The Linux Setup – Sam Hewitt, elementary OS

Sam is a designer for elementary OS, which is very impressive since elementary is one of the nicest looking Linux distributions out there. It’s also nice to see a designer using Linux to work. I also appreciate that Sam uses Linux not just because he wants to support free and open-source software, but because he appreciates its quality.

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

    My name is Sam and I’m a graphics/interaction designer.

    In the Linux world, these days, I’m mainly designer on the elementary OS team, but I’ve contributed open source design for many other projects too.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I’ll confess I don’t exclusively use Linux (I have a Mac for work), but I do use it because I like the deep-level of control it allows me and all the nerdy stuff I can do with it. I was also attracted to the community and environment of collaboration that surrounds open source projects—I feel it’s this open collaboration and sharing that makes most projects as successful as they are, Linux included.

    While I agree with the libre software movement, I’m not overly concerned about software freedoms: I’ll use the best tools for the job, but where possible I’ll use an open source one.

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

    Currently, and perhaps unsurprisingly: elementary—an in-development version—as it would perhaps be rather odd of me to be on the team and running something else. Fedora and Ubuntu have been part of my distro-arsenal, too.

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

    elementary’s Pantheon desktop, but I’ve been known to use GNOME Shell; they’re the two desktops I’m partial to due to their simplicity and cohesive experiences.

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

    systemd, because without it my life would be incomplete (I kid!).

    Inkscape is the open source tool I use most for my design work. I use it for designing icons, making mock-ups and any other thing I need it to do.

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

    Nothing too fancy. It’s just a ThinkPad E530. I’m partial to ThinkPads, as I’ve not had any issues with them running Linux, plus I prefer the red nub over touchpads.

    Hardware-wise, it has an i5 Intel 2.50 GHz quad-core processor and 8GB of memory plus three internal drives. One is a small SSD that hosts the /root partition of my main OS, and another hosts /home and I’ve replaced the optical drive with a hard drive bay for testing other distributions on.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Sure. I like to keep it simple, but I rarely see my desktop as I usually leave several windows open with the stuff I’m working on.

Sam Hewitt's desktop

Interview conducted February 7, 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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