there are plenty of extensions to fit my needs if I want to change certain behaviors. I also keep Cinnamon installed to do tests and because I’m the maintainer in Arch Linux as a Trusted User.
- What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?
There are a couple of “must-have” apps on my laptop. They are Sublime Text to code, VLC to play videos, pacman as package manager, Chromium as web browser, SpiderOak to sync my important data, and of course a terminal. I couldn’t have a computer without these apps. They make my life easier.
- What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
My main workstation is an Asus with an i7 second-generation processor (2,20GHz x 8), 4GB DDR3 RAM, 120GB SSD, and Nvidia Optimus Geforce 540M.
- Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Sure, I use a very standard Antergos set up.
Interview conducted May 19, 2013