I’m reading Matthew Kirschenbaum’s Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing, an amazingly interesting look at how word processing changed how people write and edit. A lot of what I’ve been reading reminds me of science fiction/fantasy author Piers Anthony, who has a simple setup because he knows just what he needs to write. Kirschenbaum has a great Steven Levy quote that speaks to this idea:
“I compare using a word processor to living with somebody. You go into it with all kinds of enthusiasms, and things are wonderful. Then, you see other word processors promising more. More features, friendlier style. The question is, is it worth tossing over a relationship in which you’ve invested months for a word-transpose toggle, an indexing function you’ll use maybe twice, and a split-screen capability? A choice of a word processor is a major life-decision, and no one can afford (in terms of time, money, or emotional capital) to play the field.”
- Who are you, and what do you do?
I am Piers Anthony, and I am a novelist.
Why do you use Linux?
I use Linux because I didn’t like being governed by Microsoft.
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
I use Fedora.
What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
KDE. I simply prefer it to GNOME.
What one piece of Linux software do you depend upon? Why is it so important?
The LibreOffice word processor. Without it, I couldn’t write my novels. I use multiple windows.
What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
A System76 computer adapted to my modified Dvorak keyboard.
Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
I’m on dialup and things like screenshots are complicated for me. No NO, not for privacy, but because I lack the competence to do it.
Interview conducted April 26, 2016