I love that JR gets in front of the idea that Linux is just for IT nerds, which is a common misconception. While Linux might appeal to the types of personalities that want granular control of their systems, it’s not only for those kinds of people. Linux is for anyone who wants to work effectively. It doesn’t just make it easy to have finer control of your system; it also gives you the tools to help you see why a greater level of control will simplify your workflow. JR’s interview is a testament to that idea.
- Who are you, and what do you do?My name is JR Nielsen. I’m one half of the creative force behind Dototot, an educational and interactive multimedia production studio that embraces Linux and free and open source software (FOSS). I co-created the web series Superusers: The Legendary GNU/Linux Show, Daisy’s Web Development Diary, and The Hello World Program. Our most recent project, a collaboration with Two Bit Circus, involved designing and constructing an abstract city model of Washington DC for Local Motors. Which we accomplished entirely with FOSS, of course!
My background is primarily video production and web development. I studied Digital Media at Utah Valley University, and have spent the last eight years shooting videos and developing countless WordPress- and Django-based websites.
- Why do you use Linux?
I made the switch to Linux after a particularly nasty Windows virus walked away with a good chunk of my personal information. After the initially steep learning curve, I found my web development workflow improving dramatically on Linux. Now I can’t imagine doing web development with any other operating system. I’ve grown to love using open source tools for other projects, and enjoy challenging the status quo of Linux as an operating system for IT nerds by creating a broad range of creative media.
- What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
I run Linux Mint 18 on both my desktop and laptop computers.
- What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
I love Cinnamon for its minimalism. It has an excellent balance of style and functionality, and does everything I could want it to do without getting in the way. It’s a very classic desktop, which makes it easy for new comers to jump in without having to re-learn everything they know about computing, but it still offers enough features and customization to appease advanced users. Mostly I use it because it “just works.”
- What one piece of Linux software do you depend upon? Why is it so important?
Is it cheating to say terminal? It’s surprising how often I drop down the the command line to do various tasks from installing software to compiling animated gifs. Terminal speeds up many processes and opens up opportunities for quickly batch processing tasks that would have been tedious to accomplish with a GUI. Outside of Terminal, I spend a lot of time with Atom for programming, Lightworks for video editing, and Inkscape for graphic/web design. All of which are not only essential to my daily work, but quite enjoyable to use. And of course Steam is necessary for unwinding after a long day of media production!
- What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
I recently upgraded my laptop to a Dell XPS 15, which was the most painless laptop setup I’ve done since switching to Linux.
My desktop is custom built from various aging pieces of hardware. AMD FX 8320, Nvidia GeForce GTX 670, 24GB RAM, 256GB SSD, a 3TB HDD for my home partition, dual Asus monitors, and a super loud and amazing Das mechanical keyboard with custom penguin keys that my former boss gifted to me.
- Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Interview conducted August 17, 2016