The Linux Setup – Andrew Thornton, Systems Architect

I’m always amazed what people can do with Vim. Andrew somehow manages to do all of his Drupal development with it, which is pretty mind-blowing. Andrew is also an Openbox user. I wasn’t familiar with pipe menus but it’s an ingenious idea. The always-impressive Openbox lets you do so much with so little overhead.

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

    My name is Andrew Thornton and I am a systems architect for Mediacurrent, where I specialize in server security, website performance and High Availability for large-scale websites running Drupal. Originally from London, I moved to the states in 2000 and currently live in Atlanta, where I continually complain about the heat.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I have always had a fascination with computers, not specific to any particular operating system. In the early days, I started out on mainframes, before PCs were affordable. I was very much entrenched in the Windows world for work but maintained an interest in other operating systems. While visiting a friend in the states, he introduced me to Slackware Linux and I’ve been hooked ever since. The reason I use Linux for my main operating system is that it does everything I need it to do. If I need an app, I can install it from the command line and just get on with my day. The system is fast, easy to modify, elegant and productive. All of which is everything I need in an operating system.

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

    I am a fan of Ubuntu and GNOME, but my laptop is currently running Crunchbang Linux, based on Debian. I love the ease of use and the wealth of knowledge and software available to Ubuntu users. However, I was looking for something a lot leaner and more efficient on my laptop. Crunchbang was a fun diversion that turned into my main distro of choice.

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

    I’m currently running Openbox under Crunchbang. I love the speed and simplicity as well as the clean desktop environment. I also use pipe menus to automate my workflow. I can drop a playlist or a video into a folder and it shows up on my menu to play automatically through the use of small python scripts I knocked together. Other than Openbox, I am also big fan of GNOME and Unity.

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

    Not limited to this specific distro, but I live in a console prompt with Vim. I do all of my web development for Drupal using Vim, which I have tied into a Git repo with all my code snippets and templates, as well as code lookup and the Drupal API. I prefer it to full blown IDEs such as Eclipse or Aptana studio, as it uses very little memory and is incredibly powerful.

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

    I am currently using a Dell XPS laptop with an external monitor and Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

Andrew Thornton's desktop

Interview conducted October 2, 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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