The Linux Setup – Sam Slade, Student

I found Sam via this post about using Vim to learn Linux. It’s an interesting concept: that Vim is almost a conceptual metaphor for Linux. Sam got into Linux starting with Arch, which to me is like an athlete beginning their career in the Super Bowl.

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

    I am a student at Gloucestershire University reading Computer Science. I love to experiment with open source software, seeing how far you can take it. I am also really interested in retro audio equipment, and am currently on the lookout for a reel-to reel deck for my dorm room.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    My first experience with Linux was in college. I was introduced to it by the students in the year above me. I had only ever used Windows up until that point, but I was fascinated by how much was open to the user and wasn’t hidden behind closed doors. I installed Arch the same night and dived straight into learning everything about it I could. I have never looked back.

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

    I run Manjaro Illyria on my laptop that I use as my main machine. It’s fairly light and I like the Arch family of distributions.

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

    I use i3-wm with i3-gaps. I fell in love with tilling window managers when I migrated to Linux and i3 clicked with me straight away. More recently I have been delving into configuring the aesthetic side of i3 with the use of i3-gaps and Compton.

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

    Vim. I love it. It was one of the first parts of Linux that I interacted with and it was so unlike any other editor I had used that it really caught my imagination. I have tried editors since but I keep coming back to it as it just does everything I need and does it really well. In particular, the use of snippets makes writing large pieces of code really quick and simple, cutting down on the number of key presses required and allows you to program closer to your speed of thought rather than being limit by your typing speed.

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

    The laptop I use as my main machine I have had for eight years and I got as a present for when I started secondary school. It has 3GB of RAM and an Intel i3-2330M processor that I have underclocked to conserve power and extend the battery life. Part of the reason I installed Linux to begin with was to attempt to improve the battery life of my old laptop, which prior to my move to Arch was an abysmal 45 minutes. I have now got a new battery and can manage two and a half hours. Woo!

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

    This is my yellow themed i3 desktop. I will typically have a terminal session and Firefox open together on my main workspace, each taking up half the screen each.

Interview conducted August 24, 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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