The Linux Setup – Mariana Balla, Ura

Mariana works for Ura, the design studio featured here. I agree with Mariana that GNOME is a huge time-saver. I use Cinnamon on Linux Mint, and it’s mostly a great desktop, but I really wish I could search files through the application launcher. In GNOME, you search everything at one time, which works very well for me. Also, please remember I’m super behind in posting interviews, so I’m sure Mariana has made it to Fedora 28, if not past it.

You can find more of The Linux Setup here.

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

    My name is Mariana Balla and I am an Information & Communication Technology student coming from Tirana. For the past two years I am a member of Open labs Hackerspace, a FLOSS community in my city that, since 2012, fosters events and meetups for open source projects. I work as Communications Manager for Ura, an open source design studio which also develops Identihub, a free software for hosting visual assets yourself. Additionally, I contribute to the Fedora Project as a Fedora Ambassador, to Wikimedia and CityZen. CityZen is an open source Android app that helps you navigate and explore points of interest with OpenStreetMap.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I had heard about Linux systems quite a lot in my early college years but I first “met” Linux at the hackerspace. Linux not only as a software, but also the ideology behind it. The values, the principals and the ethics. Also, I loved the fact that many Linux distros have communities of people that maintain the project. Later on I realized that the stability, security and freedom Linux systems offer cannot be compared to other proprietary operating systems. Also, the plethora of free apps and updates that you have at your disposal convinced me we should always choose open source solutions in tech.

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

    As a Fedora advocate it would have been weird if I was not using the Fedora distro. So, I’m a Fedora 27 user. Although, I am a little bit behind because Fedora 28 was just released on May 1st and I need to find time to upgrade.

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

    Currently I’m using GNOME 3.26.2. Fedora provides a pure GNOME experience. When I first started with Linux, I used Cinnamon. As a former Windows user Cinnamon helped me get familiar with Linux quickly. Now I just love GNOME’s features, as it helps me do everything faster and saves valuable time.

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

    I’d say that I spend a lot of time using Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird. Firefox is Fedora’s default browser and I am a huge fan of its extensions and add-ons. On the other hand, Thunderbird helps me quickly organize all my email accounts and keep track of all my conversations. I also use a lot of the LibreOffice suite, especially for work.

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

    I own a Lenovo Thinkpad X220 with an Intel Core i5-2520M CPU, a 8GB RAM and a 250GB SSD.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

Interview conducted May 2, 2018


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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