The Linux Setup – Peter Cossey, This Little Duck

So it literally took Peter a few years ago to respond to my interview request and then it took me a few years to post! I’m super grateful to the patience shown by so many of my subjects. Lately, by the time I post, their set-up has changed. I’m working my way through my backlog. I got married and my wife and I had a beautiful daughter, which is part of how I fell so far behind. But Peter’s interview is worth the wait! From his love of of ThinkPads to his love of good application launchers, much of what he said resonated very strongly with me.

You can find more of The Linux Setup here.

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

    I’m Peter Cossey, I’m the co-founder and Managing Director of This Little Duck and I build software for the web.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I was exposed to Linux while studying computer science at university and when I started to build websites I was using it on different hosting services, but it wasn’t my main desktop operating system until 2012. The previous operating systems I had used were Windows NT4, BeOS and then OS X 10.2. I really enjoyed using OS X and appreciated the tight integration between the software and the hardware, I accepted the “it just works” mantra with open arms.

    My move away from Apple hardware and OS X was a combination of my concerns about the Apple software ecosystem (especially around issues like censorship and control in the app store) and also the improvements to desktop Linux distributions like Ubuntu. More and more I found that using Linux as my main operating system made sense from a professional standpoint—if I’m building software that is running on Linux servers, there are advantages to running Linux on my development workstation. The thing I enjoy about most of the modern Linux desktop operating systems is the hardware support. Strangely enough, I find that old peripherals and cutting-edge hardware are more likely to “just work” out of the box with Linux.

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

    Ubuntu 17.04

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

    I’m using the stock Unity that comes with Ubuntu 17.04 but I’m about to upgrade my machine to 17.10 so I guess that means running GNOME Shell soon. I spend most of my time using a text editor or a browser or the terminal so I’m not too fussy about the desktop environment; stability, UI consistency and a decent launcher are all I need.

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

    Rather than a single piece of software, I think I depend on the Ubuntu eco-system and community. It’s a Linux distro that has attracted a lot of new users who might otherwise be running OS X or Windows and in relation to the broader Linux community, I think it’s a case of a rising tide lifting all boats.

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

    Lenovo ThinkPad T450s. Even before I used Linux, I was a fan of IBM ThinkPad laptops and since switching to Ubuntu as my desktop OS I’ve become even more attached to the T and X ThinkPad series. The machines themselves are durable, robust and no-nonsense laptops and the Linux support on the business-orientated models is fantastic. In five plus years of running Ubuntu on ThinkPads, I can’t think of any hardware compatibility problems I had to deal with.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Sure thing.

Interview conducted November 20, 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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