A large part of why I started this project was my desire to see how other people were tweaking their Linux setups — the software they chose, the hardware they used, and the thought processes that held everything together. Doug’s setup is fascinating to me because it’s so stock. As I’ve said before, as distros get better, there’s less and less need for many users to customize anything. For many users, just about any distro has the tools needed to be up, running and working in the time it takes to click through a few menus, without any customization whatsover. If users can work on a Chromebook, which is just a browser, why shouldn’t they be able to work on stock OpenSUSE or Debian or any of the other user-friendly, carefully-curated distros?
- Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Doug Moncur and I’m a digital preservation manager at the Australian National University. Mainly what we do is archive data sets generated by research instruments such as astronomical telescopes and genetic sequencers, but we host a lot of other types of data as well.
Why do you use Linux?
Linux is just one operating system I use. I use just about everything, but if I could only choose one operating system I’d choose Linux because of its excellent development tools and massive software base.
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
Actually my main laptop is a Mac, but I run a couple of Linux VMs on it for test and debugging purposes. I also use a very vanilla Ubuntu install on my second laptop for test and demonstration purposes.
I did have a couple of recycled PCs and a couple of old PowerPC iMacs running Linux in my garage for prototyping some text analysis stuff but I’m afraid the old PCs came to a sad end when the garage flooded in a summer storm. The PowerPC iMacs are out of action too, really because Ubuntu stopped supporting the PowerPC architecture as mainstream, and the machines got too old.
However I did use one as my main (home) work machine for a couple of years.
What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
I usually use the standard window manager that comes with whatever distro I’m using. I don’t have any really strong opinions about window managers.
What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?
Hard pushed on that one. OCRFeeder would probably be the single unique application I use most.
What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
An old Dell XPS laptop that still has a ‘designed for Vista’ sticker on it.
Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Interview conducted October 27, 2013