The Linux Setup – Lisa Vitolo, Chakra Linux

I haven’t used Chakra in quite some time but Lisa’s appreciation of it is infectious. Lisa has been with the Chakra project for quite a while, seeing it move from an Arch derivative to its own distribution. Lisa is a big fan of package managers, who are the unsung heroes of Linux distributions. They do an amazing amount of work for us, but most of us (myself included!) only notice package managers when they fail; never when they’re doing everything correctly. Sorry package managers!

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

    My name is Lisa and I work as a site reliability engineer. I have been interested in computer science and open-source for several years. I am a contributor to Chakra Linux, an independent KDE-centric distribution, as a developer and occasional packager.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    Beside the obvious answer of working for Chakra and needing it to test my changes, I like GNU/Linux systems because they make it possible to customize a system to your preferences. It’s easy to tinker with things and experiment with new software or setups, which I think is fun. And when something is not working I find it easy to look at low-level details to discover why.

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

    Chakra Linux. For a long time I hopped from distro to distro, and landed on Arch Linux for a while. Chakra was originally derived from Arch, so I learned about it, started to use it regularly, and eventually joined the team. I was already using KDE so the transition was smooth.

    Since then, Chakra has separated from Arch and became an independent distro, but they still have similarities.

    Seeing an idea like Chakra develop from a small project into a big and more recognized one has definitely been interesting, and there are always new ideas to explore.

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

    KDE, because Chakra Linux is focused on KDE support. However I had also used KDE previously, on other systems, and found it user-friendly and pleasant to use.

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

    For day-to-day use, I’d say package managers. With the ever-growing number of applications out there, being able to search from a command line interface and manage all of your updates in one go was one of the first things that made me like Linux over Windows. Over the years the same model has taken hold with things like Ruby gems, But when you apply this to a whole system, it’s a very powerful tool.

    Of course there is the other side of the coin, with the work packages need to do to keep the repositories updated, and to deal with backward incompatibilities or other problems outside of their control. I am excited to see changes coming in this direction: Snaps, Flatpaks, and continuous build services.

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

    A quite old HP laptop with 2GB RAM, 500GB hard drive and NVIDIA GF108M video card.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Here it is!

Interview conducted June 25, 2017


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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