The Linux Setup – Kelly Williams, Web Designer/Computer Technician

I appreciate that Kelly is a Linux missionary, helping people to discover its beauty. I also appreciate Kelly’s love of MATE, which is beloved by so many. But mostly, I appreciate that Kelly does a lot of video work on Linux. Video production has come a long way on Linux and it’s nice to see Linux as a viable alternative for people who don’t want to be in the Mac ecosystem.

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

    My name is Kelly Williams. I’m a freelance web designer and computer technician. I have been working on computers since the late 90s. I went to high school in Sheldon, Iowa, a small town in the corner of the state. I graduated in the class of 2000. In high school my principal had a bunch of computers in the basement of the school that were old. They wanted someone to go through them to see what works. I did it for fun and that is where I started my career in computers. The computers were Apple IIGSs: fun, simple to use, and simple to work on.

    I enrolled in college for computer science. Once I was in college I got introduced to Linux, which was fun. My college instructor used Red Hat 7.1 on the machines in the lab with a Windows 2000 Professional dual-boot. From there I tried every distribution of Linux I could get my hands on. I tried Slackware, SUSE, and Red Hat, and I liked them all. I was reading an article about a version of Linux that I was interested in trying; it was Ubuntu. It was simple and best of all it was free. I had an old computer at home and I installed Ubuntu. I sat there and learned the Linux environment. Now I use Linux daily for office work, web development, photo editing, video editing, and to play video games.

    I have introduced Linux to people and had them tell me they like Windows better. Others, like my mom, have Linux on their computer (hers isn’t even that old). It give me satisfaction to know that if my mom clicks on the wrong thing on her computer, she is not going to catch something that will damage her computer. I have some friends that have Linux and use it for daily tasks. I helped one friend build his first desktop. He had always wanted to try Linux so I have taken him under my wing, helping him understand Linux and its abilities as an operating system.

    I also have a YouTube channel for whenever I get an idea to share something or to make a product review. Here are my various outlets:

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    It’s free, you can set it up anyway you want, and the best thing is it’s secure. I use it to diagnose hardware issues. Linux also has some great tools to recover files from a hard drive that is corrupted and cannot be recognized.

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


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

    MATE! It is like the old classic GNOME that was in Ubuntu 10.04, which was my favorite Ubuntu version. It’s fast and can run on older hardware.

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

    That’s a hard question for me answer. These are the three programs that I use the most, except for Firefox:

    LibreOffice. It’s what is being used to type this interview as well as all of the notes that I have ever typed about Linux. Every time I install a system for someone, I always install LibreOffice so that they have an office suite installed. LibreOffice gives me the ability to get my work done.

    Kdenlive. It’s a great video editor, priced right (free!) and better than Adobe Premiere.

    LightZone. I use it to edit my photos that I take with my Canon T6i. It’s better than buying Lightroom from Adobe. I post those pictures on Flickr.

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

    I have two laptops running Linux.

    One is a Dell E6510 with Ubuntu 16.04. It’s my daily driver. I use it all the time. It has good battery life and it lightweight. I traded it for an Asus laptop, which felt like a tank and was too big for me. The Dell is a simple machine to work on. It has one single screw between you and full access to its hardware. Since I got it, it has been updated twice. The first thing I did was upgrade it to 8GB RAM and then last year I put an SSD in. The specs are i5 Dual Core, 8GB RAM, and 120GB SSD. Yes it’s a small SSD, but all I do with this machine is documents, photo editing, and it can do some light video editing as well.

    The other is an Asus R500v with Mint 18. I have been wanting to upgrade this machine to an SSD. I really just use it for for 1080p video editing and playing Nexuiz and Open Arena. The specs are i5 Dual Core, 8GB RAM, 320GB hard drive, Nvidia 610m GPU and an Intel 4000 graphics.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Yes. It’s simple and it’s clean. No clutter.

Interview conducted November 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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