The Linux Setup – Huiren Woo, Student

Huiren is a GNOME user. I recently switched to GNOME and I agree that it’s a great desktop environment. It’s easy, requiring very little configuring. Once you understand the current GNOME model, of launching everything from a dash area, you’re all set. Huiren also makes some great points about privacy and the fact that some software is communicating with servers without our permission or consent. Sadly, I think this going to be an increasingly important issue in the next few years.

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

    I’m Huiren, a daytime high-school student and nighttime free and open source advocate. I’m also an Open Organization ambassador, Fedora ambassador, and Red Hat Developer blog contributor.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    It’s the year of Linux desktops!

    On a more serious note, I’ve used other proprietary solutions before—and honestly, they don’t fit me well. I want to know what is happening under the hood. If my computer keeps sending out packets to some telemetry servers, it just does not feel right. Linux offered an open alternative, which was exactly what I needed—open, light, fast, and productive.

    I could run Linux distros off old hardware and it still seems amazingly fast. Whereas if you were to try to run the other ‘modern’ proprietary solutions, most of them would give an awfully slow experience.

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

    Fedora 23! It suits my personality. Fedora is quite cutting edge, yet stable enough for normal day-to-day usage. I want a distribution which is up-to-date and has cool new features every few months. It also has the Rawhide branch, which is a continuous deployment that pushes bleeding-edge updates for users to test out. Although it has a great appeal to me and should be okay, with only a few bugs, I’m not brave enough to run it; perhaps in the future.

    The Fedora community folks are also pretty cool, too! I’ve talked and worked with them before and they always give constructive feedback.

    Fedora’s main sponsor is Red Hat, which is a publicly listed company. I wouldn’t want to use a distribution which is not well-supported or that lacks sponsors.

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

    GNOME 3 with Wayland! It comes as the default environment for Fedora and it looks brilliant too! I’ve looked at other desktop environments and although they were quite nice as well, they were not something I would be comfortable with. With GNOME, I can have multiple desktop work spaces to organize my screens.

    Wayland is also quite new, with some neat security sandboxing. It replaces xterm. There are a few bugs here and there but it runs pretty well.

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

    The Firefox browser. I do a lot of stuff through my browser: read email, collaborate on documents, write code, etc. A lot of my files are stored on Google Drive, so I access them through my browser. Other than that, I also collaborate on school projects with my friends via Google Docs and OneDrive. I always try to do my slides through reveal.js or LibreOffice Impress to show my audience that open source can be powerful and beautiful. For my coding, I use an online IDE named Cloud9 (PS: It’s open source!) for code collaboration. It’s really convenient for code testing as well.

    I don’t have a lot of applications on my computer because I feel that a lot of applications now have built-in telemetry and send data out, which I’m not okay with. Another important factor is that my Linux laptop does not have very good hardware specifications, so running less applications helps it run faster. These days, a lot of work can be done through the browser using the cloud, so why not?

    Without a browser, I couldn’t do much; so little that my laptop would become a brick.

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

    It’s a Portege R705 Toshiba laptop, with old but solid and reliable hardware. It has an Intel Core i3 CPU M 370 @ 2.40GHz × 4 processor, 3.6GB RAM and a 991.9 GB drive.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?


Huiren Woo's desktop

Interview conducted May 24, 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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