The Linux Setup – Daniel Foré, elementary OS

Daniel is the founder of elementary OS, the distribution that’s famous for its own look. Daniel came to Linux through a love of customizing Windows XP, so it’s no surprise he also came to appreciate the flexibility of Linux. Interestingly, especially given the strong visual aesthetic of elementary, Daniel’s favorite app is the Scratch text editor!

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

    My name is Daniel Foré and I’m the founder of elementary, the open source software company that produces elementary OS. I manage a lot of the business side of things, organize our team, interact with our fans and customers on social media, draft design specifications, draw icons, and code for the desktop and web.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    In high school I was really into tweaking out Windows XP and one day I stumbled upon the Kororaa XGL demo live CD. It blew my mind. It was the first time I’d ever used or really heard of Linux and seeing what could be done with Compiz was pretty incredible. The more I played with Kororaa and learned about Linux, the more I wanted to build my own Linux-based operating system. For me, Linux is an opportunity to build something really cool.

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

    I use the latest development preview of elementary OS. Right now that means my OS is a bit under-construction, but I think it’s worth it to be dogfooding the latest and making sure I know exactly how far along we are.

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

    I use our own Pantheon environment. Historically, elementary comes from a GNOME 2 background. Our first release, Jupiter, was a GNOME 2 desktop with a few modifications. As we started to build more apps we realized we needed a desktop environment that would facilitate the features we wanted to implement. We needed to build a platform that our apps could integrate into. So we built Pantheon with that goal in mind and we get some nice integration features like being able to search for settings panes in the app launcher. It’s a place we can standardize innovation, stuff like the Privacy Mode that we’re working to bring to all of our apps. We’re also interested in getting the full use out of freedesktop specifications which has led to things like being able to get launcher actions by right-clicking an icon in the applications menu and being able to search them as well. We’ve turned a freedesktop spec into an API where developers can expose their app’s actions to search.

  5. What one piece of Linux software do you depend upon? Why is it so

    Probably our text editor: Scratch. I think it’s the app in which I spend the most time. I think it’s my all-time favorite example of an app that saves its state and opens and closes quickly, something we really push as a standard feature for elementary apps. One of my favorite newer features is that Scratch doesn’t bug you about saving new, un-named files anymore. It’ll save it in a temporary location and you can deal with it whenever you’re ready. It’s very convenient because I can close Scratch at any time no matter what I’m doing and not have to worry about what I haven’t saved. It’s all taken care of. The folders plug-in also saves me a lot of time digging around in the file manager, especially when I want to reference a bit of code from a different project than the one I’m currently working on. And then to top it off, we ship it by default with the great Solarized color scheme. It’s really easy on the eyes, which is important when you’re staring at lines and lines of code all day long.

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

    Nothing too crazy, haha. I have a 2013 13" MacBook Air. It’s an Intel Core i7 at 1.7 Ghz. 128GB SSD and 8GB RAM. I like it because it’s very compact and the battery and trackpad are both huge. It goes with me everywhere!

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Sure thing!

Daniel Foré's desktop

Interview conducted February 2, 2016

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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