The Linux Setup – Thiago Perrotta, Student

Thiago touches on a number of interesting points. For instance, he talks about testing out new distributions and desktops to see what’s going on in Linux. That’s something I kind of have to remind myself to do. Everything works well on my main workhorse (knock wood…) so I have no natural desire to try out other distributions and desktops. But I try and remember to give different things a spin, just so I know if there’s something better out there, or if there’s something I should steal for my own system. Finally, Thiago pays respect to his package manager, which is super classy. Package managers are the unsung heroes of most setups and without them, we’d probably have a rougher time trying new things out.

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

    ​I am a Computer and Information Engineering student living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.​ I usually use the ‘thiagowfx’ nickname and I’d say I am a free/open source software and community enthusiast. In particular, today I am an active member of the Arch Linux community. I also have a blog where I write about projects I’m currently working on and new technology and software I’m trying out. ​

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    Questions we are passionate about are the hardest to answer. But hey, today I’d say I use Linux for at least for three reasons (not in any particular order):

    • community: it is very hard to find a diverse and rich community such as the GNU/Linux one;
    • open source software: this is very important and includes implications on philosophy and programming (e.g., pull requests);
    • package managers!
  3. What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?

    For a long time, on a monthly basis, I was always switching distribution​s. However, during the last year I discovered the one I most enjoy today: Arch Linux. It is a very customizable, follows KISS (‘Keep it Short & Simple’) and is a user-centered distro, with a very nice and intelligent community. I still test the latest improvements of other Linux distributions every now and then, even though this is less frequent today.

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

    I am always switching desktop environments, mainly because I like to keep up to date with the latest improvements on the Linux desktop (as with distros).​ However, I’d say the two I use and like most are Cinnamon and i3. Usually I use Cinnamon at home and i3 elsewhere (when I don’t have a mouse with me).

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

    Package manager: it is the piece of software I most value. I don’t know how to live without one anymore. In particular, pacman is my preferred one. Now, if you were referring to end-user software, I have no doubt that Emacs is the software I most use today, although I am giving Vim a try. However, I’m not dependent of any software in particular; each task has its own needs.

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

    Currently I have a Lenovo Ideapad S400U Ultrabook, which has an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM and an Intel Graphics HD 4000 graphics card.​ It supports Linux pretty well and out-of-the-box with Intel open source drivers. It has a small SSD (32GB) where I keep the root partition of whichever Linux distribution I’m using at the moment, and a 500GB HDD where I keep my /home and an alternate Linux distro.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    As I’ve said, I’m always switching desktop environments. However, I keep an album on Flickr with my latest screenshots. ​ This is the last one​ I took, on Arch Linux, with KDE 4.14.

Thiago Perrotta's desktop

Interview conducted October 5, 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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