The Linux Setup – Thomas Backlund, Blockie.io

Thomas has a great story, which he touches upon in his answers. Basically, he works in the forests of Sweden to help keep down his expenses. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon. I have an upcoming interview with an American doing something similar in the super-expensive Bay Area. Interestingly, Thomas’s interview doesn’t mention the advantageous pricing of Linux systems. It’s very impressive to see how much work Thomas gets done using just a laptop and an Internet connection. It’s also very impressive that he’s redefined the concept of forest development.

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

    My name is Thomas Backlund, I’m the founder of Blockie.io.

    I quit my apartment to live in the forest in a tent to write code. Blockie.io is a kind of a backend-as-a-service (BaaS) where you can build your functionality purely using logical thinking and not doing any coding at all. Besides serving front-end apps, people will be able to hook functionality together in quite interesting ways. I’m really looking forward to see how it will be used when launched.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    Many reasons. Using Linux on servers feels very obvious and therefore also using it as development environment comes naturally. For a coder it’s just very good with all of the tools it comes with.

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

    Ubuntu 13.04 64-bit.

  4. What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?

    Cinnamon. I like when the environment is a bit lighter. I have a high-contrast theme on that since I’m coding outdoors and the glare of the sun must be considered.

  5. What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?

    I wanted something derived from Debian since I’m using that on servers and Ubuntu has good drivers for new hardware.
    Software I really depend upon (not Ubuntu-specific) includes Vim, tmux, zsh, and Synapse. I also use a mail-notifier so that I don’t unnecessary peek into the browser and waste time.

  6. What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?

    I use a Samsung Series 9 laptop 15".

    • Memory: 8GB
    • Processor: Intel Core i7-3517U CPU @ 1.90GHz × 4
    • Graphics: Intel Ivybridge Mobile
    • Disk: 128GB SSD.

    I did have two Catleap monitors hooked up to it before I quit my apartment; Ubuntu 32-bit was then the distro that could handle this, of the ones I tried.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Sure thing, meet the Blockie.io cat.

Thomas Backlund's desktop

Interview conducted August 1, 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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