Brendan’s setup is fantastic because he readily admits it’s overkill for LXDE. Which isn’t entirely true, as he’s running tons of virtual machines with it. And we all know VMs can take up all kinds of space. Brendan started with Lubuntu on older hardware and never felt the need to leave it—even when the hardware improved. I have a very old computer I use for testing distros and I always find myself returning to Lubuntu on it. Even if Lubuntu isn’t as light as other LXDE implementations, it still works very well on old hardware. And, as Brendan shows us, on new hardware, too.
- Who are you, and what do you do?
I am Brendan Perrine. I am mostly a tester for Lubuntu and also provide support on Internet Relay Chat for Lubuntu (#lubuntu on irc.freenode.net). I usually use the nick ianorlin. I have created at least one virtual machine for ISO tests for over a week straight right now, so I am an active tester. I find I am better at contributing to Linux than looking for a job, which I have still not found. You can find my launchpad page here and GitHub here. I was also recently elected as one of the leaders for Ubuntu California.
- Why do you use Linux?
I use Linux because of better monospace fonts and boot times. I also really enjoy package management and virtual desktops which Windows, at the time that I switched, did not have. I also really enjoy upgrading with apt-get much more than Windows Update, which was really annoying. I also find all of the programs I would use under Windows have an easy equivalent on Linux and some things, like Htop, don’t have a Windows equivalent that works as well. I actually only switched to Linux in June 2013 but I have not really had any want to go back to Windows.
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
I run Lubuntu on my desktop and am testing out the development version and reporting any bugs I can find. I am currently testing 15.04.
What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
I use LXDE right now as this was first desktop I switched to. I chose this as it would work with my old Pentium 4 desktop last year and seemed to have an interface that would be easy for someone accustomed to using Windows to use. I have gotten quite used to using it and it provides the basic functionality I need so there’s not much reason to switch. I am also hoping LXQt will mature enough to be a primary desktop of choice but right now it is still under development and is not quite ready to be packaged for the next release of Lubuntu.
What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?
Virt-manager is the one piece of software I need right now, as it makes creating virtual machines with KVM quite easy. I use it to create quite a lot of virtual machines and have created about 90 for testing. A close second I would not want to live without would be Htop.
What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
My current desktop is quite overkill for LXDE but I wanted something powerful to run multiple virtual machines at the same time and is an assembled computer.
- Intel i5 4590 CPU 3.3 Ghz 3.6 Turbo. It’s a quite fast CPU with VT-x, which my previous core 2 duo laptop lacked. It even has VT-d if I want PCI passthrough for virtual machines. It also has Intel HD 4600 for good Linux support of graphics out of the box without a need for proprietary drivers.
- Asrock h97M Pro 4 motherboard. A cheap micro ATX motherboard that supports VT-d and has Intel gigabit ethernet and four RAM slots for around $80 US.
- 16GB Crucial Ballistix Sport RAM 1600 MHz, Cas Latency 9. It has two 8GB sticks and allows for upgrading if I want to run even more virtual machines.
- 256GB Crucial MX100 SSD. I put my / file system here and that allows for fast boot and program startup.
- 2TB Toshiba 7200 RPM hard drive. It allows lots of storage space for podcasts, ISOs, and even some VMs where I am just testing the install and don’t read or write too much.
- The case is a Cooler Master N200. The Micro ATX case that will allow me to add three more solid state drives and two more hard drives. It came with lots of room for ventilation and has a front USB3 port.
- The monitor is an Asus VS229H-P 1080p. It’s a nice 21.5″ IPS monitor that displays great colors and allows me to use desktop efficiently.
- Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
One of the nicer default wallpapers for Lubuntu and Htop in a terminal. There’s another terminal with one of the nice window snapping features of Lubuntu that uses Super+left arrow to snap to the left side.
Interview conducted January 7, 2015