The Linux Setup – Dennis Felsing, Software Developer

I found Dennis via this post and wanted to hear more! This setup is pretty refined. In fact, it’s almost Zen in its simplicity. It wouldn’t work for me, but it works for Dennis. It’s also great to hear from someone who’s used Arch for over a decade without any major problems. I always wonder how common that is. We tend to hear from new users who might experience some challenges, but we don’t always hear from the people who have used it for years without any drama. FULL DISCLOSURE: My Arch setup flamed out after a few months…

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

    My name is Dennis Felsing and I’m a software developer working at SAP on the HANA database. I also occasionally
    blog and work on my game project.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    It just stuck. I came from Windows initially and Gentoo won me over by making me grok Linux internals. I never went back after that since I felt Linux gave me more flexibility.

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

    My laptop fan failed from the constant compilation that Gentoo brings with it. So I switched one machine after the other to Arch Linux over a span of a few years. I haven’t had any major problems with Arch in over 10 years, yet.

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

    I chose the xmonad tiling window manager because it is written and configured in Haskell and at the time I was infatuated with the programming language. Nowadays I don’t need to change the configuration much and it still works great, allowing me to navigate with the keyboard, giving me great flexibility and extendability.

    I also use conky & dzen for a simple status and notification bar.

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

    It’s all about the shell making composing programs easy. In a few steps I can automate what would be annoying manual work in a GUI-based workflow. vim is similar in this regard for any kind of text editing, like email or notes.

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

    Mostly a tiny Mini-ITX PC with an Intel i7-6700k hiding behind my combined 40″ screen/TV. You can read more about my desktop computer in a dedicated blog post.

    On the road I still use my eternally-young Thinkpad x200s. Thanks to the minimalistic command line software available on Linux it still performs great.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    Sure, here you can see my laptop updating the system, compiling two projects, and syncing my emails and notes.

    On the desktop I just split my giant screen into four virtual 1920×1080 screens because otherwise I’d have more space than I’d know what to do with (except for watching movies).

Interview conducted February 27, 2019


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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