The Linux Setup – Charlie Reisinger, Penn Manor IT Director

As Charlie mentions, he’s part of the team giving laptops to an entire high school. That’s an awesome project, but Charlie’s enthusiasm for Linux is also pretty great. When I interviewed Niki Kovacs, I was taken by his joy for Linux. I get a very similar vibe from Charlie. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s a fellow Clementine fan. I also continue to be impressed by the number of people who say they like Unity. I’m almost at the point where I think it’s time to give it another look.

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

    I’m Charlie Reisinger (@charlie3 on Twitter), the IT Director for Penn Manor School District, a public K-12 school system in beautiful Lancaster County Pennsylvania. As a member of the district leadership team, I manage IT operations as well as educational technology programs and initiatives. I’m incredibly fortunate to work with a team who embraces an open source philosophy. For the past decade, our school infrastructure has been powered by open source software. Over the past three years, we have been increasing the number of student laptops running Linux. This winter, we are initiating a 1:1 high school student laptop program running Linux and open source software exclusively.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    For me, it is a joyful, playful platform. Linux offers a stellar learning laboratory for students of all ages. For schools, Linux and open source software provides tremendous cost savings. I also deeply value the freedoms inherent in open source. Linux is a flagship example of the power of collaboration and a testament to human ingenuity and creativity. As corporations and governments accelerate efforts to erode privacy and ownership, Linux and open source software offers our best hope for techological freedom, innovation and egality.

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

    My main distribution is Ubuntu. I’ve played with other distributions in the past, but I always find myself back with Ubuntu. I’m currently running 13.10 and love it.

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

    Unity is where I spend my time. Earlier versions were certainly a first draft, but with each release cycle, Canonical continues to iterate and polish the interface. I really enjoy the clean user experience and unique design.

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

    Tough question. Like most people, I spend a great deal of time living in web browsers. However, I do a great deal of writing, spreadsheet work and presenting, so my main application is LibreOffice. LibreOffice is a wonderful productivity tool. Recently, I’ve been leading trainings on screencasting, so Kazam and Shutter are near the top of the list as well. At home, I simply can not live without Clementine and Stellarium!

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

    My work laptop is a Toshiba Portege Z835. It is super light and portable with a nice keyboard. My home laptop is a trusty ThinkPad T61p.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Here is my current desktop.

Charlie Reisinger's desktop

Interview conducted January 19, 2014


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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