Graeme is the person behind FocusWriter, a great writing tool. Like a lot of people I interview, he appreciates the flexibility of Linux, in terms of having options for different types of programs. Some people don’t like to be locked down to a single tool on principle and some people just like to constantly experiment with different pieces of software. I’m always amazed how a new interface can make me think differently. But that could also be how I rationalize that I’m constantly trying out new text editors.
- Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Graeme Gott, and I like to write open source software. My two
most popular projects are FocusWriter, a word processor, and Whisker Menu, an alternate menu for Xfce.
- Why do you use Linux?
I love the freedom to tinker with everything in my computer setup, from which C library is used all of the way to which window manager is active. The flexibility is incredibly liberating. I also prefer repositories of packages over app stores where every program is an island and needs to include all of its dependencies. And I strongly agree with the philosophy of sharing, upon which free and open source software is built. Also, frankly, after using Linux for 13 years, the other options feel too constricting.
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
I use Arch Linux on my desktop. I used to distro-hop a lot, but I settled down after switching to Arch around six years ago. A rolling distro is an absolute must for me, and the package format is so simple that making custom packages is really quick. Arch can be more complicated to use at times when a major change comes down the pike and breaks things, but I don’t mind getting my hands dirty with the guts of my system. To me, the idea of an arbitrary delay to update all of the programs on my computer at once, instead of when they are released, feels bizarre.
What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
I alternate between Xfce and KDE, but I end up using Xfce more than KDE right now. The current Plasma release has too many sharp edges that I kept running into, so I don’t use it as much as I used KDE4. I used Window Maker for the first few years after switching to Linux, but I have grown accustomed to a more integrated setup and I usually find straight window managers too plain now.
What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?
It would be hard to say I depend upon one specific program. Most of my work is done with programs that can be easily replaced with another, such as text editors and compilers, or with small tools I write for myself. I tend to switch between different text editors and terminals on a regular basis, although I vastly prefer KWrite to the new gedit.
The one program I couldn’t live without and that I don’t switch around is actually completely unrelated to what I do on a daily basis, and that program is KMyMoney. I haven’t found any other personal finance programs for Linux that I like anywhere as much, and I don’t feel like writing my own.
What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
I use a home-built rig with a quad core AMD CPU, Nvidia video card, and 16GB RAM.
Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Sure thing. This is my rather basic work setup.
Interview conducted December 6, 2014