Justin is a person of varied interests, which makes Linux a great option. Fedora, Justin’s distro of choice, can handle writing and photography like a champ. It’s also interesting how Justin came to Linux from the server side but fell in love with the desktop. It’s not an uncommon trajectory by any means, but it’s still nice to read about.
- Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Justin W. Flory. I’m a university student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, an active contributor to the Fedora Project, a former staff member of the SpigotMC project, a community moderator for Opensource.com, and more. I mostly contribute to non-technical areas like the community operations, marketing, and Fedora Magazine teams in the Fedora community. You can read some of my writing on my blog!
Did I mention that I’m also a hobbyist photographer?
- Why do you use Linux?
I first started using Linux when I was 15. I have run a Minecraft server called CrystalCraftMC for almost five years now. Originally, I was running it with a shared host, and my monthly bills were becoming too expensive. I found dedicated servers running Linux to be much cheaper and more affordable, so I began doing research. I remember figuring out how to SSH into my-then-CentOS-6 machine so I could begin learning how to run my Minecraft server on it. In retrospect, many mistakes were likely made, but it jump started my interest in Linux. Using it on a server motivated me to install and use Linux on a personal computer too, so I could better learn.
Later on, I learned more about the free and open source background behind Linux and became introduced to many of the ethical questions surrounding the world of software. This added and expanded on my interest, locking it in.
In short, you could summarize why I use Linux to two ways: freedom and to learn!
- What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
Given my role in the Fedora Project, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m running Fedora 25 both on my desktop and laptop.
- What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
I started using GNOME when I installed my first distro, Fedora 20, in December 2013. It felt natural and easy to use for me, although it did take some getting used to, as I was coming from macOS. Nowadays, I’m in the process of migrating to i3wm for a more minimal and organized workflow, but I’m still working out a few kinks that are preventing me from going all-in.
- What one piece of Linux software do you depend upon? Why is it so important?
There’s a lot of software I use and depend on daily, from Firefox to Hexchat to LibreOffice to Thunderbird. However, one of the most interesting programs I am an active user of is MusicBrainz Picard. Picard is an interface you can use to add and edit metadata in local music files on your system. It uses the MusicBrainz database to get this information, and it can even use acoustic IDs to identify and categorize songs on your system. If you’re a music lover, it’s especially handy to keep your large library of albums and artists sorted in whatever music player you use.
The MusicBrainz project is a fantastic project and if you’re looking for small, easy ways to contribute to open source software, consider checking for some of your favorite artists to see if their entries are accurate! Services like Last.fm, Spotify, Amazon, Google, the BBC, SiruisXM, and more all use MusicBrainz, so your contributions have the potential to make a huge impact. Here is a quick demo of it.
- What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
My desktop is a homemade machine! I built it in November 2014 to replace my aging 2007 iMac desktop. It has an AMD FX-6300 @ 3.5GHz, 8GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti, and dual SSD/HDD hard drives. You can see my full build on PCPartPicker! I named it “FOSS Fighter,” which might make more sense when you see the stickers that cover it on all sides.
Additionally, I also use a Toshiba Satellite C55-A laptop, which was upgraded to an SSD and 16GB RAM, with an Intel i3 processor. It’s my primary machine while I’m studying abroad. I’ve given it the nickname “FOSSbook.” It’s nothing too fancy, but it’s lasted for a fair bit of time. I also have the top of it covered in stickers, similar to my desktop.
- Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Interview conducted March 11, 2017