The Linux Setup – Ruth Suehle, Red Hat Open Source and Standards Group

I’m not going to pretend Ruth isn’t a technical user, because she’s the author of Raspberry Pi Hacks so obviously, she has technical skills. But when you look at what she uses her computer for, it’s ordinary stuff, which is always reassuring to me. Like Ruth, I find to Linux to be easier—much easier. Every time I watch a Windows computer freeze for no reason, I want to tell the user there’s a much better way to work. There’s a learning curve, but there’s also a lot of light (and free time) at the end of the curve.

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

    I manage the community leadership team in Red Hat’s Open Source and Standards group. In OSAS, we work with upstream community projects, which are (of course) very important to Red Hat, to ensure their success. Outside of Red Hat, I’m an editor for, and as that implies, have two kids (five and nine). I’m a seamstress/costumers/maker of all sorts of things. I’m also co-author of Raspberry Pi Hacks.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I suppose the most obvious reason right now is that it’s strongly relevant to my employment! But I was a Red Hat Linux user (when that was a thing) long before I worked at Red Hat. It began in college when somebody in the dorm said, “Hey, you should check this out.” Which is how most interesting college stories start, right? And then before Red Hat, I did a lot of web design and development and always used Linux for that. At this point, it’s just easier.

    I remember years ago a friend picking up my Mac laptop and doing everything from the command line, which at the time seemed really silly. Some time recently I remembered that and realized I’ve just about become him. I still have to have a Windows machine in the house because it’s the only thing that will run the software for my embroidery machine, but any time I have to do much with it, it ends in frustration and defenestration fantasies.

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

    Fedora 21—I just updated yesterday.

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

    GNOME. I’m not particularly desktop-religious, but GNOME has served me well. I’ve been through two flirtations with KDE, and I think it’s really powerful for some uses, but I keep coming back to GNOME. I also had a brief time with Xfce when it was (for no apparent reason and only on one particular laptop) the only desktop I could successfully get Steam to run with. Xfce is more handy on Raspberry Pi.

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

    I generally have a web browser (about which I am also not religious and change frequently), GIMP, XChat, gedit, and some portion of LibreOffice open all the time, and that accounts for most of my work.

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

    Currently a ThinkPad T440s. I work from home and treat my laptop very much like a LAPtop, so I’m usually in a beanbag chair or lounging somewhere with it, so I’m not even an external mouse kind of person. I have a dock, but I have no idea where it is.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Since I just updated, it’s pretty boring. Everything to the defaults. But I’ll show you my lock screen, which I love. It’s an image by Nick Agin that a friend sent me when I was having a bad day. It’s not particularly Linux-related, but it is very me.

Ruth Suehle's desktop

Interview conducted January 8, 2015

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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