The Linux Setup – Sudhir Khanger, Android Developer

Sudhir is a KDE-loving Android developer. Like most KDE users, he really loves KDE. Sudhir also makes a great point about the economics of free and open source software, pointing out that in many parts of the world, people don’t have the money to pay for software. And if they do have the money, they don’t have a mechanism, other than cash, to pay for software, putting much of the world of fee-based software out of their reach. Linux helps not just people who don’t want to pay for software, but also people who have no way (either financially or technically) to pay for software.

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

    I am biologist by training. After a few years of changing battery icons and themes, and of installing custom ROMs and kernels, my ability to hack Android came to a halt. I had to learn programming in order to continue having the fun. I took Mehran Sahami’s online course, Introduction to Computer Programming – Programming Methodology to learn Java. I was already spending way too much time thinking about Android so I decided to take the plunge and become an Android developer. That makes me an aspiring Android developer.

    I am also know to, frenetically, make 100 words random posts on my blog sudhirkhanger.com.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I started using Linux in summer of 2007. I am not sure what instigated my desire to try Linux other than I had too much time on my hand during my freshman year. I didn’t know what open source was back then. I find that Linux is really easy to use because it tells you what it is doing. At its core everything is a text file.

    Over the years Linux has allowed me to do so many things that I otherwise would not have had access to. You want to become a graphic artist? Install Krita. You want to be a writer? Install LibreOffice. Where do you get freedom like that?

    Not everybody in my home country is going to be able to pay Adobe’s premium yearly subscription. Half of them don’t even have bank accounts—how are they going to get credit cards to make online purchases? Linux completely changes everything in such an environment.

    I am also slowly moving away from all third-party, hosted technologies to locally-controlled GNU software. It is important to take control of your own data.

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

    Fedora is my preferred GNU/Linux distribution.

    I began with Ubuntu but as you know six months down the line it gets really old. If the kernel that was shipped with Ubuntu has a bug you have to live with that for at least six months. That made me switch to Arch Linux. Arch is probably the best Linux distribution. It has a solid base, high quality documentation and the Arch User Repository, which solves the age-old problem of how to distribute software in an easy way.

    After I started working on Android I needed a distribution that changed enough that I had latest of most things but also provided a stable and consistent user experience. Fedora is an obvious choice in this space. Packages are fairly up-to-date. I really enjoy using it.

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

    I am a KDE user. KDE provides me a consistent environment that isn’t available with any other Linux desktop environments. It is designed for power users and can be tweaked to fit any workflow. All applications follow the same design guidelines and use KDE desktop elements like notifications. Other desktop environments don’t really have anything like Kontact, which is a personal information management suite of applications. Overall KDE is a great desktop experience.

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

    Chrome, Eclipse, and Android Studio are pretty must-have software for my work.

    KMail, Dolphin, Banshee, Emacs, Konsole, Konversation, and ownCloud are also essential to my workflow.

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

    My primary work laptop is a Thinkpad T420i.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

Sudhir Khanger's desktop

Interview conducted August 7, 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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